City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Street trees are required to be added and/or replaced per the requirements of the City Forester as outlined in Chapter 554, Shade Trees, for all land development activities.
Landscaping requirements shall be in accordance with the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, § 520-32.
Tree replacement standards shall be in accordance with the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, § 520-33.
A. 
The purpose of the buffering standards is to create an acceptable transition between potentially incompatible land uses and to reduce conflicts between uses.
(1) 
Buffer areas required. In order to protect existing land uses from proposed uses of an incompatible character, buffer areas are hereby required, as set forth below. A buffer area consists of a combination of plantings and/or fencing which screens or blocks vision, noise, pollutants or other negative by-products associated with incongruous activities on adjacent properties. Required buffers shall be the responsibility of the new or changed use. The extent of buffering required shall be determined by the type of use proposed and the adjacent uses surrounding the proposed use and subject to the review and approval of the Zoning Administrator.
(2) 
Existing vegetation. All existing deciduous and coniferous trees larger than two inches in caliper and/or six feet in height may be considered to contribute to the required buffer yard. Existing plant material of the above caliper and/or height shall be preserved in any required buffer area except where clearance is required to ensure adequate sight distance at intersections and driveways.
(3) 
Buffer area use and maintenance. Buffer areas may be included as part of required front, side or rear yards. All buffer areas shall be maintained and kept clean of all debris and rubbish.
(4) 
Plant health and death. All plant material used in buffer areas shall be alive and healthy and shall further meet all the requirements of the American Association of Nurserymen. Any plant material that dies shall be replaced immediately.
(5) 
Applicability. In addition to the landscaping requirements of §§ 520-32 and 520-33, buffer areas shall be located between potentially conflicting uses. Visual screening, consisting of the indicated Class A, B, C or D buffer, shall be required between the following uses:
(a) 
Any retail or office use adjacent to any single-family detached or semidetached dwellings shall provide a Class A buffer.
(b) 
Any industrial use, except as noted below, that adjoins any residential use shall provide a Class B buffer.
(c) 
Any industrial use with greater than 50,000 square feet of gross floor area or industrial park adjacent to any residential use shall provide a Class C buffer.
(d) 
A junkyard, open-air storage area, landfill, recycling center, or transfer station shall provide a Class D buffer between the required fence and the street line or any edge of the property adjacent to a residential use.
(e) 
Other uses determined to be potentially conflicting shall provide the buffer class specified by the City Planning Commission.
(6) 
Buffer class standards. After determining the required buffer class, the applicant shall select an appropriate planting option listed below. Plantings are not required to be aligned on property or right-of-way boundaries but may be sited as necessary to achieve the optimal screening level. Plant materials shall be selected from the plant materials list.
(a) 
Class A: One canopy tree of a minimum of two-inch caliper per 40 feet of buffer length, plus one flowering tree of a minimum of two-inch caliper per 60 feet of buffer length, plus one evergreen of a minimum of four feet in height per 60 feet of boundary.
(b) 
Class B: One evergreen of a minimum of four feet in height per 20 feet of buffer length, and one flowering tree per 60 feet of boundary.
(c) 
Class C:
[1] 
One evergreen of a minimum of four feet in height per 25 feet of buffer length, plus one berm four feet high; or
[2] 
Six-foot-high fencing or walls, plus one flowering tree of a minimum of two-inch caliper or evergreen tree of a minimum of four feet in height every 30 feet of buffer length.
(d) 
Class D: Six-foot-high fencing or walls, plus one canopy tree of a minimum of two-inch caliper at an average of one tree per 40 linear feet, plus one evergreen tree at an average of one tree per 20 linear feet of buffer.
(7) 
Plant materials.
(a) 
Refer to Appendix B of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, Chapter 520 of the Code of the City of Easton.
(8) 
Fence, hedge and wall regulations.
(a) 
Fences in residential districts shall be constructed of materials which do not detract from the general neighborhood.
(b) 
Fences, hedges or walls which are located on property lines shall not exceed six feet in height. Fences, hedges or walls which are set back from property lines may be increased in height at a ratio of one foot additional height for every two feet of additional setback. In no case shall any fence, wall or hedge exceed 10 feet in height.
(c) 
Retaining walls which are used as landscaping features shall be considered fences and shall be subject to the same height limitations.
(d) 
Fences and retaining walls:
[1] 
Shall not be constructed using barbed wire, razor wire, electric fencing, or broken glass;
[2] 
Shall be constructed of durable materials; and
[3] 
Plans for such construction shall be approved by the appropriate official.
(9) 
General buffering requirements.
(a) 
All buffer yards shall be maintained and kept clean of all debris, rubbish, weeds and tall grass.
(b) 
All planting in the buffer area shall be installed and thereafter maintained by the property owner.
(c) 
Plant materials required within the buffer area shall be assured by a performance guarantee posted with the City in an amount equal to the estimated cost of the plant materials. Such guarantee shall be released only after the passage of the second growing season following planting.
(d) 
No manufacturing or processing activity or storage of materials shall be permitted within the buffer area.
(e) 
No structures may be placed within the buffer area, except for the following:
[1] 
Berms, fences or walls which aid in screening and do not conflict with the character of adjoining properties nor block clear sight required at intersections.
[2] 
Structures relating to and used for landscaping, such as tree wells, tree guards, tree grates and retaining walls, to preserve stands or specimens or existing trees or used for other functional purposes.
[3] 
Streets which provide direct ingress/egress for the lot, including appurtenant structures within street rights-of-way, such as curbs, sidewalks, signs, lighting standards, or benches.
[4] 
Underground utilities.
(f) 
No buffer plants or structures in excess of two feet in height shall be erected in any sight triangle area.
(10) 
Plan review. Prior to issuance of a zoning permit, complete plans showing the location of all adjacent property lines and uses, all buffer areas, and the placement, species and size of all plant materials, fences or walls within those areas shall be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator, City Engineer, and/or City Forester to ensure compliance with the standards of this article and Chapter 554, Shade Trees.