Chapter 20.60
LANDSCAPING AND SCREENING

Sections:

20.60.010    Statement of purpose and intent.

20.60.020    Definitions.

20.60.030    Applicability.

20.60.040    Severability clause.

20.60.050    Exceptions and appeal.

20.60.060    Administration.

20.60.070    Violations—Penalty.

20.60.080    Landscape and screening plans—When required.

20.60.090    Landscaping and screening plans—Design criteria.

20.60.100    Alternative landscaping plans.

20.60.110    Overlapping requirements and conflict.

20.60.120    General requirements.

20.60.130    Requirements for multifamily residential landscaping and screening.

20.60.140    Requirements for commercial uses landscaping and screening.

20.60.150    Parking lot landscaping and screening.

20.60.160    Performance assurance.

20.60.170    Maintenance.

20.60.180    Planting lists and funding information.

20.60.190    Continuance.

20.60.200    Additional landscaping requirements specific to gateway corridor.

20.60.010 Statement of purpose and intent.

Trees and landscaping are recognized as a valid asset to the community, providing a more healthful and beautiful environment in which to live. Trees and other vegetation provide oxygen; shade; protection from wind, glare and noise; view barriers; aesthetics; and a priceless psychological counterpoint to the man-made urban setting. The protection and enhancement of the natural beauty, environment and greenspace within the city is an important aspect of the economic base of the community in that it is instrumental in attracting residents, and nonresidents who come to trade or vacation, and creating a community conducive to the location of new business and industry. When grown in the right place and of proper varieties, landscaping enhances the value and marketability of property and promotes the stability of desirable neighborhoods and commercial uses. Installation of trees that mature to over twenty feet in height is the cornerstone for accomplishing the intent, purpose, and goals of this chapter.

The purpose of the landscape regulations is to establish procedures and practices governing the protection, installation, and long-term maintenance of trees, vegetation and other elements in the city. The process of development, with its alteration of the natural topography and creation of impervious cover, can have a negative effect on the ecological balance of an area by causing increases in air temperatures, and by accelerating the processes of run-off, erosion, and sedimentation.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is as follows:

A.    To aid in stabilizing the local environments ecological balance by contributing to the process of air purification, oxygen regeneration, ground water recharge, and storm water runoff retention, while at the same time, aiding in noise, glare, and heat abatement;

B.    To ensure that the stock of native trees and vegetation is protected and replenished (no native vegetation should be removed from a site prior to development);

C.    To provide visual buffering and enhance the beautification of the city;

D.    To safeguard and enhance property values and to protect public and private investment;

E.    To preserve and protect the identity and identification of the city of Shelton as an attractive small city and preserve the economic base attracted to the city by such factors;

F.    To conserve energy;

G.    To protect the public health, safety and general welfare. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words or phrases have a meaning set forth herein, unless the context indicates otherwise.

“City” means the city of Shelton, Washington.

“City manager” means the city manager of the city of Shelton, Washington.

“Person” means natural persons of either sex, and associations, copartnerships and corporations, whether acting by themselves or by a servant, agent or employee.

“Required tree” means a tree that is a minimum of one and one-half inches caliper at planting and can be expected to mature to a minimum height of twenty feet.

“Tree equivalent” means a planting or group of plantings permitted by the city in exchange for a required tree.

“Vision clearance zone” means an area, typically triangular in shape, formed by a point arising at the intersection of right-of-way boundary lines of intersecting streets and points located thirty feet away from said intersection point along each right-of-way boundary line.

“Visual screening” or “screening” means planting of living ground cover as well as shrubs or small trees which will form a solid vegetative screen, or construction of a barrier fence or wall combined with low plantings or wall-clinging plant materials. Materials should be complementary to building design, and to a height required by applicable sections of this chapter. Earth mounding or berms covered with shrubs or trees may be considered as part of a visual screen design. (Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.030 Applicability.

The standards set forth in this chapter shall apply to all nonresidential and nonagricultural uses of land, and to the construction or location of any residential building or development in which three or more attached dwelling units would be contained and where practicable as determined by the city, to changes in the use of land or structures. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.040 Severability clause.

If any section or provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.050 Exceptions and appeal.

A.    The city manager or designee may grant an exception to the requirements of this chapter subject to the applicants demonstration that the criteria listed in Section 20.50.010(A)(1-4) are met. The exception granted shall be the minimum necessary as determined by the city manager or designee.

