§ 23-307. Landscaping requirements.  

Effective on Wednesday, September 7, 2022
  • Sec. 23-307.1 Vehicular use areas.

    a. Applicability. The provisions of this subsection apply to all areas used for the display or parking of any and all types of vehicles, boats, or heavy construction equipment, whether such vehicles, boats or heavy construction equipment are self-propelled or not, and all land upon which vehicles traverse the property as a function of the primary use, hereinafter referred to as "other vehicular uses" which include but are not limited to activities of a drive-in nature such as, but not limited to, filling stations and grocery stores. All uses covered by this subsection shall conform to the minimum landscaping requirements hereinafter provided, save and except areas which are used for parking or other vehicular uses but which are located under or within buildings. 

    b. Definitions. Terms used in this subsection shall be defined as follows:

    1. Encroachment: Any protrusion of a vehicle outside a parking space, storage area, or access aisle into a landscaped area.

    2. Ground cover: Low-growing plants, including grass, planted in such a manner as to form a continuous cover over the ground.

    3. Hedge: A dense row of shrubs or low trees planted in such a manner as to offer a visual barrier and having a minimum height of two (2) feet and fifty (50) percent view blockage at time of planting with the capability of attaining a minimum height of four (4) feet and one hundred (100) percent view blockage within two (2) years.

    4. Landscape material: Materials such as, but not limited to, living trees, shrubs, vines, lawn grass and ground cover and nonliving durable material commonly used in landscaping such as, but not limited to, rocks, pebbles, and sand but excluding pavement for vehicular use.

    5. Shrub: A woody perennial plant differing from a perennial herb by its persistent and woody stems and from trees by its low stature and habit of branching from the base, as normally grown in this area.

    6. Tree: A woody perennial plant with an elongated stem or trunk supporting branches and leaves of a species which normally grows to an overall height of at least fifteen (15) feet in this area.  Species listed in Sec. 23-214.b shall not be planted to meet landscaping requirements.

    7. Vine: Any plant which normally requires support to reach its mature form.

    c. Parking lot requirements. Barriers to prevent vehicles from encroaching on all landscaped areas in off-street parking areas shall be provided as required under section 23-306

    1. Perimeter.

    A. A landscape buffer shall be permanently maintained and located on the perimeter of all off-street parking areas. Such buffers shall meet the following width requirements, at minimum:

    abutting an arterial or major collector roadway: 25 feet

    abutting a minor collector, local roadway or access drive or travelway: 10 feet

    abutting a single-family residential property or zoning district: 10 feet

    abutting a non-residential property or zoning district: 5 feet

    all others: 5 feet

    B. Both trees and shrubs shall be planted in the landscaped buffer area.

    i. Depending on the mature size of the trees being planted, trees shall be planted at a minimum of one (1) tree for each fifty (50) linear feet, or fraction thereof, abutting the right-of-way or interior lot line.

    ii. Trees shall be a minimum of eight (8) feet in height at time of planting.

    iii. Shrubs shall be planted to form a continuous screen except in a specific area where spacing or other changes would be more desirable.

    iv. Shrubs shall be a minimum of two (2) feet in height at time of planting.

    C. Portions of landscaped buffer area not planted with trees and shrubs shall be finished with ground cover or other landscape material.

    D. An irrigation system shall be installed for the permanent maintenance of the landscaped buffer.

    E. When an access way intersects a public right-of-way, all landscaping shall provide unobstructed cross-visibility at a level between two (2) feet and ten (10) feet within a cross-visibility triangle as defined below.

    i. Two (2) sides of each triangle formed by the intersection shall be ten (10) feet in length from the point of intersection and the third side shall be a line connecting the ends of the two (2) other sides.

    ii. Trees having limbs or foliage which extend into the cross-visibility area shall be allowed provided they are located and trimmed in such a manner as not to create a traffic hazard.

    iii. Landscaping, except required ground cover, shall not be located closer than three (3) feet from the edge of any access way pavement.

    2. Interior.

    A. Interior portions of off-street parking areas not specifically designated as parking spaces or maneuvering areas shall not be paved for vehicular use but shall be planted and permanently maintained with trees and shrubs and finished with ground cover or other landscape material.

    B. Landscaped areas with a minimum of ten (10) feet in width and a minimum total area of one hundred (100) square feet shall be provided to prevent excessively long, continuous runs of parking spaces.

    i. Except where a bay of parking spaces is located along a landscaped buffer meeting the requirements of this chapter, no parking bay shall contain more than fifteen (15) continuous parking spaces or extend more than one hundred fifty (150) feet, whichever is more restrictive, without being interrupted by a landscaped area.

    ii. Landscaped area must have one (1) tree of a minimum height of eight (8) feet at time of planting.

