Village of Spring Lake, MI
Ottawa County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 7-1-2010 by Ord. No. 319]
A. 
Intent. Landscaping enhances the visual image of the Village, preserves natural features, improves property values, and alleviates the impact of noise, traffic and visual distraction associated with certain uses. Screening is important to protect less intensive uses from the noise, light, traffic, litter and other impacts of more intensive, nonresidential uses. The provisions in this article are intended to set minimum standards for the design and use of landscaping, greenbelts, and screening, and for the protection and enhancement of the Village's environment. More specifically, the intent of these provisions includes, but is not limited to the following:
(1) 
Promote the implementation of the Master Plan;
(2) 
Define, articulate, and integrate outdoor spaces, architectural elements, and various site elements;
(3) 
Improve the appearance of off-street parking areas, vehicular use areas, and property abutting public rights-of-way;
(4) 
Protect and preserve the appearance, character, and value of the residential uses that abut nonresidential areas, parking areas, and other intensive use areas, thereby protecting the public health, safety and welfare, by requiring complementary landscaping treatments and providing transitional areas adjacent to natural areas;
(5) 
Reduce soil erosion and depletion by slowing the effects of erosive winds and water;
(6) 
Increase stormwater retention, thereby helping to prevent flooding;
(7) 
Provide reasonable standards to bring developed sites, which existed prior to the adoption of these standards, into compliance with the requirements contained herein;
(8) 
Recognize and preserve the aesthetic value of natural areas such as woodlands, wetlands and floodplains within and adjacent to a development site; and
(9) 
Encourage the preservation of larger, native trees that, once destroyed, can only be replaced after generations.
B. 
When an application is required.
(1) 
No site plan shall be approved unless it shows landscaping consistent with this section. A separate landscaping plan shall be submitted with all site plans as described in § 390-158 below.
(2) 
All required screens, buffers and landscaping plantings shall be planted in accordance with the approved landscape plan, and a certificate of occupancy shall not be issued until the screen, buffer and landscape planting has been completed in accordance with the approved plan. If a use is ready for occupancy between November 1 and March 31, a temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued, provided a performance guarantee, as regulated in § 390-215, has been provided in an amount equal to the estimated cost of the landscape improvements. In any case, all required landscaping must be complete by June 1 following issuance of the temporary certificate of occupancy.
(3) 
The requirements in this section shall not apply to single-family and two-family detached homes, unless otherwise specifically noted.
(4) 
Landscaping, screening and/or buffering in compliance with this section are required for any use other than single-family and two-family detached homes as follows:
(a) 
For any work for which a site plan or building permit is required for construction of a new building.
(b) 
For any work for which site plan review or a building permit is required for a structural alteration, addition or repair to an existing building where the estimated value of such construction exceeds 100% of the state equalized value (SEV) of the existing building. In such cases where site plan approval or permit is required, the applicant shall be required to meet the requirements of this section for the entire site.
(c) 
Any work for which site plan review or building permit is required where the value of construction is less than 100% of the state equalized value (SEV) of the existing structure, the applicant shall be required to provide landscaping only for the new construction and all areas disturbed during construction.
(d) 
Any new parking lot and any addition of 10 or more spaces to an existing parking lot.
(e) 
Between residential uses and any other use as described in § 390-163, below.
(f) 
For any other section or provision of this chapter which requires the structure or use in question to have landscaping or screening.
(5) 
Creativity in landscape design is encouraged. Accordingly, unless required as part of a screen, required trees and shrubs may be planted at uniform intervals, at random, or in groupings.
(6) 
The requirements of this section are minimum requirements, and under no circumstances shall they preclude the developer and the Village from agreeing to more extensive landscaping.
(7) 
Nothing in this section is intended to discourage the owners of single-family and two-family detached homes from planting additional landscaping and/or adding landscaping features such as rain gardens and other water conservation methods.
Where landscaping is required, a landscape plan shall be provided for review by the Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission. The landscape plan shall demonstrate that all requirements of this section are met and shall, at a minimum, include the following information:
A. 
A scale drawing of the site and proposed development thereon, including the date, name and address of the preparer, parcel lines, parcel area and North arrow. The scale of the drawing shall be not more than one inch equals 20 feet.
B. 
Contour lines at minimum two-foot intervals shall be shown.
C. 
