§ 21.42.050. Landscaping standards—Public right-of-way (Parkway)


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  • A. Responsibility. Pursuant to the requirements of this Chapter, the owner of private property adjoining the public right-of-way shall be responsible to plant, install and maintain landscaping in the area between the curb and the private property line for the entire frontage of the property. For any landscaping or paving in the parkway that does not conform or comply with the requirements of this Chapter, the City of Long Beach shall not be responsible for any loss or damage to such landscaping or paving materials in the parkway, such as cast-in-place concrete or paving units set on concrete, associated with street, curb or sidewalk repairs, or any other municipal repair or maintenance function.

    B. Street Trees.

    1. Provision of Trees. One (1) large canopy street tree, of not less than twenty-four inch (24") box size, shall be provided for each twenty-five feet (25') of property line length whenever a new dwelling unit is added to the adjoining property or new development requiring discretionary approval, Site Plan Review, or a fence built under the special fence height provisions. Such street tree shall be of a species approved by the Director of Public Works and shall be provided with root barriers and irrigation according to the specifications of the Director of Public Works.

    2. Exceptions. Street trees shall be spaced from driveways, light standards, intersections, utility poles and street furniture and shall be located only in the prescribed width of parkway as provided in Chapter 14.28 of this Code. An in-lieu fee shall be provided for any tree required in Subsection 21.42.050.B.1 that is not allowed by the provisions of Chapter 14.28. Such fee shall be established by the City Council by resolution and shall only be used for planting street trees in other locations that do comply with these standards. Such fee shall be paid to the Director of Public Works, and shall be based on the actual cost to the Department of Public Works to obtain and plant a tree.

    3. Removal. No street tree shall be removed unless found by the Director of Public Works to be dead, dying, or a public hazard due to damage to curb, gutter, sidewalk or roadway or potential for falling, or for replacement of trees in an approved street tree program. Such approval shall be recorded with the Department of Development Services before the tree is removed.

    C. Parkway Landscaping.

    1. Provision of Landscaping. The area between the sidewalk and the curb and between the sidewalk and the private property line, if any, shall be landscaped primarily with live plant material and maintained in a neat and healthy condition. Nonliving material and decorative elements may be used within the parkway in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter. The owner of private property adjoining the public right-of-way shall be responsible for planting and maintaining such landscaping. Sidewalk width shall be four feet (4') or, if adjoining the curb, five feet (5'), as provided in Chapter 20.36.

    a. Applicability of additional requirements. At the time of new development involving Site Plan Review from the Planning Bureau or when a complete Landscape Plan submittal is required, the Planning Bureau may place additional requirements for parkway landscaping beyond the above, e.g., requiring low to very low water usage plant materials, as defined by WUCOLS, over at least ninety percent (90%) of the total landscaped area.

    2. Live Planting Material. Groundcover of not more than eight inches (8") in height, accent plantings or shrubbery not more than thirty-two inches (32") in height and street trees are the only plant materials allowed in the parkway. The planting of low-water demand and drought-tolerant plant materials shall be encouraged by the City of Long Beach. High-water demand plant material that require, at maturity, one inch (1") or more of irrigation water per week shall be prohibited. Automatic irrigation systems, if installed, shall be maintained so as to conserve water, and shall not cause water to runoff into the sidewalk or street or pond within the parkway.

    3. Nonliving Material. Permeable groundcovers that accept foot traffic, such as decomposed granite, inorganic and organic mulches, and modular paving units set on sand, are the only nonliving materials allowed in the parkway and shall not cover fifty percent (50%) or more of the total parkway area.

    4. Decorative Elements. Decorative stone, wood or other elements that are smooth-surfaced are allowed in the parkway, and shall not project more than eight inches (8") above the surface.

    5. Exceptions. The paving of the parkway shall be prohibited, except as follows:

    a. Rights-of-way subject to major uses for commercial or retail purposes, or abutting a major arterial or regional corridor street as designated in the Transportation Element of the General Plan, may be paved for the full depth of the curb to property line area as determined by the City Engineer and the Director of Development Services;

    b. The paving of the parkway is installed by a public utility, the City of Long Beach or another governmental agency for a public purpose;

    c. The paving of the parkway is for a City-approved driveway;

    d. A paved parkway was approved with the subdivision map for the property; or

    e. A standards variance is approved. Such standards variance shall not require public notice and shall be charged the "mini-variance" fee.

    6. Approval of Paving. If an exception is allowed, the parkway may be paved according to the specification of the Director of Development Services. Prior to paving the parkway, the adjoining property owner must obtain a street improvement permit from the Director of Public Works as provided in Chapter 14.08 of this Code.

    D. Parkway Maintenance and Access.

    1. Maintenance of Landscaping. The owner of private property adjoining the public right-of-way shall be responsible for planting and maintaining parkway landscaping free and clear of refuse, noxious weeds, hazardous materials and plants bearing thorns, stickers or other potentially injurious parts. Plants, mulches and inorganic groundcover materials shall not be allowed to overgrow or spill over the edge of the sidewalk or curb.

    2. Maintenance of Traffic Lines of Sight. For purposes of pedestrian and vehicular safety, all parkway landscaping shall be maintained so as not to interfere with necessary vehicular or pedestrian traffic lines of sight, including views of traffic signage and signals and clear views of vehicles within the roadbed or exiting driveways. Such standards, which include limitations on taller landscape elements within street intersection areas, shall be determined by the City Engineer.

    3. Access through Parkways.

    a. In order to maintain access between the sidewalk and legally parked cars on the curb, a minimum eighteen-inch (18") wide strip or path that accepts foot traffic shall be maintained abutting and parallel to the curb adjacent to legal parking spaces. Additional space may be required as needed at public transit stops at the direction of the City Engineer.

    b. In order to prevent obstructions to public access across parkways, continuous hedge-like plantings shall be prohibited. Single specimen shrubs or groupings of elevated landscape materials, including accent plantings or shrubbery of more than eight inches (8") in height, decorative rock and other elements, shall not extend more than six feet (6') along a parkway as measured parallel to the curb, and must be spaced at least thirty-six inches (36") apart as measured parallel to the curb.

    c. The berming of earth or other landscape materials of more than twelve inches (12") in height above the sidewalk at its highest point, or the creation of a bioswale or depression of more than twelve inches (12") in depth at its lowest point, shall be prohibited.

    d. Fencing of any kind shall be prohibited in parkways, except for curbing of not more than six inches (6") in height intended to contain groundcover material.

(ORD-10-0031, § 6, 2010)