    C. Each row of interior parking spaces shall be terminated at each end by a landscaped area which shall be a minimum of seventy-five (75) square feet in size and which shall have no dimension less than five (5) feet.

    i. Landscaped area shall extend a minimum of seven-eighths (7/8) the distance of the length of the adjacent parking space.

    ii. Landscaped area shall have one (1) tree of a minimum height of eight (8) feet at time of planting.

    D. Interior landscaping is not required when the paved portion of the parking area is five thousand (5,000) square feet or less.

    d. Planting of shade and ornamental trees. All trees shall be set or planted at least three (3) feet back from the curbline, and in cases where the lawn is more than six (6) feet wide, the trees shall be set along the centerline thereof. When trees are set, the surface of the lawn at tree locations shall be brought to the proper slope and elevation.

    (Ord. No. 2007-33, § 2, 9-4-07; Ord. No. 2008-45, §§ 9, 10, 12-16-08)

    Sec. 307.2 Landscaping standards.

    a. Tree density. Credit shall be granted toward tree density requirements for trees preserved on site. Replacement ratios in Table 23-302A shall be used to calculate credit.

    1. Applicability. Tree density requirements shall apply to all new construction and to all construction requiring a permit for additions, alterations and repairs in an aggregate cost exceeding twenty-five (25) percent of the assessed valuation of the building at the date a building permit for said additions, alterations or repairs is applied for.

    2. Non-residential density requirement. A minimum of three (3) trees shall be required for each one-quarter (¼) acre or ten thousand eight hundred ninety (10,890) square feet of land or fraction thereof in the non-residential development.

    3. Residential density requirements.

    Lots less than 10,000 s/f: three, two-inch caliper shade trees, minimum of eight feet at plantingAt least one of the shade trees shall be a street tree.  Corner lots shall have a minimum of one additional tree to ensure that each frontage has at least one street tree.

    Lots 10,000 s/f or greater: four, two-inch caliper shade trees, minimum of eight feet at plantingAt least one of the shade trees shall be a street tree.  Corner lots shall have a minimum of one additional tree to ensure that each frontage has at least one street tree.

    NOTE: Street Trees are required to have root barriers. Root barriers shall be approved by the Administrative Official prior to planting.

    Definitions:Root Barrier – Typically used for Street Trees, Root Barriers are structures and/or materials that redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes, preventing costly root damage while preserving the health and functionality of trees.Street Tree – A tree that is currently located or proposed for planting along streets or highways.  Such tree can be located on private property or on publicly held land.  Street trees are typically planted in a linear fashion and provide spatial enclosure as well as other technical and aesthetic benefits (Wildwood Mo.)

    4. Plan. Tree location shall be designated on either a site plan or a landscape plan.

    5. Quality. Trees shall be living and healthy. Dead, unhealthy or damaged trees shall not apply in meeting tree density requirements and shall be replaced until the density requirement is met.

    6. Spacing. No tree shall be considered in meeting density requirements which is planted closer than fifteen (15) feet to the base of another tree.

    7. Density maintenance. If any required tree dies, it shall be replaced to maintain the tree density. The replacement need not be at the same location as the dead tree.

    8. Downtown Landscape. In the D-MU District, except for those areas within the Crystal Lake Overlay, in lieu of planting required on-site trees, the applicant may elect to make payment to the city's tree replacement fund. (See Table 23-242 "Land Use Applications—Required Fees"). Funds in the tree replacement fund shall be reserved for planting plans for public parks and streetscapes, including tree inventories, assessments and planting plans; and for the purchase, planting, and maintenance of trees and shrubs in public parks and streetscapes.

    b. Plant material.

    1. General quality.

    A. After the effective date of this ordinance, drought-tolerant plants shall be used wherever landscaping is required.

    B. Plant material shall at a minimum conform to the Standards for Florida No. 1 or better as established by the Florida Department of Agriculture.

    C. Grass and sod shall be clean and reasonably free of weeds and noxious pests or diseases.

    D. The use of invasive, poisonous, or commonly objectionable species is prohibited. 

    2. Trees.

    A. Trees shall be of a species which in this area will have a mature crown spread of greater than fifteen (15) feet and a trunk of five (5) feet of clear wood. Species excluded from the requirement for a tree removal permit (sec. 23-214) shall not be used in meeting landscaping requirements.

                B. Trees having an average mature crown spread of less than fifteen (15) feet may be substituted by grouping sufficient numbers so as to create the equivalent of a fifteen-foot crown spread.

