ORDINANCE NO. AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA, REPEALING §§25 – 322 THROUGH 25 – 338 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES, PERTAINING TO LANDSCAPE REGULATION; ENACTING NEW §§25 – 323 THROUGH 25 – 338 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES PERTAINING TO LANDSCAPE REGULATION; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING A MECHANISM TO DEAL WITH NONCONFORMING LANDSCAPING; SETTING OUT LANDSCAPING STANDARDS; REQUIRING LANDSCAPING TO BE DESIGNED AND IMPLEMENTED TO CONSERVE WATER; PROVIDING LISTS OF RECOMMENDED AND PROHIBITED PLANT MATERIALS; REGULATING IRRIGATION OF LAWNS AND LANDSCAPING; PROVIDING FOR BUFFERS; PRESCRIBING STANDARDS FOR WALLS AND FENCES; PROVIDING FOR LANDSCAPING IN PARKING LOTS; SPECIFYING STANDARDS FOR LANDSCAPING IN AND AROUND WETLANDS AND WATER BODIES; PROVIDING FOR TREE PROTECTION; REPEALING CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; PROVIDING A SAVINGS CLAUSE; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. WHEREAS,the City of Leesburg has existing ordinances regulating landscaping, and
WHEREAS, the City of Leesburg has obtained a Consumptive Use Permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District (the “District”); and
WHEREAS, certain conditions contained in that Consumptive Use Permit require the City to implement various water conservation measures in general, and to adopt a “water wise” landscaping ordinance in particular; and
WHEREAS, the District has promulgated a suggested form of landscaping ordinance which it recommends be adopted by local governments within the geographical boundaries of the District, for the purpose of conserving water and encouraging the use of landscaping techniques and materials which require less irrigation and therefore promote water conservation; and
WHEREAS, the City of Leesburg desires to comply with the conditions of its Consumptive Use Permit and to encourage the conservation of water, a scarce resource, and has evaluated the District’s form of ordinance and elected to adopt it with certain modifications,
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA: SECTION I. §§22 – 322 through 22 – 338 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Leesburg, Florida, are hereby repealed, and new §§22 – 323 through 22 – 338 are hereby enacted in the place and stead of the repealed sections, to read as set forth below:
Sec. 25-323. Purpose and General Requirements. A. Purpose: The purpose of this chapter is to establish minimum standards for landscaping, buffers, tree protection and reduction of energy cost within the city. This section is to be implemented to achieve the following intents and purposes:
To improve the appearance of the community;
To provide shade for the ground surfaces;
To buffer adjacent land uses;
To preserve natural and native vegetation;
To screen vehicular movement from pedestrian and public view;
To provide for the protection and preservation of trees and vegetation; and
To encourage water-efficient (xeriscape) landscaping principles.
B. General requirements of this section shall include:
All landscaping shall be designed and located to provide a logical, consistent and attractive pattern of landscaping that relates to the human-scale, softens the built environment, and creates an attractive environment within the city.
All landscaping standards shall meet the requirements of the 'Plant Material List' for plant species, specification of Revised Florida Grades and Standards as may be revised. All landscape and irrigation plans for projects of five (5) or more acres proposed for development excluding single family projects shall be signed and sealed by a landscape architect licensed to practice in the State of Florida and shall be submitted as part of an application for site plan approval.
All parts of a required landscape buffer or other landscape planting area shall contain shrubs, groundcovers, landscape mulch, rock or sod. Required buffers may contain retention, drive isles, public trails and natural vegetation. No areas except landscape planting area shall contain gravel or mulch unless specifically approved by the planning and zoning manager.
Where required landscape materials are not available due to the time of year or local availability, alternative materials may be approved by the planning and zoning manager. Alternative such as increasing the number of plants with smaller plants for buffer areas shall be considered.
In administering this code, the City Manager or designee shall have authority to waive and/or adjust requirements on a case by case basis due to site constraints or other factors that are specific to the site in question. This authority is subject to meeting the overall intent and purpose of this section and providing written justification in the project file as a part of the public record.
Sec. 25-324. Definitions Agriculture--Field crops/wholesale nursery - Shall mean the production, keeping, or maintenance, for sale, lease, or personal use, of plants useful to man, and may include, but not be limited to, forage and sod crops, grain and seed crops, fruits of all kinds, vegetables, and nursery, floral, ornamental, and greenhouse products. This would not include a home garden.
