Township of Easttown, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 274-36 Applicability.

The requirements of this article shall apply to all proposed subdivisions, land developments or lot improvements regulated by Chapter 455, Zoning. The requirements and standards prescribed herein shall be considered the minimum requirements and standards for all landscape plans. All portions of a property not covered by buildings or paved surfaces shall be landscaped utilizing combinations of existing vegetation, trees, shrubs, lawns, ground cover and mulch in accordance with this article. Landscaping and its maintenance should help preserve the resources of Easttown Township by utilizing such methods as specifying native plants, xeriscaping (using drought-tolerant plants), using drip irrigation systems and sustainable materials.

§ 274-37 General landscape provisions.

All proposed landscape material shall conform to the following standards:
A. 
Nursery-grown plant material shall conform to those listed in the "American Standard for Nursery Stock," ANSI Z60.1, current edition, published by the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA).
(1) 
Deciduous trees shall have a minimum caliper of three to 3.5 inches, measured at a point six inches above finished grade.
(2) 
Single-stemmed ornamental and understory trees shall have a minimum caliper of two inches, measured at a point six inches above finished grade, and a minimum height of eight feet. Multi-stemmed trees shall have a minimum height of eight feet. Multiple-stemmed trees should be identified as such in the plant list and shall be counted as one tree.
(3) 
Evergreen trees shall have a minimum height of eight feet.
(4) 
Shrubs utilized for buffering and screening purposes shall be a minimum of 24 inches in height.
(5) 
Shrubs proposed in other areas of the site, including parking lot islands and foundation plantings, shall be a minimum of 18 inches in height or spread, depending on normal growth characteristics of the species.
(6) 
Ground covers, perennials and annuals shall be appropriate to type.
B. 
Plant materials selected shall be suitable to the site's microclimate, be appropriate for the intended function, be proportional to site features, reflect natural landscape characteristics existing prior to site disturbance, promote diverse natural plant associations and minimize the amount of maintenance required. To promote diversity, no more than 30% of any plant type (e.g., trees, shrubs) shall be of one species. Requirements for minimum percentages of native plant material are included within each section herein.
C. 
Plants that interfere with the function of utilities, compromise safety, obstruct views in clear sight triangles, are easily susceptible to disease or pest infestations, or are aggressively invasive in nature shall be avoided.
D. 
Plant materials shall be spaced appropriate to their species and function in the landscape. Trees shall be offset a minimum of 15 feet from overhead utility lines, light poles, traffic signs and fire hydrants, 10 feet from underground utility lines and, where possible, five feet from sidewalks and driveways.

§ 274-38 Plan requirements.

A. 
Landscape plans shall be submitted at the time of preliminary and final plan applications and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The signature and seal of the registered landscape architect who prepared the plans.
(2) 
Approximate finished grades and drainage patterns of topography after project construction.
(3) 
Description of existing vegetation conditions on the lot and measures to be taken to protect such vegetation during and following construction, as described in § 274-29 of this chapter.
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
(4) 
Proposed locations and description of plant materials and other landscape materials or elements to be installed at the project.
(5) 
A plant list, which shall include the quantity, botanical and common names of the plants, their size at installation, and the method of root containment.
(6) 
Charts indicating compliance with the requirements of this article.
(7) 
Standard specifications for installation, including a guarantee note and planting distances from utilities.
(8) 
A note indicating that shrubs shall be placed in continuous mulched beds.
(9) 
Details for landscape installation, including any specialty features.
(10) 
Irrigation system layout and pipe sizing, if applicable.
(11) 
Berm contours, referenced to existing and proposed grades, if applicable.
B. 
The landscape design shall reflect the following considerations:
(1) 
The definition of spaces within the proposed development, e.g., by creating enclosures, open areas and landmarks. Particular attention shall be given to creating privacy for individual residences by the creative use of plants and structural materials harmonious with the overall architectural theme of the proposed development.
(2) 
The provision of landscaping to help improve human comfort and to serve as a means of energy conservation. Measures to be considered shall include the use of plant materials to reduce the chilling effects of strong prevailing winter winds and to provide shade during the hot summer months.
(3) 
The use of landscape structural materials in the construction of fences, walls and other improvements, which are relatively durable and will not present unusual expense in maintenance or replacement.

