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A. General Landscape Standard. All portions of a lot not otherwise developed with buildings, accessory structures, vehicle maneuvering areas, parking, or other approved hardscapes shall be landscaped pursuant to this chapter.

B. Minimum Landscape Area and Coverage. All lots shall conform to the minimum landscape area standards of the applicable zoning district (see Table - C for residential zones and Table for non-residential zones). Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, areas proposed to be covered with plant materials shall have plant coverage of not less than 50 percent coverage within one year and 90 percent coverage within five years of planting.

C. Landscape Design and Plant Selection. The landscape design and selection of plants shall be based on all of the following standards.

1. Tree and Shrub Retention. Existing healthy trees and shrubs shall be retained, pursuant to chapter 18.4.5. Consistent with chapter 18.4.5 Tree Preservation and Protection, credit may be granted toward the landscape area requirements where a project proposal includes preserving healthy vegetation that contribute(s) to the landscape design.

2. Plant Selection.

a. Use a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs, and ground covers.

b. Use plants that are appropriate to the local climate, exposure, and water availability. The presence of utilities and drainage conditions shall also be considered.

c. Storm Water Facilities. Use water-tolerant species where storm water retention/detention or water quality treatment facilities are proposed.

d. Crime Prevention and Defensible Space. Landscape plans shall provide for crime prevention and defensible space, for example, by using low hedges and similar plants allowing natural surveillance of public and semi-public areas, and by using impenetrable hedges in areas where physical access is discouraged.

e. Street Trees. Street trees shall conform to the street tree list approved by the Ashland Tree Commission. See the Ashland Recommended Street Tree Guide.

3. Water Conserving Landscaping. Commercial, industrial, non-residential, and mixed-use developments that are subject to chapter 18.5.2 Site Design Review, shall use plants that are low water use and meet the requirements of Water Conserving Landscaping.

4. Hillside Lands and Water Resources. Landscape plans for land located in the Hillside Lands overlay must also conform to section Development Standards for Hillside Lands, and in the Water Resources overlay must also conform to section Mitigation Requirements for Water Resource Protection Zones.

5. Screening.

a. Evergreen shrubs shall be used where a sight-obscuring landscape screen is required.

b. Where a hedge is used as a screen, evergreen shrubs shall be planted so that not less than 50 percent of the desired screening is achieved within two years and 100 percent is achieved within four years. Living groundcover in the screen strip shall be planted such that 100 percent coverage is achieved within two years.

6. Plant Sizes.

a. Trees shall be not less than two-inch caliper for street trees, and 1.5-inch caliper for other trees at the time of planting.

b. Shrubs shall be planted from not less than one gallon containers, and where required for screening shall meet the requirements of Screening.

D. Tree Preservation, Protection, and Removal. See chapter 18.4.5 for Tree Protection and Preservation and chapter 18.5.7 for Tree Removal Permit requirements.

E. Street Trees. The purpose of street trees is to form a deciduous canopy over the street. The same effect is also desired in parking lots and internal circulation streets; rows of street trees should be included in these areas where feasible.

All development fronting on public or private streets shall be required to plant street trees in accordance with the following standards and chosen from the recommended list of street trees.

1. Location of Street Trees. Street trees shall be located in the designated planting strip or street tree wells between the curb and sidewalk, or behind the sidewalk in cases where a planting strip or tree wells are or will not be in place. Street trees shall include irrigation, root barriers, and generally conform to the standards established by the Community Development Department.