Proposed and existing man-made features, including proposed buildings, structures, parking areas, mechanical equipment and fire hydrants.
D. 
Setback lines and their dimensions.
E. 
Location of existing and proposed driveways and curb cuts.
F. 
Location of existing public and private rights-of-way and easements contiguous to and on the property.
G. 
Calculations verifying compliance with the minimum numeric requirements for greenbelts, buffer zones, parking lot landscaping, berms, screens and other required landscaping. Required trees cannot be double-counted.
H. 
Complete description of plant materials shown on the plan, including common and botanical names, quantities, container or caliper sizes, heights, spread and spacing at installation, proposed location of plantings and other elements to illustrate compliance with the standards of this section.
I. 
Identify grass areas and other methods of ground cover.
J. 
Description of the types of equipment and methods to be used to irrigate the required landscape areas.
K. 
Identify a landscape maintenance program, including a statement that all diseased, damaged or dead materials shall be replaced in accordance with the standards of this section and identifying the individual(s) or business(s) who will be responsible for continued maintenance of the landscaping.
L. 
Location, height, elevation/section and material of proposed screening walls, fencing, retaining walls and berming. Berms are to be delineated by one-foot contours.
M. 
A tree survey establishing the location, species and assessment of the general health and condition of all existing trees on the site with a six-inch or greater diameter at breast height, their approximate height and spread or crown diameter.
N. 
Identify which trees and other landscape elements are to be preserved.
O. 
A detailed description of either written or graphic form, indicating the applicant's plans to protect the existing trees to be preserved from damage during site development and construction such as dripline fencing, tree wells and culverts.
P. 
The Zoning Administrator may permit less information to be shown on the landscape plan based on the scope and scale of the project.
A. 
All areas not covered by buildings, parking or other structures shall be treated with landscape materials including street trees, shrubs and ground covers consistent with these provisions. The selected combination of plant materials shall be a harmonious combination of deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs, vines and/or ground covers arranged so as to present an aesthetically pleasing whole.
B. 
The overall landscape plan shall not contain more than 25% of any one species. The use of trees native to West Michigan, and mixture of trees from the same species association, is encouraged.
C. 
All unpaved areas of the site shall be planted with grass, ground cover, shrubbery, or other suitable live plant materials. A mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees shall be planted on nonresidential parcels at the rate of one tree per 1,000 square feet of any unpaved open area for which specific landscaping requirements do not appear later in this section.
D. 
Where a parkway exists, street trees shall be planted within the parkway along public and private streets in all developments requiring site plan approval. Trees shall be deciduous trees capable of achieving a mature canopy diameter of at least 25 feet and shall comply with the list of suggested trees in this section.
E. 
Landscape areas larger than 1,000 square feet in area and landscape areas within parking lots shall be provided with an underground irrigation system. To encourage sustainable landscape practices and the use of natural water sources, the Planning Commission may approve an acceptable alternative water supply if the applicant/owner can demonstrate the use of drought tolerant varieties and other natural sources of irrigation such as swales and rain gardens. If the alternative irrigation fails to maintain the landscaping in a healthy state, the property owner shall be required to install traditional methods of irrigation sufficient to maintain the plants.
F. 
Fractional plant requirements shall be rounded to the next highest number.
G. 
Landscaping shall be installed such that, when mature, it does not obstruct or obscure traffic signs, fire hydrants, lighting, drainage patterns on the site or adjacent properties, or obstruct vision for safety of ingress and egress, and is subject to the clear vision corner requirements of this chapter.
H. 
All landscaped areas shall be protected by a raised standard or rolled concrete curb, except where landscape islands in parking lots are being utilized as part of a stormwater detention or conveyance system.
I. 
Exposed storage areas, trash receptacles and dumpsters, machinery installations, service areas, loading docks, utility buildings and utility structures such as electrical transformers, air conditioners and similar features shall be screened from view from adjoining streets and properties by a screen of sufficient height to obscure the view of the equipment.
(1) 
Dumpster enclosures shall be sturdy and constructed of quality, long-lasting wood, vinyl or masonry materials. If wood is used it shall be finished and treated as often as necessary to maintain the look of new wood. In no case shall wire or cyclone fencing materials be permitted. The enclosure shall be placed on a concrete pad and shall have opaque gates which compliment the screen materials.
J. 
