[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Connoquenessing 12-29-2003 by Ord. No. 70. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The standards contained in this chapter are intended to promote the public health, safety and welfare by filtering noise, softening or diverting light and glare, modifying climatic conditions such as wind and heat, reducing stormwater runoff and air pollution and controlling traffic hazards. The standards are also intended to increase the value to the community of new developments by recognizing the role that landscaping plays in overall community appearance and livability. In general, all areas of a site proposed for development shall be landscaped with trees, shrubs, ground covers, grasses and other herbaceous plants, except for those areas which are occupied by buildings, roads, parking lots or other structures or those areas left in their natural state.
Buffer yards shall be provided for all new subdivisions and land developments in accordance with the following standards that are based on improvements to abutting properties:
Buffer yards described.
Buffer yard A: ten-foot depth consisting of a 50/50 mix of evergreen and deciduous trees in a single row on eight-foot centers and shall be a minimum of three inches in caliper (DBH).
Buffer yard B: fifteen-foot depth consisting of a 50/50 mix of evergreen and deciduous trees in staggered rows on ten-foot centers and shall be a minimum of three inches in caliper (DBH).
Buffer yard C: twenty-five-foot depth consisting of a 50/50 mix of evergreen and deciduous trees in staggered rows on ten-foot centers and shall be a minimum of three inches in caliper (DBH).
Buffer yards shall not be required along side or rear property lines where single-family or two-family dwellings abut other single-family or two-family dwellings.
No buffer yard shall be used for the storage of yard debris, leaves or other discarded materials, and no temporary or permanent recreation equipment or storage building shall be situated within a required buffer yard.
Buffer yards shall be required along the entire perimeter of the site, excluding the front yard and the area between the front building line and street right-of-way.
Additional buffer area, adjacent to natural vegetation, may be required by the Board of Supervisors to implement the intent of this chapter.
Landscaping shall be provided for all new subdivisions and land developments in accordance with the following:
At least one deciduous shade tree must be planted for each 1,000 square feet of net floor area in conjunction with any nonresidential development. Street trees, if required, may be counted toward this requirement, but interior parking lot trees shall not be counted.
All trees which are required to be planted as per the regulations of this chapter shall be a minimum of 1 1/2 inch caliper at the time of planting and shall be planted in accordance with accepted conservation practices. They shall be spaced with regard to the ultimate spread of the fully developed canopy, but with the following maximum spacing requirements:
Landscaping in the interior area of parking lots shall be designed to provide visual and climatic relief from large expanses of paving and to channelize and define areas for safe pedestrian and vehicular circulation.
A minimum of 5% of the total area of any parking lot containing 30 spaces or less shall be landscaped, and at least 7% of the total area of any parking lot containing more than 30 parking spaces shall be landscaped. For this requirement, the "total area of any parking lot" includes all parking spaces, lanes, roads or aisles for motorized vehicular traffic.
Groupings of at least one large [ultimate height exceeding 40 feet] shade tree and three shrubs, or one medium shade tree (ultimate height of 25 to 40 feet), one tree (ultimate height not exceeding 25 feet), and three shrubs shall be planted for every 10 parking spaces and shall be disbursed throughout the interior of the parking lot in raised planting islands. In order to insure the survival of the plant material, the minimum planting area for either grouping will be 110 square feet.
All yard areas not utilized for structures, driveways, planting strips or parking facilities must be seeded, sodded or landscaped within a reasonable period of time. The phrase "reasonable period of time" shall be determined on a case-by-case basis and based upon existing weather conditions and forecasts.
A landscaping plan, with detailed drawings, shall be submitted with all land development plans and multifamily subdivision plans and must contain and present the following information:
All required buffer yards with proposed plantings (identifying ground cover and each proposed tree or bush) drawn to scale and identifying the height and width of any proposed mounds.
All required plantings, independent of any buffer yard requirements (identifying ground cover and each tree, shrub, the use of sod or seeding, etc. and whether known to prosper in this area) drawn to scale.
Any planting in excess of the requirements of this chapter.
Any existing trees or vegetation that are to be preserved, accurately identifying their relative location, approximate size and name.
Any existing trees or vegetation that will be removed, accurately identifying their relative location and size.
In some instances, the existing natural topography and vegetation on the site may provide a visual screen, which is at least equivalent to the required buffer yard. These existing natural conditions may fulfill the buffer yard requirements, if in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer or Township Engineer, the following conditions exist:
The minimum required buffer width is met by the existing vegetation or natural conditions.
The area is adequately treed or the existing difference in elevation, existing contours, or existing natural features such as rock outcroppings, stream channels, road rights-of-way, etc. provides an appropriate visual screen.
The Board of Supervisors shall make the final determination whether or not the waiver should be granted to the buffer yard requirements.
All standards and provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the appointed Township Code Enforcement Officer.
A formal enforcement notice shall precede action by the Code Enforcement Officer. Said notice shall contain the following:
Name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the Township intends to take action.
The location of the property in violation.
The specific violation with a description of the requirements that have not been met, citing in each instance the applicable provisions of this chapter.
The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed.
That the recipient of the notice has the right to appeal to the Board of Supervisors within a prescribed period of time in accordance with procedures set forth in this chapter.
That failure to comply with the notice within the time specified, unless extended by appeal to the Board of Supervisors, constitutes a violation, with possible sanctions clearly described.
All appeals from the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be heard by the Township Board of Supervisors, including requested waivers from the standards herein, whose decision may be appealed to the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a Magisterial District Judge, pay a fine of not more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this chapter. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of the determination of the violation by the Magisterial District Judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to seek equitable relief, including injunction, to enforce compliance herewith.