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Council Seeks to Clarify City’s Naturalized Landscape Practices


Recently City Tree and Landscaping Board (TLB) has suggested a set of revision to City’s existing nuisance or property maintenance ordinances. The suggested changes are mainly focused on the naturalized, native or managed Landscapes.

  • TLB’s main recommended considerations included:
    Limiting overhang or flop-over of the naturalized planting onto neighboring property or right-of-way – no encroachment allowed
  • Establishing setbacks from property lines for the naturalized planting. Setbacks could be variable on different sides of the property (front, side or rear). The setback area would need to be maintained at an identified lower height
  • Naturalized plantings might only be allowed in rear or side yard; not permitted in front yard; (d) A maximum plantable area for the naturalized landscape of the plantable area on the lot(not occupied by buildings, structures or other improvements) of the property
  • Possible requirement for a minimum number of, or at least an annual cut-down (trimming/mowing) that includes a time period and a maximum height; and
  • Naturalized plantings are absent of identified noxious weeds, as identified in a published state or governmental publication. The TLB is also recommending the following secondary considerations: (a) Naturalized planting locations could be marked with a sign
  • Removal of prior vegetation might be required from the naturalized plant area and planted by human or mechanical means using seeds or transplants;
  • Height limit of naturalized plants
  • Granting an exemption if the garden is designated as a habitat garden or bay friendly planting, especially if planted with native plants.

According to staff, TLB’s suggested ordinance standards/requirements should allow for ease of understanding and enforcement by Code Enforcement Officers. I, do however, agree that we have to be careful that they do not cause more restrictive overreached to residents.

At this week’s Council meeting, the City Council reviewed TLB’s recommendations and discuss possible amendments to the City Code. Staff and TLB plan to work on possible ordinances and come back to the Council in future.

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