§ 274-39 Guarantee and maintenance.

A. 
All landscape materials depicted on the approved landscape plan shall be financially secured, guaranteed and maintained for a period of two years following final written acceptance by the Township. The guarantee shall provide for timely removal and replacement of plantings that do not survive. This guarantee shall be applicable to existing plant material that is contributing to the minimum planting requirements stated herein. The Township at its discretion may require a bond or other similar escrow to enforce the guarantee and require the applicant to pay for the services of the Township landscape architect to monitor and report on that compliance to the Township.
B. 
All landscape improvements shall be installed and continuously maintained by accepted practices as recognized by the American Nursery and Landscape Association. Planting and maintenance of vegetation shall include, as appropriate, but not necessarily be limited to provisions for surface mulch, guy wires and stakes, irrigation, fertilization, insect and disease control, pruning, mulching, weeding and watering.

§ 274-40 Credit for existing preserved plant material.

Where preserved, existing trees and shrubs that lie within a required planting area, e.g., in a buffer yard, or along a right-of-way may be credited toward the minimum planting requirement, subject to the following criteria:
A. 
The plants must be of reasonable health and character.
B. 
Shade trees must be capable of reaching a mature height of 30 feet and width of 15 feet.
C. 
Plant material being considered for credit must be located in the area of the required landscape plantings for that improvement (e.g., existing, preserved vegetation within buffer yards may be credited toward that landscape requirement. However, any existing trees in excess of the buffer requirement may not be credited toward interior parking lot planting because they do not lie within the parking lot area).
D. 
Vegetation shall be considered preserved when the plans provide for a minimum of 75% of the ground area within the dripline of the tree to be maintained at the existing grade level and covered in a pervious surface.
E. 
Existing plants found to be in poor health or lacking normal growth habits during the two-year guarantee period shall be replaced with nursery-grown plant material, capable of meeting the minimum requirements toward which the existing material was credited. Plants with 50% or more dead vegetation or wood are considered dead and require replacement. Replacement plants are subject to the two-year guarantee. A note to this effect shall be placed on the plans.

§ 274-41 Buffer planting.

