Township of Washington, NJ
Gloucester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
This article is intended to enhance the aesthetic appearance of developments and preserve a sense of place throughout Washington Township. This will be accomplished through the promotion of environmental stewardship via the enhancement, preservation, and protection of the urban forest and vegetation. This objective shall serve to protect the public health, safety, welfare, environment, and aesthetics of Washington Township by:
A. 
Maintaining property values, the quality of life, and lifestyles valued and enjoyed by the community through the preservation of Washington Township's native vegetation;
B. 
Providing visual relief from large expanses of parking areas and reduction of perceived building scale;
C. 
Promoting city beautification and civic identity through diverse and creative landscape designs;
D. 
Contributing to economic development through the maintenance of a regional identity that attracts new business, while promoting business retention;
E. 
Improving air quality through the preservation of mature vegetation that removes carbon monoxide and filters dust and particulates from the air;
F. 
Assisting in climate modification and reducing energy costs through the use of native vegetation to shade buildings, streets, sidewalks, and outdoor areas;
G. 
Reducing heat islands in large impervious areas by providing shade;
H. 
Retaining and reestablishing vegetative features of habitats that are important to biological diversity and native wildlife species;
I. 
Minimizing soil erosion, runoff, and drainage on abutting land through preservation and revegetation with native plants;
J. 
Mitigating the adverse impacts of noise and the appearance of deleterious uses, via buffers and screening.
A. 
The provision of landscaping, in accordance with this article, shall be a condition of a permit issuance for the following types of new development:
(1) 
Single detached, semidetached, duplex and secondary suite housing in the A, B, C, PR-1, PR-2, PR-3, R, O-1, MFH and MUD Zoning Districts;
(2) 
Row housing and apartment housing in the MH, PACC and H Zoning Districts;
(3) 
Any discretionary use in the A, B, C, PR-1, PR-2, PR-3, R, O-1, MFH, MUD, MH, PACC and H Zoning Districts;
(4) 
Any proposed development in Commercial Zoning Districts (NC, HC, O-1, SC, CI, CR and MUD).
(5) 
Any proposed development in Industrial Zoning Districts (C1 and P1);
(6) 
Any proposed development in the Institutional (INS) Zoning District.
B. 
The provision of landscaping, in accordance with this article, shall be a condition of the issuance of a development/building permit related to any existing site or development if the proposed development, as a consequence of the work that is the subject of the development permit, is substantially enlarged or increased in capacity. This section shall not apply to developments that consist solely of interior alterations or improvements or change of use that does not alter the footprint or floor area of the building.
A. 
Applications. In addition to the requirements of Chapter 285, Zoning, every application for proposed development shall include a landscape plan prepared by a certified landscape architect (CLA). The Building Department shall issue no building permit unless such a plan is provided, or unless the Building Department has deemed that a waiver from a landscape plan, or a waiver from particular landscape plan requirements, is appropriate.
B. 
Landscape plan requirements. The landscape plan to be submitted in conjunction with any development application shall be drawn as follows:
(1) 
At a scale of one inch equals 50 feet for a tract up to 40 acres in size; one inch equals 100 feet for a tract between 40 and 150 acres, and one inch equals 200 feet for a tract 150 acres or more.
(2) 
North arrow, date, scale, name of applicant and those who prepared the plan.
(3) 
The block(s) and lot(s) of the proposed development site and properties within a two-hundred-foot radius, as well as the "commonly known as" and/or street address of the proposed project.
(4) 
The property lines, bearings and dimensions of the site, including setback requirements;
(5) 
The location of buildings, parking areas, and landscaping on adjacent sites;
(6) 
All existing and proposed streets, lanes, driveways, and vehicular entrances within a two-hundred-foot radius of the proposed development;
(7) 
Parking lots and curbing, with parking spaces clearly delineated and the total number of parking spaces noted; notification for required barrier-free spaces, with signage and painted stripes on the parking surface, and similar delineation of unloading areas on the parking surface at building entrances, where applicable;
(8) 
Surrounding amenities, including sidewalks, street furniture, decorative fountains, water fountains, public trashcans and light sources (poles, ground fixtures, building-mounted light fixtures and any other sources).