B.    The determination of the city manager or designee shall be final unless appealed to the hearings examiner within ten working days of written notice of the determination. (Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.060 Administration.

The regulation of this chapter shall be under the supervision of the city manager; provided, however, that the city manager may delegate the duty of enforcing the provisions of this chapter to other designees or appointees. The city manager, designee or appointee may make such administrative determinations for the proper administration and enforcement of this chapter, provided that said determinations are not contrary to this chapter. (Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.070 Violations—Penalty.

Any person who wilfully violates, disobeys, omits, neglects or refuses to comply with or resists the enforcement of this chapter or its provisions shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not in excess of one thousand dollars or by imprisonment in jail for not to exceed one day or by both such fine and imprisonment and be held responsible for any correction necessary to come into compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Each day that a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.080 Landscape and screening plans—When required.

Landscaping and screening plans shall be provided as an adjunct to or incorporated into plans submitted for city permits. Sites shall not be cleared or natural vegetation disturbed until a landscape plan has been approved. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.090 Landscaping and screening plans—Design criteria.

Landscaping and/or screening plans shall as a minimum be drawn to a scale as directed by the city. The applicant shall be required to provide any or all of the following information as determined to be necessary by the city:

A.    Identify significant trees and vegetation to remain;

B.    Parking and vehicle use areas, driveways and walkways;

C.    Building or structure (existing and proposed);

D.    Soil mix and amendments (existing and future);

E.    New landscaping and/or screening: location, species, size of materials using both botanical and common names. Drawings shall reflect the ultimate size of plant materials;

F.    Location of existing and/or proposed utilities including septic systems, water and sewer lines, underground or overhead electric lines, and fire hydrants. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.100 Alternative landscaping plans.

Nothing in this section shall preclude the city from authorizing alternative landscaping and/or screening plans when alternative plans comply with the intent of this chapter and:

A.    The proposed landscaping represents a superior result than that which would be achieved by strictly following the requirements of this section, or

B.    Provides for the retention of significant trees and naturally occurring undergrowth, or

C.    Incorporate unique, historic or architectural features such as fountains, sculptures, structures and the like. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.110 Overlapping requirements and conflict.

In the event of a conflict between the standards for individual uses and other general requirements of this chapter, the more stringent shall apply. Determination of the appropriate standards shall be made by the city. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.120 General requirements.

In addition to any specific requirements provided for in other sections of this chapter, the following general requirements shall pertain to any landscaping and/or screening mandated by this chapter:

A.    Areas Without Front Yard Setbacks. The following provision is intended to encourage and support pedestrian oriented development such as sidewalk-fronting commercial buildings, and other beneficial development patterns. These patterns are deemed to be beneficial due to their usefulness in creating more attractive and economically viable commercial areas:

1.    Designated Tree Corridors. The following portions of public right-of-way are designated as tree corridors; Railroad Avenues between Front Street and Seventh Street;

Cota Street between First Street and Sixth Street; Fifth Street between Cota Street and Alder Street; Alder Street between First Street and Seventh Street; Olympic Highway North between Thirteenth Street and Wallace Kneeland Boulevard; and Olympic Highway South between Fairmount Street and the city limits;

2.    The following standards shall apply within tree corridors if adjacent property owners are required to reconstruct sidewalks as per Chapter 12.08;

a.    Trees shall be provided in the sidewalk in number equal to one per forty feet of parcel frontage excluding frontage within a vision clearance zone. Plantings shall occur at each lot line or at the edge of any vision clear zone related to views at intersections and driveways as defined in subsection B of this section. The required number of trees may, otherwise, be grouped or randomly spaced,

b.    Trees shall be provided by the city at city expense and shall be of a type minimizing likelihood of future damage to the sidewalk,

c.    All designs details related to such things as planting area, grates, size of tree, etc., shall be negotiated between the city and the property owner responsible for the sidewalk reconstruction,

d.    Where trees are placed to city standards in the right-of-way the city will assume responsibility for maintenance one year after planting. During the first year the property owner shall be responsible for the maintenance and replanting of any damaged, diseased or dead trees,

e.    On approval of the city, planting boxes of equivalent size and appearance may be placed on city right-of-way in place of trees,

f.    The city may grant exception from these requirements in areas where, in the determination of the city, public or private projects provide a similar effect,

g.    Exception to these requirements may be available as per subsection (e) of this section;

3.    Other Areas Without Front Yard Setbacks. In areas without front yard setbacks, not designated as tree corridors, the above standards will be encouraged through site plan review;

B.    Vision Clearance. In order to protect vision clearances, the plant selection and placement shall be designated such that there is at every street intersection a clear view between heights of three and six feet in a triangle formed by the corner and points on the curb thirty feet from the intersection or entranceway.