Buffer yards shall be provided as required in § 274-34 and planted in accordance with the following standards:
A. 
The following is the minimum amount of plant material required per 100 linear feet of unvegetated buffer length for each buffer type and plant category. The standard shall be prorated for portions of buffers less than 100 feet in length.
(1) 
Screen buffers: two shade trees; eight evergreen trees; and 25 shrubs.
(a) 
Screen buffers shall be designed to minimize all adverse impacts that the proposed development may have on the adjacent land use.
(b) 
Screen buffers shall be provided along the right-of-way of the higher street classification on a reverse frontage lot.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(1)(c), Example, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14.
(2) 
Perimeter buffers: three shade trees; three evergreen trees; and 15 shrubs.
(a) 
The shade tree component may be eliminated along street rights-of-way, subject to the street tree planting requirement.
(b) 
The evergreen tree requirement may be eliminated along rights-of-way in the PBO, VB, VT and VR Zoning Districts and when parking lot screening, in accordance with § 274-43, is provided.
[Amended 8-19-2013 by Ord. No. 417-13]
(c) 
Perimeter buffer plantings may be grouped or clustered to provide views of project identification signs or prominent site features; however, no more than 100 feet shall be permitted between any two plants.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(2)(d), Example, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14.
B. 
Buffer plantings may be placed anywhere within the required buffer yard, except that no plant may be placed within three feet of a property line. Naturalistic placement and vertical layering of plant material is encouraged. Buffers shall be designed to complement and integrate with existing buffer plantings and natural areas on adjacent properties. Buffer plantings may be increased at the discretion of the landowner of the proposed development.
C. 
Preserved, existing plant material may be counted toward satisfying the minimum buffer requirements for that portion of the buffer in which they are present. The quantity of required buffer plants shall not be reduced by the quantity of existing plants within the vegetated length of the buffer. To be considered as buffer material, the existing vegetation must be of reasonable health and character, woody, noninvasive, and collectively able to meet the desired buffer intensity level. Supplemental plant material shall be required where the existing vegetation is lacking. For example, if the existing vegetation is comprised of deciduous trees and shrubs, then the evergreen tree element must be provided.
D. 
A minimum of 60% of the required buffer plant material shall be native to the region.
E. 
To encourage diversity in design, and to accommodate changes in availability of plant material, shade trees may be substituted at the rate of two ornamental or understory trees per shade tree, for up to 50% of the shade tree requirement.
F. 
Shrubs shall consist of a mixture of evergreen and deciduous types, according to site conditions. Shrub plantings that provide a mixture of mature heights and four seasons of interest are encouraged. Shrubs shall be clustered and placed in continuous mulched beds.
G. 
Earthen berms shall be provided as an integral component of buffers, where topographic conditions permit their construction. Other nonvegetative elements, such as fences, walls and garden features, as determined by the Township landscape architect, may be used in conjunction with required plantings and berms to enhance the buffer's functionality or to improve the site's security or aesthetics. Nonvegetative elements shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) 
They shall not impede stormwater runoff, nor divert it off site, nor interfere with natural drainage patterns.
(2) 
They shall be placed outside of clear sight triangles and shall not impair the function of utilities.
(3) 
Earthen berms shall average from three to five feet in height, with side slopes not exceeding 25%. They shall be placed in a manner that is complementary to the surrounding environment, generally undulating within the buffer width.
H. 
If walls or fences are placed along the property line, the finished side shall face outward. Gates may be needed to facilitate maintenance or access. If these features are set within the buffer yard, plant material should be placed on both sides to break up their linear appearance.
I. 
Landscape features, such as gazebos, flagpoles or water features, may be placed within the buffer yards, so long as the intensity of screening is not compromised by these features.
J. 
The remainder of the buffer area shall be covered with grass, ground covers, mulch or other pervious surfaces suitable to the level of anticipated stormwater runoff and appropriate erosion control.
K. 
Plant material shall conform to the standards of § 274-37. Plant material that may become a nuisance to neighboring properties or that will threaten the ecological balance of adjacent woodlands and natural areas shall be avoided.
L. 
All elements within buffer areas are to be perpetually, continually and regularly maintained by the property owner. A note to this effect shall be placed on the plans.

§ 274-42 Street trees.