The Planning Commission, or Village Council, as a condition of site plan approval, special use permit approval or planned unit development approval, may require installation of wrought iron, or material that gives the appearance of wrought iron, fence with brick pier accents, as seen in typical Village developments, or a solid brick wall or hedge, 24 inches in height, along street frontages for new development or substantially redeveloped properties.
K. 
Landscaping shall be installed and maintained in a healthy, neat and orderly appearance, free from refuse, debris and weeds. All unhealthy and dead plant material shall be replaced in the next appropriate planting period.
L. 
The Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission may require a performance guarantee per § 390-215 of this chapter to ensure proper installation and maintenance of all required landscaping.
M. 
The Planning Commission and Village Council may lessen the requirements of this section if site conditions make the strict application of these regulations unreasonable, or may impose additional requirements on landscaping, if such modification would further the intent of this article, provide for sufficient buffering between dissimilar uses and between expanses of parking and rights-of-way, if any existing landscaping meets the intent of this article or if native, drought-tolerant plant materials are used.
N. 
Existing healthy trees located within required setbacks and areas not required for development shall be preserved, and may be counted toward the number of trees required. The Planning Commission may permit the removal of trees six inches or larger from other areas of the site if the tree(s) is replaced with a like specimen elsewhere on the site.
Where screening is required, the screen shall consist of one of the following:
A. 
A solid uniform wall, fence, or evergreen landscape material having a height of at least six feet and sufficiently dense to obscure vision through it. In no case shall wire or cyclone fencing materials be permitted. High-quality, low-maintenance materials, such as brick and vinyl, are strongly recommended. Wood fence may be permitted if it is properly treated as often as necessary to maintain the look of new wood.
B. 
A six-foot-tall berm designed with a maximum slope ratio of three feet horizontal to one foot vertical, with a minimum of a two-foot level area at the top of the berm and with slopes protected with grass, spreading shrubs, vines or other types of natural ground covers.
C. 
A berm may be used in conjunction with a wall, fence or landscape screen to achieve the total of six feet in height.
D. 
Where berms are used, the plan shall depict a typical cross section including the slope, height, and width of the berm and the type of ground cover. Where a wall is used, the landscape plan shall depict typical cross sections of the wall construction and footings.
A. 
Where required, a greenbelt shall be a landscaped strip at least 10 feet in width.
B. 
The greenbelt shall be planted with living plant materials including all of the following:
(1) 
Deciduous or evergreen trees not less than 12 feet in height. Deciduous trees shall be spaced not more than 25 feet apart. Evergreen trees shall be spaced not more than 10 feet apart. One tree is required for every 25 feet of greenbelt length; and
(2) 
At least one row of dense shrubs not less than five feet in height and spaced not more than five feet apart.
A. 
All plant material shall be hardy to Ottawa County, be free of disease and insects and conform to the American Standard for Nursery Stock of the American Association of Nurserymen.
B. 
Deciduous trees shall have a minimum caliper of 2 1/2 inches at time of planting, measured at four feet from grade.
C. 
Evergreen trees shall be a minimum of six feet in height at the time of planting.
D. 
Deciduous ornamental trees shall have a minimum caliper of two inches at time of planting, measured at four feet from grade.
E. 
Deciduous shrubs shall be at least 30 inches in height at time of planting with a minimum spread of 24 inches.
F. 
Spreading evergreen shrubs shall have a minimum height of 24 inches at time of planting with a minimum width of 30 inches.
G. 
Ornamental grasses and perennials shall be a minimum pot size of two gallons when planted.
H. 
The following are suggested plant species. Botanical species native to West Michigan are identified with an asterisk (*). The use of native species is encouraged.
Suggested Plant Species
Canopy trees
Oaks*, Hard Maples*, Hackberry*, Sycamore*/Plane Tree, Birch*, Honey Locust* (thornless varieties), Sweetgum, Hophornbeam*, Linden*, Hickory* and Hornbeam*
Evergreen trees
Fir, Hemlock, Pine* and Spruce
Narrow evergreens
Red Cedar, Arborvitae and Juniper
Ornamental trees
Serviceberry*, Redbud*, Dogwood (tree form)*, Hawthorn*, Flowering Crab, Flowering Pear, Magnolia, and Rose of Sharon
Large shrubs
Northern Bayberry, Dogwood (shrub form)*, Cotoneaster, Forsythia, Mock-Orange, Sumac*, Lilac, Viburnum*, Witchhazel*, Euonymus, Ninebark*, Juniper (Hetz, Pfitzer, Savin), Yew (Pyramidal, Japanese), and Dwarf Mugo Pine
Small shrubs
Bayberry, Quince, Boxwood, Cotoneaster, Euonymus*, Forsythia, Hydrangea, Holly*, Privet, Potentilla*, Currant, Lilac, Viburnum* and Weigela
I. 
