§ 23-635. Irrigation System  

Effective on Tuesday, January 3, 2023
  • Section 23-635.1 Design and Installation Standards

    (A) Applicability. Irrigation system design and installation standards shall apply to the following:

    (1) All new residential, commercial, and institutional construction where a new landscape irrigation system is required.
    (2) Where significant rehabilitation (50% or greater) of an existing landscape irrigation system will be conducted. 

    (B) General.

    (1) Nothing within this Section shall require the installation of an irrigation system. Requirements for installing irrigation systems are specified in other Articles within Chapter 23 of the Zoning, Land Use and Development Regulation and Chapter 21 of the Utilities Code.
    (2) All irrigation systems shall be designed by an irrigation professional consistent with the irrigation systems standards and as set forth in this Section.
    (3) All irrigation systems must be properly installed and maintained and must operate technology such as rain and/or soil moisture sensors that inhibit or interrupt operation of the irrigation systems during periods of sufficient moisture.
    (4) Compliance with this Section shall not exempt an individual from any other local, state or federal requirements.

    (C) System Design and Installation Standards. Irrigation system design and installation shall be consistent with the irrigation system standards and the following requirements:

    (1) The maximum total irrigated area on residential lots, regardless of lot size, shall not exceed 0.5 acres. This provision does not apply to temporary irrigation such as portable hoses and sprinklers.
    (2) High-volume irrigation area shall not exceed 60 percent of the landscaped area. This standard is applicable on residential lots over 1/8 acre and commercial lots over 1/8 acre. This standard applies to common areas and open space in developments. This standard excludes vegetable gardens and fruit or nut trees on individual lots or community gardens.
    (3) Narrow areas, four feet wide or less, shall not be irrigated unless correctly installed low-volume irrigation or correctly installed side-strip irrigation are used.
    (4) High-volume irrigation shall not be used for trees, shrubs, or groundcover beds. Permanent micro-irrigation may be used in these areas. The City encourages the use of temporary establishment irrigation.
    (5) Irrigation zones shall be divided according to vegetated groupings (e.g., turfgrass, shrubs, native plants, trees) and the water requirements of the plants. Turf grass and landscaped beds, such as trees, shrubs, and groundcover beds, shall not be irrigated in the same zone as each other.
    (6) Sprinkler head types, such as spray heads and rotors, shall not be mixed in the same zone.
    (7) Distribution equipment in each zone shall have matched precipitation rates.
    (8) Rotors and spray sprinkler heads in turfgrass areas shall be spaced to provide head-to-head coverage.
    (9) A minimum separation of four inches shall be required between distribution equipment and pavement.
    (10) A minimum separation of 24 inches shall be required between distribution equipment and buildings and other vertical structures, except fences.
    (11) Technology that inhibits or interrupts operation of the irrigation system during periods of sufficient moisture shall be required on all irrigation systems to avoid irrigation during periods of sufficient rainfall. Examples of such devices include soil moisture sensors, weather stations, and rainfall shut off devices.  The technology shall override the irrigation cycle when adequate rainfall has occurred. Technology that depends on rainfall for bypassing irrigation shall be placed where it is exposed to unobstructed natural rainfall and in compliance with section 373.62, Fla. Stat., as amended.
    (12) Permanent irrigation systems shall be equipped with an automatic control system to provide the following minimum capabilities:

    a. Ability to be programmed in minutes, by day of week, season, and time of day;
    b. Ability to accommodate multiple start times and programs;
    c. Automatic shut off after adequate rainfall;
    d. Ability to maintain time during power outages; and
    e. Operational    flexibility    to meet   applicable year-round water conservation requirements.

    (13) Sprinklers in low-lying areas have check valves to prevent head drainage.
    (14) Irrigation system equipment shall be installed in accordance with manufacturer's specifications.
    (15) No direct spray shall be allowed onto walkways, buildings, roadways, drives and impervious surfaces.
    (16) Pipelines shall be designed to provide the system with the appropriate pressure required for maximum irrigation uniformity.
    (17) All sprinkler heads with spray nozzles (non-rotary) shall be pressure- regulated at the head or zone valve.
    (18) All irrigation system underground piping shall have minimum soil cover of six inches.
    (19) Sprinklers shall rise above turfgrass height: a minimum of 6-inch pop-up for sprays and 4-inch pop-up for rotors for St. Augustine, Zoysia and Bahia grasses; a minimum of a 4-inch pop-up for sprays and rotors for Centipede, Bermuda and Seashore Paspalum grasses. 

    Section 23-635.2 Maintenance of Irrigation Systems

    (A) An irrigation professional responsible for installing or substantially modifying an irrigation system shall provide the property owner with a maintenance checklist affixed to or near the controller and accompanied by a recommended maintenance schedule, proper irrigation system settings according to season, recommendations for checking technology that inhibits or interrupts operation of the system during periods of sufficient moisture, filter cleaning recommendations, if applicable, and information on the current water restrictions.
    (B) A property owner shall ensure that irrigation systems on their property are inspected at least annually for leaks, overspray, maladjusted heads, and heads that may be capped due to changes in the landscape, such as maturity or changes in plants. Technology that inhibits or interrupts operation of the system during periods of sufficient moisture may need to be replaced every few years and shall be correctly functioning to be in compliance with this article. Irrigation systems with known leaks shall not be operated until the leaks are repaired, except for testing purposes.
    (C) Within 60 calendar days after landscape installation, the property owner shall ensure that the irrigation controller is adjusted to operate according to normal, established landscape conditions or irrigation restrictions, if the irrigation system is installed as part of newly established landscaping.

    Section 23-635.3 Exemptions

    The following are exempted from the provisions of this article, but should follow the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s applicable “Florida-Friendly Best Management Practices for the Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries”:

    (1) Bona fide agricultural activities;
    (2) Vegetable gardens and fruit and nut trees;
    (3) Athletic fields;
    (4) Golf course play areas;
    (5) Cemeteries;
    (6) Nurseries; and
    (7) Temporary establishment irrigation.

    Section 23-635.4 Alternative Compliance

    (A) An applicant may submit a proposal that varies from the strict application of the requirements of this Section (also known as "alternative compliance") in order to accommodate unique site features or characteristics, utilize innovative design, prevent extraordinary hardship, or to promote the overriding public interest or general public welfare. Diminished value of property or inconvenience is not an extraordinary hardship.
    (B) An applicant seeking authorization for alternative compliance shall have the burden of demonstrating to the City the reasons why the strict application of the requirements of this Section should not apply.
    (C) Requests for alternative compliance shall be submitted as part of the irrigation system approval process.
    (D) The City may approve an alternative compliance plan upon finding that the alternative compliance plan fulfills the purpose and intent of this Section at least as well as a plan that strictly adheres to the requirements of this Section.
    (E) The City may require a site inspection and corresponding site inspection fee for systems which are installed according to a department-approved alternative compliance plan.


(Ord. No. 2022-52, § 1, 1-03-23)