A. 
Street trees shall be provided along existing and proposed streets and driveways as follows:
(1) 
Along both sides of all proposed public and private streets that lie within any proposed subdivision or land development;
(2) 
Along any existing street right-of-way line that abuts the site, including streets proposed for extension or widening into the site;
(3) 
Along access driveways serving five or more residential units or two or more nonresidential properties.
B. 
Street trees are in addition to other required plantings, such as screen buffer, parking lot and compensatory plantings.
C. 
Street trees shall be provided at a ratio of at least one tree per 50 linear feet, or fraction thereof, of right-of-way line or cartway edge. In the case of cul-de-sac streets, the measurement is taken around the outside of the bulb. The widths of driveway cuts shall not be excluded from the total measurement.
D. 
The trees may be arranged either formally or informally, as best suits the character of the development and the surrounding streetscape.
(1) 
In a formal arrangement, the trees shall be arranged so they are relatively evenly spaced. They shall be staggered on opposite sides of the street, so that a tree is located approximately every 25 linear feet, as measured along the center line of the street.
(2) 
In an informal arrangement, the trees may be clustered in groups along the length of the right-of-way. The groupings should be staggered on opposite sides of the street, so that the entire street may benefit from their shade. The setback distance from the right-of-way line should be staggered from two feet to 10 feet. Trees within the clusters should be spaced no closer than 20 feet apart, to allow for canopy development. The maximum distance between clusters of street trees on the same side of the street shall be no greater than 100 feet.
(3) 
Other alternate arrangements, meeting the intent of this chapter, may be approved by the Board of Supervisors in appropriate consultation with the Planning Commission.
E. 
The trees shall be placed a minimum of two feet outside of the existing or proposed right-of-way line. Where a right-of-way line is not proposed, the trees shall be placed a minimum of five feet away from the edge of the cartway. Street trees shall not be placed within clear sight triangles. See Article XII of this chapter for additional planting requirements for street trees within the Village of Berwyn District.
F. 
Street trees shall be limbed up to a height of six feet above grade. This shall be noted on the plant list and in the planting notes or specifications.
G. 
Plant material shall conform to the standards of § 274-37.
H. 
To control problems associated with monoculture, a variety of trees shall be used in each street tree planting. Generally, no more than 20 trees of a single species should be placed in a planting arrangement. Changes in species should occur at street intersections, changes in horizontal alignment, or at natural interruptions, such as a stream crossing. Fifty percent of the proposed street tree species shall be native to the region. Tree species that are tolerant of pollution, salt and soil compaction are preferable. Long-lived tree species and those that do not drop nuisance or hazardous fruits and seedpods are preferable.
I. 
When existing preserved trees are utilized to satisfy part of the street tree requirement, the total length of right-of-way or cartway subject to calculation may be reduced by the length of right-of-way containing existing trees meeting these requirements. The quantity of required street trees shall not be reduced by the quantity of existing trees within the vegetated length of right-of-way.

§ 274-43 Parking areas.