(9) 
Overhead, surface and underground utilities, and limits of easement;
(10) 
The size, height, location and arrangement of all existing and proposed buildings/structures;
(11) 
Building entrances, porches, decks, steps, walkways, hard-landscaping features, lighting, fencing, recreational facilities and garbage collection areas;
(12) 
Existing and proposed contour lines at two-foot intervals inside the tract and within 200 feet of any paved portion of the tract, with arrows indicating direction for site drainage;
(13) 
The location of existing and proposed trees, shrubbery, ground cover, perennials, annuals, seeded and/or sodded areas, mulch, and other soft landscaping elements shall be illustrated on the plan. All plantings shall be differentiated between existing and proposed, and labeled or abbreviated by their common or botanical names. Sizes shall be specified and graphically illustrated by the spread or canopy. Trees to be removed or relocated by the proposed construction with a caliper greater than four inches shall be identified;
(14) 
A corresponding landscaping schedule, list, or key of proposed landscaping, identifying species by common and botanical names, quantity, size (caliper, height, and can), and the method of planting;
(15) 
The method of irrigation, including the size and location of the water supply, sprinkler heads and underground pipes.
(16) 
Existing and/or proposed fire hydrants.
C. 
Building/construction permit. The Planner shall approve the landscape plan as a condition of the permit approval. Any changes to an approved landscape plan require the approval of the Planner prior to landscaping being installed.
D. 
Application and review fees.
(1) 
Applicants that are submitting a landscape plan as part of a development application shall be charged a one-time fee as set forth in Chapter 80, Fees, for the development application, provided that the development plan and landscape plan are submitted together.
(2) 
Review and inspection fees shall be as follows:
(a) 
New commercial and/or new industrial construction: as set forth in Chapter 80, Fees.
(b) 
Residential subdivision, row house, or apartment construction: as set forth in Chapter 80, Fees.
E. 
Waiver of landscape plan requirements. The applicant may be granted a waiver from providing a landscape plan or particular requirements of a landscape plan, provided that the Planner can determine that the information provided is sufficient to show that:
(1) 
The landscaping provisions of this article can be met without the submission of a full landscape plan; or
(2) 
The development is of such a minor nature that a full landscape plan would be unreasonable; or
(3) 
The site is already sufficiently landscaped, and the proposed development or alteration is such that it will have no significant visual or functional impact on the site or its surroundings.
The following specifications shall apply to all proposed plant material:
A. 
Plant material shall be of a species native to the Washington Township region and shall be of a nursery stock free of insects and disease.
B. 
All plant materials shall meet the horticultural standards of the most current edition of the Guide Specifications for Nursery Stock, produced by the American Society of Horticultural Science (ASHS).
C. 
The proportion of deciduous to coniferous trees shall be approximately 50:50;
D. 
The following mix of tree sizes shall be used:
(1) 
Fifty percent of required deciduous trees shall be a minimum of two-inch caliper, and 50% shall be a minimum of three-inch caliper;
(2) 
Seventy-five percent of required coniferous trees shall be a minimum of 10 feet in height, and 25% shall be a minimum of 15 feet in height.
E. 
For street trees, at least two species will be specified that are not sensitive to the same diseases or unexpected climatic changes.
F. 
All shrubs provided for planting shall:
(1) 
Be a minimum of two-gallon size at the time of planting;
(2) 
Be a minimum height or spread of 24 inches.
G. 
Ground cover shall be planted and spaced to result in total coverage of the required landscape area by utilizing:
(1) 
Four-inch pots, at 18 inches on center; or
(2) 
One gallon or greater-sized containers at 24 inches on center.
H. 
Grass may be used as ground cover in landscape areas, provided that the grass area:
(1) 
Is at least five feet wide at the smallest dimension;
(2) 
Constitutes no more than 30% of landscape areas.
I. 
Landscape areas shall be covered with at least two inches of mulch to minimize evaporation.
J. 
The regulations of this article regarding the required plant material and specifications may be waived by the Planner at the request of a qualified landscape professional, such as a horticulturist or landscape architect, acting on behalf of the property owner.
A. 
Property owners, successors, or assignees shall be responsible for the placement and proper maintenance of landscaping on the site. The Planner may require, as a condition of permit approval, the owner to provide a performance and maintenance guaranty in accordance with the provisions of this article.
B. 
Any yard visible from a public roadway, other than a lane, shall be seeded or sodded within 12 consecutive months of the occupancy of the development. Alternative forms of landscaping, including hard decorative pavers, washed gravel, shale or similar treatments, flower beds or cultivated gardens, may be substituted for seeding or sodding, provided that all areas of exposed earth are designed as either flower beds or cultivated gardens.