The following trees are not permitted as they split easily; their wood is brittle and breaks easily; their roots clog drains and sewers; and they are unusually susceptible to disease or insect pests. Existing trees of these species may not be counted toward the required number of trees for the development and need not be preserved on the development site. The developer may remove plants of these species from the site.
Prohibited Varieties
Common Name
Botanical Name
Box Elder
Acer Negundo
Tree of Heaven
Ailanthus
Ginkgo
Ginkgo Biloba
Ash
Fraxinus
Honey Locust (with thorns)
Gleditsia Triacanthos (with thorns)
Eastern Cottonwood
Populus Deltoids
Mulberry
Morus species
Black Locust
Robinia species
Catalpa
Catalpa species
Chinese Elm
Ulmus Parvifola
Silver Maple
Acer Saccharinum
Willow
Salix species
The following chart defines site landscaping for front, side and rear yards for each zoning district. In addition, Article XIV, Eastern Entryway District (EED),and Article XXV, Special Land Uses, contain additional landscape regulations.
Required Landscaping for Side and Rear Yards
Zoning District
Adjacent to
Required Landscape Elements
Location
Additional Requirements
Industrial
All residential zones and uses
Greenbelt4 and screen2
Along the side and rear property lines with the screen located on the inner edge of the greenbelt
Industrial
All other zoning districts except Industrial
Greenbelt4
Along the side and rear property lines
Industrial
Industrial Zone
Greenbelt4
Along the side and rear property lines
Multiple-family dwelling uses in the MFR-A and MFR-B
SFR-A, SFR-B and one- or two- family uses
Screen2 or greenbelt1,4
Along the side and rear property line
Multiple-family dwelling uses in the MFR-A and MFR-B
All other zoning districts
Greenbelt4
Along the side and rear property lines
C, CBD, CBD-1, EED, O and P
All zoning districts
Screen2 or greenbelt1,4
Along the side and rear property lines
C, CBD, CBD-1, O and P
Decorative brick and wrought iron fence or solid hedge1 and a minimum five-foot-wide landscaped area3
Along property lines of all street frontages
Required where parking, loading or storage has been permitted by the Planning Commission in the front yard, and where determined by the Planning Commission
NOTES:
1.
To be determined by the Planning Commission as a condition of site plan approval.
2.
The Planning Commission may require a taller screen based on site conditions.
3.
The landscaped area shall include one tree for every 25 feet and one bush for every five feet of length.
4.
No parking, loading or accessory uses are permitted in the greenbelt.
In addition to the site landscaping required in § 390-163 above, any off-street parking area containing 10 or more parking spaces shall be landscaped according to the following requirements:
A. 
In the case of a shared parking lot, screening and greenbelts shall not be required along the common property line.
B. 
The interior portion of the parking lot shall contain landscaped areas consisting of one square foot of landscaped area for every 12.5 square feet of pavement, or fraction thereof, and one deciduous tree for every 100 square feet, or portion thereof, of landscaped area provided.
C. 
Each landscaped area shall have a minimum of one tree. In addition to the tree, each landscaped area shall be covered with living vegetative materials such as shrubs, grasses, and flowers, and may include no more than twenty-percent natural mulch materials. The use of washed rock ground cover is prohibited.
D. 
At least 25% of the deciduous trees within the landscape areas shall be canopy trees.
E. 
The minimum size of each landscaped area shall be 100 square feet, with a minimum width of five feet.
F. 
The landscaped areas shall be dispersed throughout the parking lot in order to break up and soften large expanses of impervious surface and to define access and circulation patterns.
G. 
Sizes of plant materials at installation shall comply with the minimum landscape material standards in § 390-162.
H. 
The Planning Commission may permit the required landscape areas to be combined into larger areas if they find that the resulting landscape area is of a higher quality and meets the intent of this article to visually enhance the parking lot.