All parking lots and vehicle storage areas accommodating five or more vehicles shall be designed and effectively landscaped with trees and shrubs to provide shade, mitigate the temperatures of paved areas and break up large expanses of pavement, in accordance with the following:
A. 
Landscaped areas totaling not less than 10% of the area within the proposed parking lot shall be provided as raised planting islands and be continually maintained. The area within the proposed parking lot shall be defined to include access aisles, landscape islands and parking spaces or storage areas suitable for parking. Driveways, stacking lanes for drive-through businesses and gasoline service areas, where no parking is proposed, shall not be included in this calculation. Perimeter planting strips shall not be considered as part of the required interior parking lot landscaping; however, planting islands abutting the perimeter of the parking lot shall be considered.
B. 
A raised planting island, a minimum of 10 feet in width and the length of the parking stall, shall be spaced not more than every 15 parking stalls and at the ends of rows of parking stalls. Interior islands shall be placed opposite each other in adjacent rows of parking to reduce the number of raised islands and to increase the area available for tree roots.
C. 
Additional raised planting islands shall be provided as necessary to guide vehicle movement, to separate rows or parking spaces, and to provide adequate space for plant growth, pedestrian circulation, and vehicle overhang. Curbs of such islands shall be designed so as to facilitate surface drainage.
D. 
Shade trees shall be provided within the required islands and adjacent to the parking lot or vehicle storage area at a ratio of one tree per 10 parking spaces. When adjacent to parking stalls and pedestrian use areas, the trees shall be limbed up to a height of six feet above grade. This shall be noted on the plant list and in the planting notes or specifications.
E. 
A minimum of 30% of the proposed shade trees shall be native to the region.
F. 
To encourage diversity in design, and to accommodate changes in availability of plant material, shade trees may be substituted at the rate of two ornamental or understory trees per shade tree, for up to 50% of the shade tree requirement.
G. 
At least 50% of the total planting island area shall be covered by mulched planting beds, containing a variety of shrubs and ground cover plantings. The remaining area within the planting islands may be covered by lawn grass. Unplanted mulch beds are not permitted.
H. 
The plantings within the islands, where clear visibility must be maintained, shall grow lower than, or be maintained at, a maximum height of 30 inches. A note to this effect shall be placed on the plans. Plantings in divider islands or along the perimeter, where visibility is not compromised, may grow taller.
I. 
Plant material shall conform to the standards of § 274-37. They are encouraged to be of species resistant to road deicing salts.
J. 
Parking lot plantings are in addition to other plantings required by this chapter. Where it can be demonstrated that proposed buffer plantings, required by § 274-41 of this article, will screen proposed parking lots to the standards of this section, this requirement may be partially or completely waived by the Board of Supervisors.
K. 
Except within the Village Business District (VB), Village Transition District (VT) and Village Residential District (VR), the following regulations shall apply:
[Amended 8-19-2013 by Ord. No. 417-13]
(1) 
The perimeter of parking areas, including access drives and stacking lanes for drive-through businesses and gasoline service, shall be landscaped to soften the feature's appearance, in accordance with the following:
(a) 
A planting strip a minimum of 10 feet in width shall be provided around the perimeter of these features. When the feature abuts a buffer yard required by Chapter 455, Zoning, and where the proposed buffer yard plantings are sufficient to meet the criteria of this section, additional plantings are not required. This should be noted on the plan.
(b) 
The planting strip may contain a variety of plant material capable of providing a continuous screen at a minimum height of 24 inches.
(c) 
The plant material shall be placed a minimum of two feet from the edge of pavement to allow for vehicle overhang and door opening. Required plantings shall be set far enough away from the edge of pavement in areas anticipated for snow removal storage to avoid crushing the plants.
(d) 
Earthen berms may be a component of the perimeter planting strip but shall not reduce the plant material requirement.
L. 
Parking lot screening and greening standards in the VB, VT and VR Districts. In the Village of Berwyn Districts (VB, VT and VR), all parking and loading areas fronting public streets or sidewalks and all parking and loading areas abutting residential districts or uses should abide by the following standards:
[Amended 8-19-2013 by Ord. No. 417-13]
(1) 
A landscaped area should be provided, consisting of an area at least six feet wide located behind the sidewalk.
(2) 
Screening provided for parking and loading areas along public streets and sidewalks should be composed of fences, railings, solid walls, vegetated hedges, or a combination thereof, according to the following standards:
(a) 
Fences and railings should be a minimum of 30 inches and a maximum of 42 inches in height.
(b) 
Fences and railings shall be constructed of metal with a black powder coat finish. Plastic, wood, galvanized steel, chain link, and razor wire are prohibited.
(c) 
Fencing and railing should be a minimum of 70% open.
(d) 
Solid walls should be a minimum of 18 inches and a maximum of 32 inches in height.
(e) 
Walls shall be constructed of brick or stone.
(f) 
Vegetated hedges should be no less than 80% open in the winter months and no more than 32 inches in height.
(3) 
Screening provided for parking and loading areas abutting residential districts or uses should be composed of fences, railings, solid walls, vegetated hedges, or a combination thereof, according to the following standards:
(a) 
Fences and railings should be a minimum of 30 inches. Fences used for screening may be constructed of solid materials and be a maximum of six feet in height.
(b) 
Fences and railings may be constructed of metal, plastic, vinyl, or wood. Galvanized steel, chain link, and razor wire are prohibited.
(c) 
Solid walls should be a minimum of 18 inches and a maximum of 32 inches in height.
(d) 
Walls shall be constructed of brick or stone.
(e) 
Vegetated hedges should be no less than 80% open in the winter months and no more than 32 inches in height.
(4) 
One tree should be provided for each 25 linear feet of parking lot frontage.

§ 274-44 Loading and storage areas; site element screening.

