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November 24, 2017, 02:32:35 pm
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Author Topic: New Zoning Code - Landscaping  (Read 1363 times)
dsjeffries
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« on: April 30, 2015, 08:32:21 am »

The new Zoning Code specifically exempts the following from landscaping and screening requirements:


  • a. Agricultural uses;
    b. Public parks and open spaces;
    c. Detached houses and duplexes (existing or proposed);
    d. Reconstruction of any building that was in existence on January 1, 1994 and that is later damaged or destroyed by an act of God,;
    e. Interior remodeling; and
    f. Land for which a landscape plan has been was approved by the planning commission before January 1, 1994, pursuant to its review of a planned unit development or corridor development, provided that the required landscaping is installed in accordance with the approved detailed landscape plan by January 1, 1995;.
    g. Construction of a structure, other than a building, that does not increase the developed area of a lot more that than 30 square feet.
    h. Developed area of a lot if all proposed new buildings and/or additions to buildings contain less floor area than the floor area of existing buildings which remain on the lot after completion of the new construction.
    i. For the purposes of this section, "developed area" means the area of a lot that on January 1, 1994, is covered by a structure, off-street parking or loading areas, or other areas paved with an all-weather material, and "existing buildings" means buildings completed and existing before January 1, 1994.


What types of things are we talking about? Just little things like Street Yard Landscaping, Parking Lot Landscaping, Tree Planting and Preservation, Screening, and Outdoor Lighting.


Most of the exemptions to the landscaping and screening requirements are head-scratchers. How does exempting detached houses, for example, contribute to the goals of the landscaping and screening chapter?


Those goals are:

  • 1. Maintain and enhance the city’s appearance;
    2. Mitigate possible adverse impacts of higher intensity land uses abutting lower intensity land uses;
    3. Reduce the impacts of noise and glare.
    4. Maintain and improve air quality;
    5. Protect water quality in the Arkansas and Verdigris Rivers and reduce the negative impacts of stormwater runoff by reducing impervious surface area and providing vegetated areas that filter and retain greater amounts of stormwater on site;
    6. Moderate heat by providing shade;
    7. Ensure Encourage wise use of water resources;
    8. Encourage preservation and replacement of existing trees and landscaping; and
    9. Encourage greater use of low-impact development practices.


Some more things that trouble me in this section of the zoning code update:
1. Downtown is exempt from any parking lot landscaping requirements including tree plantings.
2. "Any existing or newly planted tree with a diameter at breast height of 6 inches or more is counted as 2 trees for the purpose of determining compliance with the tree planting requirements." Why one tree should count as two is beyond me.
3. Our list of items that require screening only include garbage and recycling collection areas, and mechanical equipment. That's it. It doesn't even include loading docks or truck berths visible from the street.
4. There is no mention of using native shrubs, flowers, grasses or other plantings, which are proven to be more drought resistant and require less watering/irrigation.
5. There is no mention of an urban tree canopy. Even Ft Worth has a defined goal of tree canopy coverage in their zoning code.

While we're at it, let's take a look at how Ft Worth approaches landscaping. Ft Worth's stated purpose of its landscaping requirements actually recognize that landscaping and aesthetics can enhance property values ($$$) and are a part of higher quality development. Plus, native and adaptive plantings which help conserve water are also encouraged. Their code in general is written in simpler, more straight-forward language.


It is the purpose of this Section to preserve the existing natural environment, conserve water, moderate air temperatures, reduce pollution, and filtration of storm water best practices whenever possible and to provide landscape amenities, setbacks and screening with Texas native and adaptive plants. This Section is also intended to promote a positive urban image by promoting quality development, enhancing property values, providing landscape improvements in all parts of the city, and promoting orderly growth and aesthetic quality in the city.

6.302 Urban Forestry - It is the purpose of this section to achieve thirty percent (30%) tree canopy coverage citywide and to promote a multi-aged urban forest. This may be accomplished by addressing the preservation and protection of healthy and significant trees, providing for the replacement and replanting of trees that are removed during development, and establishing additional tree canopy.