2. Spacing and Placement of Street Trees. All street tree spacing may be made subject to special site conditions that may, for reasons such as safety, affect the decision. Any such proposed special condition shall be subject to the Staff Advisor’s review and approval. The placement, spacing, and pruning of street trees shall meet all of the following requirements.

a. Street trees shall be placed at the rate of one tree for every 30 feet of street frontage. Trees shall be evenly spaced, with variations to the spacing permitted for specific site limitations, such as driveway approaches.

b. Street trees shall not be planted closer than 25 feet from the curb line of intersections of streets or alleys, and not closer than ten feet from private driveways (measured at the back edge of the sidewalk), fire hydrants, or utility poles.

d. Street trees shall not be planted closer than 20 feet to light standards. Except for public safety, no new light standard location shall be positioned closer than ten feet to any existing street tree, and preferably such locations will be at least 20 feet distant.

e. Street trees shall not be planted closer than 2.5 feet from the face of the curb. Street trees shall not be planted within two feet of any permanent hard surface paving or walkway. Sidewalk cuts in concrete for trees, or tree wells, shall be at least 25 square feet; however, larger cuts are encouraged because they allow additional air and water into the root system and add to the health of the tree. Tree wells shall be covered by tree grates in accordance with City specifications.

g. Street trees planted under or near power lines shall be selected so as to not conflict with power lines at maturity.

h. Existing trees may be used as street trees if there will be no damage from the development which will kill or weaken the tree. Sidewalks of variable width and elevation, where approved pursuant to section Street Design Standards, may be utilized to save existing street trees, subject to approval by the Staff Advisor.

3. Pruning. Street trees, as they grow, shall be pruned to provide at least eight feet of clearance above sidewalks and 12 feet above street roadway surfaces.

4. Replacement of Street Trees. Existing street trees removed by development projects shall be replaced by the developer with those from the street tree list approved by the Ashland Tree Commission. The replacement trees shall be of size and species similar to the trees that are approved by the Staff Advisor. See the Ashland Recommended Street Tree Guide.

F. Parking Lot Landscaping and Screening. Parking lot landscaping, including areas of vehicle maneuvering, parking, and loading, shall meet the following requirements.

1. Landscaping.

a. Parking lot landscaping shall consist of a minimum of seven percent of the total parking area plus a ratio of one tree for each seven parking spaces to create a canopy effect.

b. The tree species shall be an appropriate large canopied shade tree and shall be selected from the street tree list approved by the Ashland Tree Commission to avoid root damage to pavement and utilities, and damage from droppings to parked cars and pedestrians. See the Ashland Recommended Street Tree Guide.

c. The tree shall be planted in a landscaped area such that the tree bole is at least two feet from any curb or paved area.

d. The landscaped area shall be distributed throughout the parking area and parking perimeter at the required ratio.

e. That portion of a required landscaped yard, buffer strip, or screening strip abutting parking stalls may be counted toward required parking lot landscaping but only for those stalls abutting landscaping as long as the tree species, living plant material coverage, and placement distribution criteria are also met. Front or exterior yard landscaping may not be substituted for the interior landscaping required for interior parking stalls.

2. Screening.

a. Screening Abutting Property Lines. A five foot landscaped strip shall screen parking abutting a property line. Where a buffer between zones is required, the screening shall be incorporated into the required buffer strip, and will not be an additional requirement.

b. Screening Adjacent to Residential Building. Where a parking area is adjacent to a residential building it shall be setback at least eight feet from the building, and shall provide a continuous hedge screen.

c. Screening at Required Yards.

i. Parking abutting a required landscaped front yard or exterior yard shall incorporate a sight obstructing hedge screen into the required landscaped yard.

ii. The screen shall grow to be at least 36 inches higher than the finished grade of the parking area, except within vision clearance areas, section

iii. The screen height may be achieved by a combination of earth mounding and plant materials.

iv. Elevated parking lots shall screen both the parking and the retaining walls.

G. Other Screening Requirements. Screening is required for refuse and recycle containers, outdoor storage areas, loading and service corridors, mechanical equipment, and the City may require screening other situations, pursuant with the requirements of this ordinance.

1. Recycle and Refuse Container Screen. Recycle and refuse containers or disposal areas shall be screened from view by placement of a solid wood fence or masonry wall five to eight feet in height to limit the view from adjacent properties or public rights-of-way. All recycle and refuse materials shall be contained within the screened area.