Views of all loading areas, equipment and storage areas or yards, and utilitarian site elements shall be screened or lessened to the greatest extent possible, especially when such areas are proposed within 100 feet of residential properties or face public rights-of-way or patron parking areas.
A. 
The portions of loading areas that are not enclosed within buildings shall be screened by fences, walls, architectural elements and/or evergreen plantings to a minimum height of 10 feet.
B. 
The vehicular use or open end of loading areas shall be screened from public view as close to the edge of pavement as practicable by fences, walls or architectural elements at a minimum height of six feet and/or evergreen plantings provided at a minimum height of 10 feet at planting.
C. 
Site element screens, providing a year-round visual screen, shall be placed around the perimeter of all other utilitarian areas, such as equipment and storage areas or yards, community recreational vehicle parking lots, and the nonaccessible sides of trash enclosures, utility boxes and recreational vehicle storage areas on private property, subject to the following requirements:
(1) 
Site element screens shall be comprised of:
(a) 
Opaque architectural elements, walls or fences, a minimum of six feet in height, softened by plantings; or
(b) 
Evergreen and dense deciduous plant material, capable of reaching a minimum height of six feet and 75% opacity within one year following planting; or
(c) 
Other suitable screening materials, meeting these criteria, with approval from the Board of Supervisors.
(2) 
Screens shall be placed as close to the element being screened as practicable.
(3) 
Screens surrounding fenced equipment or storage yards shall also contain one shade tree per 50 feet, or fraction thereof, of perimeter fencing.
D. 
Plant material shall conform to the standards of § 274-37.
E. 
Where it can be demonstrated that proposed buffer plantings, required by § 274-41 of this article, will adequately screen these areas, this requirement may be partially or completely waived by the Board of Supervisors.

§ 274-45 Stormwater management areas.

Plantings and fencing shall be provided around all stormwater management areas and structures to soften views of these features and visually unite them with the natural or proposed landscape, while providing sufficient access for maintenance, in accordance with the following:
A. 
Naturalistic groupings of a mixed variety of plantings, conforming to the standards of § 274-41A(2), Perimeter buffers, shall be provided along the visible edges of basins, berms and outflow structures as appropriate to the type and/or construction of such features.
B. 
Trees and woody plant materials shall not be located on a constructed or natural berm acting as the impoundment structure of a detention/retention basin. Trees shall be located on the downstream side of an impoundment berm a sufficient distance from the toe of the constructed slope to assure that the toe of the slope is outside the dripline of the species planted at maturity.
C. 
Where possible, outflow structures should be softened by shrubs or perennial plantings.
D. 
Low-maintenance, water purifying, meadow plantings shall be used on the basin floor and, at a minimum, along the inside slopes of the basin. The seed mixture shall contain species appropriate to the anticipated soil moisture content. Additional meadow plantings are encouraged along the outside slopes of proposed basins, especially when such features are proposed adjacent to other natural environmental systems.
E. 
Basins, which have the potential to retain a minimum of 18 inches of water at any given time, shall be completely surrounded by fencing, at least 3 1/2 feet in height, in conjunction with the required plantings. Gates shall be provided at appropriate locations that are large enough to accommodate maintenance vehicle access.

§ 274-46 Unit landscaping.

Foundation plantings shall be provided to soften the architectural facade of each proposed or expanded commercial, industrial, institutional, or apartment building, in accordance with the following:
A. 
Plants shall be provided in the quantities shown below and placed along the sides of the building intended for occupant, public or customer use:
(1) 
For each four dwelling units in an apartment building or continuing care facility:
(a) 
One deciduous tree.
(b) 
One evergreen tree.
(c) 
Twelve shrubs.
(2) 
For each 100 linear feet of wall on commercial or industrial buildings:
(a) 
One deciduous tree.
(b) 
Two evergreen trees.
(c) 
Five shrubs.
(3) 
For each 100 linear feet of wall of institutional buildings or building expansion:
(a) 
Five deciduous trees.
(b) 
Two evergreen trees.
(c) 
Twenty-five shrubs.
B. 
Plants are encouraged to be placed near the buildings or between buildings to create a setting for the building, along blank walls, and in locations where additional landscaping is needed.
C. 
Compliance with this section shall be tabulated in a chart, placed on the plans.
D. 
Plant material shall conform to the standards of § 274-37.