Lighting is another area of the new zoning code that needs attention, but I'll defer to the lighting-specific topic for that discussion.

It's sad when Ft Worth Texas is the more progressive city. With all the exemptions in the landscaping and screening chapter, it's almost as if our new motto should be, "Tulsa: Finding ways to do less than the minimum since 1966."

Does anyone know if our city's organizations who care about these things have reviewed the zoning code or made suggestions? Organizations like Up With Trees, Tulsa Community Foundation, Tulsa Beautification Task Force, Land Legacy, etc.?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 09:33:07 am by dsjeffries » Logged

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saintnicster
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 08:45:05 am »

Most of the exemptions to the landscaping and screening requirements are head-scratchers. How does exempting detached houses, for example, contribute to the goals of the landscaping and screening chapter?

It's the same reason that Oklahoma doesn't require yearly inspections on cars - lots of people wouldn't be able to afford it, and need to prioritize food rather than if their lawn looks good.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 08:57:17 am »

But, that wasn't the reason car inspections were discontinued.
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dsjeffries
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2015, 09:26:39 am »

It's the same reason that Oklahoma doesn't require yearly inspections on cars - lots of people wouldn't be able to afford it, and need to prioritize food rather than if their lawn looks good.

We're talking about new home construction here, not retrofitting every house in Tulsa. We should at least ensure that all new construction has better standards. Or any standards at all, for that matter.

And it's more than just making their lawn "look good". Lighting has huge impacts on neighborhoods. More than aesthetics, it's an issue of safety for people walking, cycling or driving cars when residential flood lights shine directly into their eyes. Better lighting can also reduce energy bills.
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 12:57:38 pm »

I don't know if your involved with or have any pull with the Typros, but their representative on the DCC pretty much threw me and any possibility of zoning in the CBD under the bus.

I was in a discussion with Bumgarner about a proposal to allow those who owned property to have some minor zoning applied to that property and was talking about the importance of Pedestrian Friendly this and that.  When towards the end of the conversation the Typro representative said something to the effect of "Well the city owns the street so private businesses can't make a street pedestrian friendly anyway".  My mind almost froze up in shock realizing the whole time she had no idea what I was talking about so she instead backed up Bumgarner and his pals instead of me. There were 4 voting people at this particular committee meeting concerning the zoning proposal, and without her no chance for any zoning support at all, ever, period, from the DCC. Even when it was such a minor, harmless, proposal.  

Convincing us on here isn't going to do anything, unless we write in to the Plani-Tulsa and put our positions out there so they can have that as ammo.

The other thing that can make a difference is convincing enough of the people in positions like the DCC or City Council to go for these things.  Otherwise, the question goes out to them and they vote yay or nay, and what happens happens. All of us rattling on about it on here or to our fiends means little, what really matters is where the decisions are made. And you can ask around to find out who put in the "no landscaping for parking lots in the IDL came from" it wasn't from anyone on here, it was from someone on the DCC (and no it wasn't me).  

So again, if you have any connections with the Typros or anyone else on the DCC, City Council, etc., we gots some edumication and persuadin  to do.

Was flabbergasted when I thought that the Typros were for pedestrian friendly zoning and such to find that the representative they put in place who could actually do something about it, argued against the possibility of allowing property owners the right to apply it to their very own properties!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 01:05:03 pm by TheArtist » Logged

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dsjeffries
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 03:43:15 pm »

I don't know if your involved with or have any pull with the Typros, but their representative on the DCC pretty much threw me and any possibility of zoning in the CBD under the bus.

I was in a discussion with Bumgarner about a proposal to allow those who owned property to have some minor zoning applied to that property and was talking about the importance of Pedestrian Friendly this and that.  When towards the end of the conversation the Typro representative said something to the effect of "Well the city owns the street so private businesses can't make a street pedestrian friendly anyway".  My mind almost froze up in shock realizing the whole time she had no idea what I was talking about so she instead backed up Bumgarner and his pals instead of me. There were 4 voting people at this particular committee meeting concerning the zoning proposal, and without her no chance for any zoning support at all, ever, period, from the DCC. Even when it was such a minor, harmless, proposal.  