2. Outdoor Storage. Outdoor storage areas shall be screened from view, except such screening is not required in the M-1 zone.

3. Loading Facilities and Service Corridors. Commercial and industrial loading facilities and service corridors shall be screened when adjacent to residential zones. Siting and design of such service areas shall reduce the adverse effects of noise, odor, and visual clutter upon adjacent residential uses.

4. Mechanical Equipment. Mechanical equipment shall be screened by placement of features at least equal in height to the equipment to limit view from public rights-of-way, except alleys, and adjacent residentially zoned property. Mechanical equipment meeting the requirements of this section satisfy the screening requirements in

a. Roof-mounted Equipment. Screening for roof-mounted equipment shall be constructed of materials used in the building’s exterior construction and include features such as a parapet, wall, or other sight-blocking features. Roof-mounted solar collection devices are exempt from this requirement pursuant to subsection

b. Other Mechanical Equipment. Screening for other mechanical equipment (e.g., installed at ground level) include features such as a solid wood fence, masonry wall, or hedge screen.

H. Irrigation. Irrigation systems shall be installed to ensure landscape success. If a landscape area is proposed without irrigation, a landscape professional shall certify the area can be maintained and survive without artificial irrigation. Irrigation plans are reviewed through a Ministerial process at the time of building permit submittals.

I. Water Conserving Landscaping. Water has always been a scare, valuable resource in the Western United States. In the Rogue Valley, winter rains give way to a dry season spanning five to seven months. Lack of water during the dry summer season was a major problem facing early settlers. Their creative solutions greatly altered the development of this region. Talent Irrigation District’s and other district’s reservoirs and many miles of reticulating canals are an engineering marvel.

Ashland’s early development centered around Ashland Creek and its year-round water supply flowing from the flanks of Mt. Ashland, a mile in elevation above the town.

As the town grew, the old reservoir at the top of Granite Street and later, Reeder Reservoir were built. They remain as a testament to the town’s need for more water than the quantity that flows through the City during the dry season. The reservoir collects the winter rain behind its dams, for use during the dry season. Snowfall adds to this system by slowly melting in the spring and summer, after rainfall has diminished. This recharges the groundwater that continues to flow into Ashland Creek long after the last of the snow pack has melted.

Presently, Reeder reservoir’s capacity is just barely sufficient to supply the City’s current water demands in a severe drought. With Ashland’s semi-arid climate that includes periodic multi-year droughts, a fixed reservoirs size, and growing water demands, it is clear that additional steps to insure a secure a water supply are now necessary.

There are two main ways of insuring a reliable water supply; either increase the supply by finding additional water sources or reduce the demand through water conservation strategies. The traditional supply side solutions are economically and environmentally expensive. Demand side solutions are relatively inexpensive, although they require changes in behavior and usage patterns. One of the main strategies for reducing water use are landscape designs that use less water. Ashland has adopted these guidelines in order to reduce the amount of water wasted by many standard landscaping practices.

The advantages to standards like these are that they avoid the costs of increasing the water supply, and also avoid the draconian measure of mandatory rationing. While standards limit plant materials, the choices offered by drought tolerant plants give ample opportunity to create beautiful landscapes at no additional cost.

The goal of these guidelines is to decrease water usage while encouraging attractive landscaping. Further, standards are aimed at reducing water and demand when it is most crucial, during the dry late summer months when water reserves are low.

The following standards are intended to conserve water while encouraging attractive landscaping. Further, requirements are aimed at reducing water demand when water is most scarce, during the dry late summer months when water reserves are low.