Agriculture--Processing/hatcheries - shall mean the production, keeping, maintenance, or processing, for sale, lease, or personal use, of animals and plants useful to man, and may include, but not be limited to, dairy animals and dairy products, grain mills, poultry and poultry products. This would not include domestic pets such dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc.
Caliper- shall mean the minimum trunk diameter of a replacement tree as measured at a predetermined point measurement.
Clearing- shall mean the removal of any trees or vegetation from the land, but shall not include mowing of lawn and field grasses.
Diameter at breast height (DBH) - shall mean the trunk diameter of a tree measured four and one-half (4.5) feet above the average ground level at the base of the tree. Provided, however, if the tree forks four and one-half (4.5) feet above ground level, it is measured below the swell resulting from the double stem.
Drip line shall mean the ground area surrounding the trunk of a tree that is described by the vertical plane enclosing the outermost branches of the tree. For asymmetrical specimens, or those with unusually small crown spear, the drip line area shall in no case be less than that area described by a radial dimension of one (1) foot for each one (1) inch of trunk radius.
Landscaping shall mean areas set aside from structures and parking which are developed with natural materials (i.e., lawns, trees, shrubs, vines, hedges, bedding plants, rock) and decorative features, including paving materials, walls, fences, and street furniture.
Plant List for the City of Leesburg shall mean a listing of recommended canopy trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, groundcover and grasses for the City of Leesburg approved by the Leesburg City Commission. The publication shall also contain a listing of prohibited exotic plants, prohibited invasive plants and drought tolerant plants as listed by the USDA.
Remove or Removal as used in Section 25-338 of these regulations, the cutting down, destruction, or damaging of a tree or trees, or to cause the cutting down, destruction, or damaging of a tree or Trees.
Tree shall mean any living, self-supporting, woody perennial plant which has a trunk diameter of at least two (2) inches at breast height.
Wetlands shall mean lands which are identified by being inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do or would support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. The definition includes all contiguous and non-contiguous or isolated wetlands to waters, water bodies, and watercourses. Wetlands include, but are not limited to, swamp hammocks, hardwood hybrid hammocks, riverine cypress, cypress ponds, bayheads, bogs, wet prairies, and freshwater marshes. Dominant wetland vegetation shall be determined as provided in Rule 17-3.022, Florida Administrative Code. In circumstances where the natural boundary of wetland vegetation is unclear, the line of demarcation may be approximated at a surveyed elevation measured at a location in the same wetland where the natural line is clear. In the event an undeveloped area has been recently cleared of all vegetation, the wetland boundary may be determined by a study of the soils, aerial mapping, photography, hydrology, and other historical information as appropriate.
Sec 25-325. Nonconforming Landscaping.
Nonconforming Landscaping. For landscaping that is nonconforming, the following shall apply:
Existing development shall comply with the landscape regulations of Sections 25-327, 25-328 and 25-329 when the floor area of a structure or parking area is increased by twenty-five (25) percent or more.
Where the increase in area of a new structure, an additional structure, parking area or vehicular use area is less than any of the requirements of subsection (1) above, only the new structure, addition, increased parking area or increased vehicular use area shall be buffered in accordance with these provisions.
Nonconforming landscaping shall not be required to be brought into compliance as a result of a natural disaster.
Sec. 25-326. Landscaping Standards.
Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide minimum standards for landscaping, buffering and site clearing within the City of Leesburg. This section shall be implemented so as to promote the preservation of native plant species, to provide for aesthetic landscaping complements to proposed development and to encourage the use of plants that qualify as Florida Friendly Landscaping. The provisions of this section may be cited as the Landscape Code.
General Requirements and Exemptions. It shall be unlawful for any person to clear, develop or increase the developed area of any site or lot unless in compliance with the terms of this Section. No development order or development permit shall be issued unless it complies with these requirements or unless such development is specifically exempted as specified below. The following activities are exempt from the provisions of this Section:
1.Agriculture and Silviculture. So long as the operation qualifies as a bona fide farm operation on land classified as agricultural pursuant to Section 193.461, Florida Statutes, or if such activity is regulated through implemented best management practices, interim measures, or regulations developed through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or a water management district and adopted under Chapter 120, FLORIDA STATUTES under a regional program; or if such activity is expressly regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, an exemption may be granted by the City Manager or his designee for a proposed agricultural exemption activity. However, a surety bond shall be required to guarantee the restoration of the property should a bona fide agricultural exemption not be obtained within eighteen (18) months.