The need to enhance aesthetics, conserve water, and reduce dust, air pollution, noise and erosion has led to another attempt by Lyon County officials to pass a landscape ordinance.
Lyon County Commissioners scrapped a landscape ordinance in August that many industrial and commercial business owners said placed too heavy a burden on them.
On Tuesday, the planning commission voted to approve the new standards, which are far less stringent than the previous ones.
"I'm not willing to spend the next three or four years creating something that we should have accepted and modified as we go," said Commissioner Chuck Davies.
He said he preferred the current proposal, which does not include such minutia as the measuring of the thickness of tree trunks that was included in the last plan.
The new proposed ordinance requires that landscape plans be included in the application process to obtain a building permit. The preliminary plan would have to be filed with the building or planning departments.
The proposal states that between 6 percent and 20 percent of any new commercial, industrial, multi-family or tourist-commercial property must be landscaped. Single-family residential units or residential developments are not covered under this ordinance, though landscaping is required under the county's planned-unit development ordinance.
The landscape ordinance would also apply to any expansion that consists of more than 50 percent of an existing structure, unless exempted by the Lyon County Commission.
Any plan must be certified by a landscape architect or other qualified professional. Any changes to the approved landscape plan must be approved by the planning department.
Landscape plans must include topography, type of watering system and who is responsible for maintenance.
Landscaping must include no more than 40 percent hardscape - concrete rocks or similar materials - and the landscaping must be installed before a certificate of occupancy is issued.
The landscaping can consist of grass, trees, shrubs, hedges, vines or ground cover as well as decorative wood, bark, wood chips, walkways, decks or concrete curbing.
One tree is needed for every 400 square feet of landscaped area, and within parking areas, there must be one tree for every 25 spaces.
Ray Johnson asked county Planning Director Rob Loveberg if he could arrange for a landscape architect to supply drawings as examples of what the landscaping would look like as a percentage of a structure. But Loveberg said that would not give an accurate assessment of landscaping.
"Typically one looks at the site being developed, and not the building or size of structure, because the site drives the need for landscaping," he said.
Commission Chairman Chuck Rogers expressed concern that someone might be just under the percentage required by law, and requested that the ordinance be worded to allow for someone to meet "the intent" of the landscaping ordinance.
"I've spent $20,000 on my landscaping, and I don't meet the requirements of this ordinance," he said. The intent language will be added.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111, ext. 351.
The proposed ordinance does not apply to single-family residential, but would require the following percentages of landscaping for commercial and industrial properties:
• C-1, limited commercial districts: 12 percent
• C-2, general commercial districts: 15 percent
• NR-2, multi-family residential districts: 15 percent
• Industrial districts (M-1 and M-2): 6 percent, which shall include landscaping strips along major street frontages no less than 10 feet in width, regardless of the percentage of the site area involved. Landscaping within retention or detention areas for storm water shall be counted.
• T-C tourist commercial: 20 percent; this shall include landscaping strips along major street frontages no less than 10 feet in width, regardless of the percentage of the site area involved.