1. Landscaping Design Standards.

a. Landscaping Coverage. Water conserving designs shall have plant coverage of not less than 90 percent with five years of planting, but are not required to meet the standard of 50 percent coverage within one year.

b. Plant Selection. At least 90 percent of plants in the non-turf areas shall be listed as drought tolerant in the Sunset Western Garden book, City’s Water-Wise Landscaping website, or be similarly well-suited for this climate of region as determined by the Staff Advisor. Up to ten percent of the plants may be of a non-drought tolerant variety or species as long as they are grouped together and are located in a separate irrigation zone.

c. Screening. Plant screening hedges to attain 50 percent coverage after two years.

d. Mulch. Add a minimum of two inches of mulch in non-turf areas to the soil surface after planting. Neither large nuggets nor fine bark may be used for mulch. Non-porous material shall not be placed under the mulch.

e. Turf and Water Areas. Limit combined turf or water areas (i.e., pools, ponds, and fountains) to 20 percent of the landscaped areas. Turf limitations do not apply to public parks, private common open space, required outdoor recreation areas, golf courses, cemeteries, and school recreation areas.

f. Fountains. Design all fountains to recycle their water.

g. Turf Location. Turf is restricted to slopes less than ten percent grade.

h. Berms and Raised Beds.

i. No more than five percent of landscaped area of any lot or project may be berms or raised beds higher than one foot unless there is demonstrated need for sound or safety barrier. If allowed, berms must be no taller than 1/6 of their width.

ii. All plantings on berms one foot or greater in height must be drought tolerant.

iii. Only drip irrigation is allowed on berms more than one foot in height.

i. Soil Quality. When new vegetation is planted, soils shall be amended for plant health and water absorption. Add mature compost at a rate of three cubic yards of compost per 1,000 square feet of area to be landscaped, and work soil and amendment(s) to a depth of four to six inches. This requirement may be waived for one or more of the following circumstances.

i. The area to be landscaped is fenced off to fully protect native soil from disturbance and compaction during construction.

ii. Soil tests document an organic content of a least three percent based on a representative core sample taken at a rate of one test per 20,000 square feet, based on a minimum of three core sample per test. Samples shall be taken at least 40 feet apart to a depth of six inches following attainment of rough grade.

iii. The area to be landscaped will be used to capture and treat storm water runoff, and is subject to separate design standards.

2. Irrigation System Design Standards. Irrigation plans are reviewed through a Ministerial process at the time of building permit submittals, and are subject to the following standards.

a. Design sprinkler head spacing for head-to-head coverage.

b. Design irrigation system to minimize runoff and overspray to non-irrigated areas.

c. Match precipitation rates for all irrigation heads for each circuit.

d. Separate irrigation zones based on water needs of plantings and type of sprinklers being used (i.e., rotating, fixed spray, or drip). Plants with similar watering needs shall be in the same irrigation zone unless irrigated by drip irrigation having emitters sized for individual plant water needs.

f. Use sprinkler heads with a precipitation rate of .85 inches per hour or less on slopes exceeding 15 percent to minimize run-off, or when slope exceeds ten percent within ten feet of hardscape.

g. Serviceable check valves (or pressure compensating emitters for drip systems) are required where an elevation difference greater than 20 feet exists on any circuit.

h. Drip irrigation systems are required for trees unless within lawn areas.

i. Equip all irrigation zones with pressure regulator valves (PRV) to meet the manufacturer’s recommended operating pressure for the components of each zone; except in those instances where a PRV is in place. PRV’s shall be located at the meter or solenoid valve.

k. Automatic Sprinkler Controls.

i. Equip all irrigation systems with a controller capable of dual or multiple programming. Controllers shall have a multiple start time capability, station run times in minutes to hours, and water days by interval, day of the week, and even/odd days.

ii. Use controllers with a percent adjust (water budget) feature, or the capability of accepting an external rain or soil moisture sensor.

3. Exceptions. Requests to depart from the requirements of this section shall demonstrate that the water consumption for the project as a whole is equal to or less than what would occur if the standards were strictly applied, in addition to meeting the criteria in Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards.

J. Maintenance. All landscaping shall be maintained in good condition, or otherwise replaced by the property owner; dead plants must be replaced within 180 days of discovery. Replacement planting consistent with an approved plan does not require separate City approval.