    C. All trees shall be a minimum of thirty (30) gallon size and approximately ten (10) feet overall height immediately after planting.

    D. Trees of species whose roots are known to cause damage to public roadways or public works shall not be planted closer than twelve (12) feet to such public roadways or public works unless mitigating measures (such as root barriers) are in place to minimize any impact to said public facilities.

    3. Shrubs and hedges.

    A. Shrubs shall be a minimum of three (3) gallon size and approximately eighteen (18) inches in height when measured immediately after planting.

    B. Hedges, where required, shall be planted and maintained so as to form a continuous, unbroken, solid, visual screen within one (1) year after planting.

    4. Vines. Vines shall be a minimum of thirty (30) inches in height immediately after planting and may be used in conjunction with fences, screens or walls to meet physical requirements as specified.

    5. Ground covers. Ground covers used in lieu of grass, in whole or in part, shall be planted in such a manner as to present a finished appearance and reasonably complete coverage within six (6) months after planting.

    6. Lawn grass. Grass areas shall be sodded in species grown as permanent lawns in Polk County.

    c. Landscaping installation.

    1. All landscaping shall be installed with sound workmanship and in accordance with good planting procedures.

    2. All elements of landscaping exclusive of plant material, except hedges, shall be installed so as to conform with all other applicable ordinances and code requirements.

    3. All landscaped areas shall be protected from vehicular encroachment.

    4. All landscaped areas shall be provided with a permanent below-ground irrigation system.

    5. The administrative official shall inspect all landscaping and shall issue no certificate of use or similar authorization until the landscaping conforms to the requirements of this subsection.

    d. Landscaping maintenance.

    1. The owner, tenant and their agent, if any, shall be jointly and severally responsible for the maintenance of all landscaping in such condition as to present a healthy, neat and orderly appearance. Sufficient foliage shall be maintained on all plants and trees so that the landscaping meets its intended purpose whether for buffering, shade, or appearance. Hedges in buffers shall be maintained so as to sustain an opaqueness of at least eighty (80) percent at maturity.

    2. All landscaped areas shall be kept free from refuse and debris.

    3. Any deficiencies shall be corrected within thirty (30) days of written notification by the city.

    (Ord. No. 2007-33, § 2, 9-4-07)

    Sec. 23-307.3 Landscaped buffers. Minimum requirements for landscaped buffers are as follows:

    a. Buffer between non-residential use and residential district. A five-foot wide separation strip shall be provided on property in non-residential use and a residential district. Within this strip, a permanent visual buffer, such as a wall or evergreen hedge, with a minimum height of six (6) feet shall be provided.

    b. Buffer along streets exterior to a development. A landscaped buffer shall be provided in along streets exterior to a development where the rear yards of lots abut the exterior street.

    1. Along a local street, the buffer shall be a minimum of ten (10) feet in width, and along collector and arterial roadways, twenty (20) feet in width.

    2. The buffer shall be in a separate parcel or tract maintained by a homeowners' association or similar entity, in accordance with an approved landscaping plan.

    3. The buffer shall be landscaped to provide a solid screen, such as a wall or hedge, a minimum of six (6) feet in height. One (1) tree shall be provided for every fifty (50) feet of buffer length.

    Sec. 23-307.4 Drainage retention areas. Landscaping shall be required along retention areas abutting all travelways, including streets, accessways, bikeways, sidewalks, and driveways. There shall be a buffer with a minimum width of 25 feet with a grade of no more than 2% along any retention area abutting a roadway, accessway, or driveway. The buffer shall be measured from the edge of pavement and the top of slope of the retention area. The buffer shall be landscaped in accordance with a landscaping plan approved by the administrative official and meeting the following minimum requirements:

    a. Any fence surrounding a retention area for the purpose of preventing access shall be screened with trees and shrubs with the equivalent density of one tree and 5 shrubs for every 50 feet of fence. Solid fences shall not be permitted along retention areas, and chain link shall not be permitted unless required by the stormwater permitting agency.

    b. Buffers shall be planted at minimum of 5 shade trees per 300 linear feet.

    c. Sidewalks, bikeways, and trails, shall be located no closer than 10 feet from the top of slope of the retention area and shall be a minimum of 3 feet from the curb or edge of pavement.

(Ord. No. 2006-24, §§ 8, 9, 6-6-06; Ord. No. 2014-08, § 4, 09-03-14; Ord. No. 2015-04, § 7, 7-7-15; Ord. No. 2018-07, § 2, 09-19-18; Ord. No. 2020-30, § 1, 12-02-20; Ord. No. 2022-06, § 1, 3-01-22; Ord. No. 2022-37, § 1, 9-07-22)