Convincing us on here isn't going to do anything, unless we write in to the Plani-Tulsa and put our positions out there so they can have that as ammo.

The other thing that can make a difference is convincing enough of the people in positions like the DCC or City Council to go for these things.  Otherwise, the question goes out to them and they vote yay or nay, and what happens happens. All of us rattling on about it on here or to our fiends means little, what really matters is where the decisions are made. And you can ask around to find out who put in the "no landscaping for parking lots in the IDL came from" it wasn't from anyone on here, it was from someone on the DCC (and no it wasn't me).  

So again, if you have any connections with the Typros or anyone else on the DCC, City Council, etc., we gots some edumication and persuadin  to do.

Was flabbergasted when I thought that the Typros were for pedestrian friendly zoning and such to find that the representative they put in place who could actually do something about it, argued against the possibility of allowing property owners the right to apply it to their very own properties!

That's horrific, but it's not the only example of their uninformed-yet-empowered members accomplishing what amount to Pyrrhic victories.
I'm not involved with them and don't have any pull. I hope we can undo the damage inflicted on the new zoning code by folks who really like our downtown parking lots the way they are: crumbling heaps of heat island generators.
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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2015, 03:45:21 pm »

If they are serious about improving the look of town, there will be prohibitions on Silver Maple and Bradford Pears for landscape trees.

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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2015, 04:56:12 pm »

It's the same reason that Oklahoma doesn't require yearly inspections on cars - lots of people wouldn't be able to afford it, and need to prioritize food rather than if their lawn looks good.

I remember OK car inspections as being discontinued since they were subject to corruption and mostly a joke.  Have bald tires?  Borrow some from a friend long enough to get your car inspected.  I expect we have far more crashes due to driver error than faulty equipment.

Back on thread, what kind of landscaping can one really do with buildings up to the sidewalk?  Maybe a few trees in the sidewalk but not much else would fit.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 04:58:45 pm by Red Arrow » Logged

 
PonderInc
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2015, 06:28:56 pm »

I don't know if your involved with or have any pull with the Typros, but their representative on the DCC pretty much threw me and any possibility of zoning in the CBD under the bus.

I was in a discussion with Bumgarner about a proposal to allow those who owned property to have some minor zoning applied to that property and was talking about the importance of Pedestrian Friendly this and that.  When towards the end of the conversation the Typro representative said something to the effect of "Well the city owns the street so private businesses can't make a street pedestrian friendly anyway".  My mind almost froze up in shock realizing the whole time she had no idea what I was talking about so she instead backed up Bumgarner and his pals instead of me. There were 4 voting people at this particular committee meeting concerning the zoning proposal, and without her no chance for any zoning support at all, ever, period, from the DCC. Even when it was such a minor, harmless, proposal.  

Convincing us on here isn't going to do anything, unless we write in to the Plani-Tulsa and put our positions out there so they can have that as ammo.

The other thing that can make a difference is convincing enough of the people in positions like the DCC or City Council to go for these things.  Otherwise, the question goes out to them and they vote yay or nay, and what happens happens. All of us rattling on about it on here or to our fiends means little, what really matters is where the decisions are made. And you can ask around to find out who put in the "no landscaping for parking lots in the IDL came from" it wasn't from anyone on here, it was from someone on the DCC (and no it wasn't me).  

So again, if you have any connections with the Typros or anyone else on the DCC, City Council, etc., we gots some edumication and persuadin  to do.

Was flabbergasted when I thought that the Typros were for pedestrian friendly zoning and such to find that the representative they put in place who could actually do something about it, argued against the possibility of allowing property owners the right to apply it to their very own properties!
Oh so typical. And sad. They don't have a clue how clueless they are. It would be easier to become educated if they would listen more instead of spending all their energy on self aggrandizement and self promotion.
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