C.    Parking Areas. Parking areas shall be landscaped subject to the standards for parking lots found in Section 20.60.150.

D.    Crime Prevention. Applicants shall consider the impacts of landscape designs on crime prevention efforts.

E.    Maintenance. Maintenance of landscape areas, trees, and other plantings shall be as per Section 20.60.170. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.130 Requirements for multifamily residential landscaping and screening.

In addition to any other requirements provided for in other sections of this chapter, the following requirements shall be required in any multifamily residential use governed by this chapter:

A.    Perimeter Areas. Areas not covered with buildings, driveways and parking and loading areas shall be landscaped. Areas to be landscaped shall be covered with live plant materials which will ultimately cover seventy-five percent of the ground area, within three years. One tree a minimum of one and one-half inch caliper at planting shall be provided for every five hundred square feet of the area to be landscaped. In the selection of trees and shrubs, consideration should be given to overall aesthetic impacts at maturity. Trees should be of a variety expected to reach a minimum of twenty feet in height at maturity.

B.    Buffer Areas. Where a multiresidential development is contiguous to a zoning district of less intensive land uses, then the required perimeter area shall include visual screening at least six feet high. The screening may be achieved through any one or a combination of the methods described in the definitions section. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.140 Requirements for commercial uses landscaping and screening.

In addition to any other requirements provided for in other sections of this chapter, the following requirements shall be required in any commercial use governed by this chapter:

A.    Perimeter Areas. Areas not covered with buildings, driveways and parking and loading areas shall be landscaped. Areas to be landscaped shall be covered with live plant materials which will ultimately cover seventy-five percent of the ground area, within three years. One tree a minimum of one and one-half inch caliper at planting shall be provided for every three hundred square feet of the area to be landscaped. In the selection of trees and shrubs, consideration should be given to overall aesthetic impacts at maturity. Trees should be of a variety to reach a minimum of twenty feet in height at maturity.

B.    Buffer Areas. Where a development subject to these standards is contiguous to a residential zoning district or areas of residential development, then that required perimeter area shall include visual screening at least six feet high, except that screening along street frontages shall be a maximum of forty-two inches in height. The screening may be achieved through any one or a combination of the methods described in the definitions section.

C.    Grassy Swales. Grassy swales approved as treatment structures for storm water treatment and retention/detention by the city, may be used to satisfy a portion of the requirement for coverage of seventy-five percent of the ground area of a site by landscaping as listed above in subsection A of this section. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.150 Parking lot landscaping and screening.

The intent of requirements for parking lot landscaping and screening is to provide for screening of views of parked vehicles from the street and to break-up paved areas with landscaping. In addition to any other requirements provided for in other sections of this chapter, the following requirements shall apply to public and private parking lots, residential parking areas providing spaces for five or more cars:

A.    Perimeter Landscaping. In order to soften the visual effects and separate one parking area from another, or from other uses, the following standards apply:

1.    Adjacent to a street or road, the minimum perimeter landscape area width shall be equal to the required yard or a strip ten feet wide, whichever is greater. In the downtown core area or on sites of twelve thousand square feet or less, this requirement is reduced to five feet. On all other perimeters, the depth shall be a minimum of five feet. In no case shall the right-of-way be included when calculating minimum perimeter landscaping, but only to exceed the landscaping requirements. Perimeter areas shall include one tree per twenty frontage foot, arranged either by equal spacing or groupings. Plantings shall occur at each lot line or at the edge of any vision clear zone related to views at intersections and driveways;

2.    Parking lots not fronting on a street nor visible from any land use of lesser intensity shall require no perimeter landscaping except for that necessary to accommodate visual screening as required below.

B.    Other Landscaping Required.

1.    In addition to the screening required below, trees shall be provided within the interior areas of the parking lot at a radius of no greater than forty feet and shall be a minimum of one and one-half inch caliper at planting and of a variety expected to reach a minimum of twenty feet in height at maturity. Interior parking lot landscaping shall include planting areas of not less than five percent of the total parking area, excluding perimeter landscape areas required in subsection (A)(1) of this section. Where the subject parking area is adjacent to a street identified as part of a street tree plan, then the required landscaping shall be compatible with said plan;

2.    Where a development subject to these standards is contiguous to a residential zoning district or areas of residential development, then that required perimeter area shall include visual screening at least six feet high, except that screening along street frontages shall be a maximum of forty-two inches in height. The screening may be achieved through any one or a combination of the methods described in the definitions section.