C. 
Property owners, successors, or assignees shall be responsible for planting and maintenance of the area between the edge of the roadway and their property line.
A. 
Shade and accent trees.
(1) 
In areas where no natural shade exists, and space permits, shade trees will be set a maximum of 30 feet on center along the lot frontage(s) of residential properties, a minimum of 10 feet inside the property line. Where space permits and the Planner and the Township deem appropriate, such trees may be incorporated into the public right-of-way. If the designated property is a corner lot (i.e., a lot adjacent to two intersecting roadways), then both frontages shall be landscaped. A minimum of two species will be specified to prevent total loss in case of disease or other unforeseeable event or condition.
(2) 
Foundation plantings are required around the dwelling unit, row house, or apartment building to provide visual interest and to soften edges, open walls, and building mass.
B. 
Buffers and screening.
(1) 
Where a proposed residential development will abut a preexisting nonresidential use or district, a landscaped buffer is required to safeguard the residents of the proposed development. Where no such buffer exists, the applicant shall provide it. Buffer areas shall conform to the requirements in the Chapter 285, Zoning, Article XXXI, Landscape Buffers. Buffers shall be maintained and kept clear of all debris, rubbish, weeds, and tall grass. No above-surface structure, storage area, parking lot, or other activity shall be permitted in the buffer area, and all buffer areas shall be planted and maintained with grass or ground cover, together with a dense screen of trees, shrubs, or other plant materials, meeting the following requirements:
(a) 
Proposed residential developments abutting existing agricultural or industrial properties or districts shall contain a minimum of a one-hundred-foot landscaped buffer.
(b) 
Proposed residential developments abutting Highway Commercial or General Commercial Districts or uses shall contain a minimum of a fifty-foot landscaped buffer.
(c) 
Proposed residential developments abutting existing railway lines, highways, or other uses having an adverse impact shall contain a minimum of a fifty-foot landscaped buffer.
(d) 
At a minimum, landscaped buffers to mitigate adverse impacts of incompatible uses shall include a double alternating row of trees planted six feet on center. Additional shrubs, plant material, berming, and decorative fencing may be incorporated at the discretion of the Planner.
(2) 
Buffering shall be located around the perimeter of any site which abuts a major highway or railway line. Such buffering shall serve the purpose to minimize headlights of vehicles, noise, and light from structures. Buffering may consist of fencing, evergreens, shrubs, deciduous trees, or combinations thereof to achieve the stated objectives.
(3) 
Unsightly elements, including utility kiosks, utility meters, garbage containers, garbage compounds, storage and loading areas, must be screened from view from on-site residential uses, adjacent properties, streets, walkways, and public open space. Such screen planting shall be maintained to sufficiently obscure the view of such elements from the ground to a height of six feet.
(4) 
Stormwater basin outflow structures shall be made of stone, brick, or other material native to the area of an aesthetic quality to make functionally required elements attractive additions to the overall landscape. Grillwork will be wrought iron or equivalent in appearance, and designed to coordinate with the overall design of the site.
C. 
Parking.
(1) 
Any parking lot having five or more parking spaces that is visible from an adjacent property, street, walkway, or public open space shall have perimeter planting. The location, spacing, thickness, and height of such perimeter planting at maturity shall be sufficient to provide substantial interruption of the view of the parking area from any adjoining Residential or Commercial Zone, and enhance the view of the parking area from any adjacent public roadway or walkway.
(2) 
Each off-street parking area with 10 or more spaces shall have a minimum area of landscaped islands equivalent to one parking space per every 20 parking spaces, with a minimum width of 10 feet, in the form of landscaped islands. One-half of the said islands shall have shrubs and ground cover no higher than three feet and the other 1/2 shall have trees with branches no lower than seven feet. Such islands shall be distributed throughout the parking area in order to break the view of long rows of parked cars in a manner not impairing visibility.
D. 
Lighting. Light poles for street and parking space lighting shall be a maximum of 20 feet in height.
A. 
Shade and accent trees. In areas where no natural shade exists, and space permits, shade trees will be set a maximum of 20 feet on center along the lot frontage(s) of all nonresidential properties, a maximum of 12 feet inside the property line. Where space permits, and the Planner and the Township deem appropriate, such trees may be incorporated into the public right-of-way. If the designated property is a corner lot (i.e., a lot adjacent to two intersecting roadways), then both frontages shall be landscaped.
B. 
Buffers and screening.
