House foundations and tree removals being reviewed
Posted on 02/18/2021
A single-family home under construction showing the foundation. The Planning Commission discussed two ordinances at its Feb. 16 meeting that it plans to revise. The first pertains to the height of exposed foundations on single-family homes and the second involves adding provisions regarding invasive species to the Tree Preservation Ordinance (a general law ordinance), and aligning this language with landscaping requirements in the Zoning Ordinance.

Changes to the first ordinance revise standards for how tall a foundation extends out of the ground, how well the new construction fits the property, and how the foundation is set compared to surrounding structures, among other factors.

The second ordinance is being amended to include a list of invasive species – trees and shrubs from other countries that often crowd out native plants that local fauna depend on for food and shelter. The ordinance amendment will prohibit the use of invasive species to replace trees removed under a Tree Removal permit, among other changes.

“Invasive species are often escapees from landscaping projects, and tend to overtake natural areas such as river corridors or forest understories, significantly diminishing the ecological functioning and quality of natural areas,” noted City Planning Consultant Sally Elmiger.

Changes to the Tree Preservation ordinance also focus on fine-tuning the process taken by the Planning Commission when it reviews tree removals as part of a site plan, subdivision, condominium, or lot split. The Planning Commission also discussed providing educational materials to residents that explain the permit application process and the environmental damage caused by planting invasive species.

The City planner will provide draft language that reflects this discussion for review and comment at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting.