[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Phelps 7-14-2014 by L.L. No. 2-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to:
Require, for any permitted or special use, that a landscaping plan for all sites located within the Town of Phelps, except single- and two-family dwellings, be presented to the Planning Board as part of their site plan review.
Sustain and preserve the rural character of the Town. To that end, require that the natural vegetation be preserved to the maximum extent practicable and require new landscaping use noninvasive plant materials within the Town.
Establish provisions which will help buffer incompatible uses from each other and provide transition zones between different types of uses.
Soften the appearance of structures and to screen undesirable views.
Provide unpaved areas for the absorption of surface waters.
Prevent soil erosion and provide shade.
Conserve and stabilize property values and otherwise facilitate the creation of an attractive and harmonious community.
Relieve the barren appearance of parking areas.
Generally preserve a healthful and pleasant environment for Town residents and visitors.
When development occurs, ensure all disturbed areas are revegetated and landscaped.
Landscape requirements shall be determined by the Planning Board in the course of its review of site plan applications and by the Zoning Board of Appeals in the course of its review of special use permit applications.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AUTOMOTIVE USE AREA
- Except for farms, any portion of a lot used for open off-street parking or for open sales, service or storage areas for motor vehicles or contractors' equipment shall be deemed to be an "automotive use area" and shall be subject to the landscaping requirements of this chapter.
- In reference to a tree, the measurement of the thickness of the trunk, so a two-inch-caliper tree means that the trunk is two inches across. If the trunk of the tree is not perfectly round, a couple of measurements should be taken and an average of those measurements used.
As part of any site plan or special use permit review, the applicant shall include within the application for such review existing major vegetation (trees and shrubs), ground contours, existing watercourses, bodies of water and water features and decorative or man-made features such as fencing and retaining walls and indication of proposed landscaping treatment, including species, sizes and approximate locations.
The particular type of landscape treatment required shall be determined by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals, depending on the application, according to the following major types of treatment:
Visual separation, including earth-mounding and screen planting techniques designed to obscure or soften an unattractive or incompatible view.
Visual setting, including ground cover and plant materials designed to stabilize the landform and provide an appropriate foreground or setting.
Physical separation, including a combination of plant and man-made materials designed to separate distinct land use types or activities.
In the application of this chapter, the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals, depending on the application, shall use the following standards:
Where any commercial, industrial or specially permitted use in any district abuts land in any residential district, a strip of land at least 75 feet in width shall be maintained as an open landscaped area in the front yard, side yards and rear yard which adjoins these other districts. Such dimension may be a part of the required minimum yard dimensions and is not in addition to the minimum yard dimensions.
No landscape feature, including any fence, wall or solid screen planting more than three feet in height, shall be erected, placed or maintained within the required minimum front yard, which obstructs visibility in such a manner as to interfere with the safe movement of vehicular traffic.
Plastic or other types of artificial plantings or vegetation shall not be permitted.
No permanent impervious surfacing shall be located around the base of any tree or shrub which may impede the growth of the tree or shrub.
All planting shown on an approved site plan or special use permit application shall be maintained in a vigorous growing condition, and plants not so maintained shall be replaced with new plants at the beginning of the next growing season. The owner, tenant, and their agent, if any, shall be jointly and severally responsible for the maintenance of all landscaping, which shall be maintained in good condition, so as to present a healthy, neat and orderly appearance and shall be kept free from refuse and debris.
Landscaping shall be installed according to the approved site plan or special use permit required above. Installation shall be completed within six months of the related improvements as defined in the application and shall be a condition of obtaining a permanent certificate of occupancy.
All nonresidential uses must reserve a minimum of 30% of the total lot area in green/open space and landscaping. The Zoning Board of Appeals may modify this requirement through a request for an area variance by the applicant.
The following requirements shall pertain to automotive use areas, parking areas and off-street loading:
In all zoning districts, automotive use areas shall be separated from the street side property line by a vegetated, landscape buffer strip as required by the following:
In all zoning districts, public and private automotive use areas containing more than 10 parking spaces shall have at least one shade tree for each 10 parking spaces or portion thereof. Said trees shall be located within the paved area of the parking lot. Each tree shall be installed within a protected planting island with no less than 100 square feet of soil or permeable surface area per tree or within 10 feet of the pavement area. The trees shall be maintained by the owner and/or lessee of the property and shall not be cut down or otherwise removed when the lot is altered or enlarged. Said trees may be moved to another location on the lot upon the approval of the Planning Board. Trees and their associated planting areas shall be located so as to provide visual relief and to assure safe traffic patterns of internal vehicular and pedestrian circulation.
In all zoning districts, automotive use areas designed for more than 10 cars, a minimum of 5% of the interior of the automotive use area shall be devoted to landscaping. The arrangement and location of the landscaped area shall be dispersed throughout the automotive use area so as to prevent unsightliness and monotony of parked vehicles.
In application of this chapter, the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals, depending upon the application, shall use the following guidelines:
Landscaping required under this chapter is to be installed and maintained in front, side and rear yards as developed and shall take the form of shade trees, deciduous trees, evergreens, shrubs, well-kept grassed areas and ground cover. The Town's site plan review provides under § 115-2F that the "proposed site is properly landscaped." As a guideline, at least one canopy shade tree shall be planted no nearer than 10 feet from any lot line for each 1,250 square feet of required landscaping area, and one deciduous shrub or evergreen shall be planted for each 250 square feet of landscaped area (see Exhibit A for an example). For the purpose of calculating the amount and size of plant material, the applicant will use the square footage contained within the minimum yard dimensions for the Zoning District in which the property is located. In order to meet the purpose and intent as stated above, additional landscaping above and beyond this minimum may be required by the approving body of the Town taking into account such factors as the amount, type, location and scope of the proposed development among other relevant considerations. Alternatively, where significant existing major vegetation is already on the property, the applicant may meet the landscape purpose and intent herein by agreeing to preserve the existing vegetation in a manner acceptable to the approving body of the Town. All such landscaping, along with ground cover or grassed areas, shall be maintained in a healthy growing condition.
Editor's Note: Exhibit A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
Minimum plant size. Unless otherwise specifically stated elsewhere in this chapter, all plant material shall meet the following minimum size standards:
Plant material substitutions. The following plant materials substitutions shall satisfy the requirements of this chapter:
Unique natural areas and open spaces such as streams, ponds, marshes, steeply sloped areas and woodlands shall be preserved wherever possible.
Where existing topography and/or landscaping provides adequate screening, the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals, depending upon the application, may modify the planting and/or buffer requirements.
Consistent with the intent of providing unpaved areas for absorption of surface waters and preventing soil erosion, applicants shall incorporate the stormwater management functions as outlined in Appendix H of the New York State 2010 Stormwater Management Design Manual.