(1) 
Where a proposed nonresidential development will abut a preexisting nonresidential use or district, a landscaped buffer is required to safeguard the character of the community. Where no such buffer exists, the applicant shall provide it. Buffers shall be maintained and kept clear of all debris, rubbish, weeds, and tall grass. No above-surface structure, storage area, parking lot, or other activity shall be permitted in the buffer area, and all buffer areas shall be planted and maintained with grass or ground cover, together with a dense screen of trees, shrubs, or other plant materials, meeting the following requirements:
(a) 
Proposed highway-commercial and general commercial developments shall provide a minimum of a fifty-foot landscaped buffer between residential uses and districts.
(b) 
Proposed industrial developments shall provide a minimum of a one-hundred-foot landscaped buffer between residential uses and districts.
(c) 
At a minimum, landscaped buffers to mitigate adverse impacts of incompatible uses shall include a double alternating row of trees planted six feet on center. Additional shrubs, plant material, berming, and decorative fencing may be incorporated at the discretion of the Planner.
(2) 
Unsightly elements, including utility kiosks, utility meters, garbage containers, garbage compounds, and storage and loading areas, should be screened from view from on-site residential uses, adjacent properties, streets, walkways, and public open space. Such screen planting shall be maintained to sufficiently obscure the view of such elements from the ground to a height of six feet.
(3) 
Buffering shall be located around the perimeter of any site that abuts a major highway or railway line. Such buffering shall serve the purpose to minimize headlights of vehicles, noise, and light from structures. Buffering may consist of fencing, evergreens, shrubs, bushes, deciduous trees, or combinations thereof to achieve the stated objectives.
(4) 
If, at the discretion of the Planner, screen planting is unfeasible due to particular site features, alternative screening approaches such as berming, masonry walls, decorative fencing, or other man-made features may be permitted as an alternative.
C. 
Parking.
(1) 
Any parking lot having five or more parking spaces that is visible from an adjacent property, street, walkway, or public open space shall have perimeter planting. The location, spacing, thickness, and height of such perimeter planting at maturity shall be sufficient to provide substantial interruption of the view of the parking area from any adjoining Residential or Commercial Zone and enhance the view of the parking area from any adjacent public roadway or walkway.
(2) 
Each off-street parking area with 10 or more spaces shall have a minimum area of landscaped islands equivalent to one parking space per every 20 parking spaces in the form of landscaped islands. One-half of the said islands shall have shrubs and ground cover no higher than three feet, and the other 1/2 shall have trees with branches no lower than seven feet. Such islands shall be distributed throughout the parking area in order to break the view of long rows of parked cars in a manner not impairing visibility.
(3) 
In addition to the above requirements for parking areas, areas used for overflow parking will be paved with plastic pavers designed to allow plant material to grow in the voids, and such voids will be planted and maintained along with any or all other seeded or sodded areas.
D. 
Lighting. Light poles for street and parking lot lighting shall be a maximum of 20 feet in height.
E. 
Freestanding signs. All proposed freestanding signs will incorporate a mixture of low-lying shrubs and groundcover. Berms may be utilized so long as they do not impede traffic visibility.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 220-32, Tree preservation, was repealed 10-27-2005 by Ord. No. 21-2005. For regulations on tree preservation, see Ch. 254, Art. II, Preservation and Maintenance.
A. 
Guaranty required.
[Amended 5-9-2018 by Ord. No. 6-2018]
(1) 
The Planner may require, as a condition of permit approval, a performance and maintenance guaranty from the property owner to ensure that landscaping is provided and maintained for two years from the time of planting. The following forms of security are acceptable:
(a) 
A cash value equal to 120% of the total landscaping cost;
(b) 
An irrevocable performance bond in the amount of 120% of the landscaping cost.
(2) 
In the case where an approved phase or section of a development is privately owned, the perimeter buffer landscaping guaranty shall be required by the Planner as a condition of permit approval. At the developer's option, a separate performance guaranty may be posted for the privately owned perimeter buffer landscaping. The following forms shall be acceptable:
(a) 
A cash value equal to 120% of the total perimeter buffer landscaping cost;
(b) 
An irrevocable performance bond in the amount of 120% of the perimeter buffer landscaping cost.
B. 
The projected cost of the landscaping improvements and the perimeter buffer landscaping shall be provided by the applicant and based on an approved landscape plan and plantings within the required landscape buffer.
[Amended 5-9-2018 by Ord. No. 6-2018]