3.    Minimum Area. The minimum area of a required landscaping bed shall be sixty-four square feet in order to provide a viable plant environment. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.160 Performance assurance.

A.    Landscaping required pursuant to an approved site plan shall be installed prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or final inspection by the city, unless the property owner submits a performance assurance device committing to install the landscaping within one year. In no case shall the property owner delay performance for more than one year.

B.    Performance assurance devices shall take the form of one of the following:

1.    A surety bond executed by a surety company authorized to transact business in the state in a form approved by the city;

2.    Cash;

3.    Assigned savings pursuant to an agreement approved by the city.

C.    If a performance assurance device is employed, the property owner shall provide the city with a nonrevocable notarized agreement granting the city and its agents the right to enter the property and perform any required work remaining undone at the expiration of the assurance device.

D.    If the developer/property owner fails to carry out provisions of the agreement and the city has reimbursed costs or expenses resulting from such failure, the city shall call on the bond or cash deposit for reimbursement. If the amount of the bond or cash deposit exceeds the cost and expense incurred in the city, the remainder shall be released. If the amount of the bond or cash deposit is less than the cost and expense incurred in the city, the developer shall be liable to the city for the difference. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.170 Maintenance.

The city places a high value on the quality of our water and shellfish and the salmon that thrive there. Strategies to maintain healthy trees and vegetation must have minimal impact on the environment. Whenever landscaping is required under the provisions of this chapter, landscaping and planting areas shall be maintained in a healthy growing condition. Dead or dying trees or shrubs shall be replaced within thirty days of notification in writing from the city, and the planting area shall be maintained reasonably free of weeds and trash.

Similarly, if necessary, the trees or shrubs shall receive priming and topping only to avoid the creation of a safety hazard, nuisance through excessive shading, overhanging adjacent properties, or other reasons as directed by the city.

In addition, owners shall be encouraged through site plan review and other processes to be responsible for:

A.    Maintaining landscaping as originally permitted;

B.    Minimizing use of chemicals to safeguard water quality by:

1.    Monitoring as preferable to calendared spray programs,

2.    Using right plant in right growing conditions,

3.    Pulling of weed as preferred over spraying,

4.    Removing insects by squishing, washing, introducing predators, rather than using chemical sprays;

C.    Irrigation with water conservation in mind;

D.    Pruning;

E.    Providing protection against damage to vegetation caused by changes in grade and/or normal drainage patterns. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.180 Planting lists and funding information.

A.    The city shall establish and maintain a list of recommended plants, shrubs, trees, etc. The purpose of these lists is to provide guidance and examples of the various plants and shrubs needed to meet the standards of this chapter.

B.    The city shall also maintain a list of agencies providing technical assistance and funding resources for parties required to meet the standards of this chapter. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.190 Continuance.

Any existing landscaping and screening may continue to be maintained after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter and shall become legal nonconforming landscaping and screening provided:

A.    No such landscaping and screening shall be changed in any manner that increases noncompliance with the provision of this chapter;

B.    The burden of establishing landscaping and/or screening to be legally nonconforming under this section rests upon the person or persons, firm or corporation claiming that legal status;

C.    When a business or activity containing legal nonconforming landscaping and/or screening is enlarged or remodeled to a value of fifty percent or more of existing value of real property improvements, then such landscaping and/or screening must be brought into conformity with this chapter;

D.    When a business or activity containing a legal nonconforming landscaping and/or screening changes ownership, then such landscaping and/or screening must be brought into conformance with this chapter. (Ord. 1419-295 § 1 (part), 1995)

20.60.200 Additional landscaping requirements specific to gateway corridor.

A.    In the gateway corridors the city may require trees to be retained or planted such that adjacent development is less visible from the roadway and/or a forested rural character is maintained.

B.    Within the defined gateway corridors an effort should be made to retain trees consistent with the ultimate width of Highway 101 or other adjacent roadway and in consideration of future health and maintenance of the trees.

C.    In addition to retention of native trees, recommended street trees to be planted should be primarily native conifers and deciduous trees clustered in natural-looking groups. (Ord. 1547-0401 § 5 (Exh. 6), 2001)