Required for a Planning Application.
Required for a Building Permit Application.
for Issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.
Compatibility and Soil Testing.
Coverage and Tree Sizes.
of Existing Trees.
The purpose of this chapter is to enhance the quality of life in San Mateo by
the provision for appropriate design of landscaping and through the
preservation of existing trees. Landscaping shall be a major component of all
site design in order to create a city that has a strong landscaped character.
The intent is that individual neighborhood character be developed and
maintained, architecture be softened by plant materials where appropriate,
conflicting uses be buffered, parking areas be screened, comfortable outdoor
living and walking spaces be created, air pollution be mitigated and future
developments be made water efficient. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
chapter shall apply as a minimum for all projects requiring approval of a
planning application pursuant to Section 27.08.010, except for Single Family
Dwelling Design Review applications. Landscaping not subject to this Chapter
shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 10.52 - Heritage Trees. The
Zoning Administrator may determine that minor additions or changes to existing
property are not reasonably related to the purpose of this chapter and may be
exempt from the requirements of this chapter.
(Ord. 2009-7 § 38, 2009; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
Landscaping. All required front and street side yards shall be landscaped,
except for necessary driveways and walkways. In all other areas landscaping
shall be required except for necessary circulation areas, paved outdoor living
areas or water features.
and Screening. Plantings shall be provided to buffer residential uses from
commercial or industrial uses. Plantings shall also be provided to screen
service and storage areas, parking lots or unsightly areas. Plantings shall be
used where appropriate to control noise, wind, climate and ensure privacy.
Living Areas. Landscaping shall be arranged so as to provide usable outdoor
living areas where appropriate. Plant materials and architectural features
should be used to control noise, sun and wind and provide adequate privacy.
of Required Landscaping. All required landscaping shall include the planting
and maintenance of some combination of trees, groundcover, shrubs, vines,
annuals and lawns. In addition, the combination or design may include natural
or structural features, including but not limited to fountains, reflecting
pools, artwork, screens, walls, and fences.
Landscaping shall be installed and maintained to provide aesthetic quality
while promoting building security.
Requirements. The provisions contained in this chapter are intended to be a
minimum standard. Compatibility with other projects and compliance with
required findings and adopted goals and policies of the City shall be evaluated
through the planning application process. (Ord. 2008-8 § 15, 2008; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:
means live annual vegetation that is normally replaced on a seasonal or yearly
tolerant" means the ability to survive with little or no water other than
available rainfall. Drought tolerant plants include those contained in
publications referred to in Section 27.71.130.
means low growing live perennial vegetation, other than turf, of a species
which is sold as a groundcover or shrub by licensed nurserymen.
A "heritage tree" is any one of the following:
(1) Any bay
(Umbellularia californica), buckeye (Aesculus spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), cedar
(Cedrus ssp.) or redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) tree that has a diameter of ten
(10) inches or more measured at forty-eight (48) inches above natural grade;
(2) A tree or stand of
trees designated by resolution of the City Council to be of special historical
value or of significant community benefit;
(3) A stand of trees,
the nature of which makes each dependent on the others for survival;
(4) Any other tree
with a trunk diameter of sixteen (16) inches or more, measured at forty-eight
(48) inches above natural grade.
or "landscaped area" means an area that consists of living plantings.
unit (LU)" means the unit of measurement for trees which indicates the
worth of each relative to one another and towards satisfying City requirements.
landscaping" means an area consisting of uncultivated native plant growth
and other features of natural terrain such as rock outcroppings, streams or
other areas covered by water.
means annuals, groundcover, turf grass, shrubs or trees.
means live perennial vegetation, greater than an average height of two feet
(2') and maintained below twelve feet (12') in height. Vines shall be
considered as shrubs.
means a live self-supporting woody plant having at least one well defined stem
or trunk and normally attaining a mature height and spread of at least twelve
feet (12'), and having a trunk that may, at maturity, be kept clear of leaves
and branches at least six feet (6') above grade.
means live vegetation of a species normally grown as turf by a nursery and
which is maintained at a height of three inches (3") or less. (Ord.
2009-7 § 39, 2009; Ord. 1997-24, § 9, 1997; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
All landscape areas shall be maintained free of weeds, litter and debris. All
plantings shall be maintained in a healthy growing condition and whenever
necessary, replaced with equivalent plant materials to ensure continued
conformance with approved plans. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
establishment period of three (3) growing season months (March through October)
shall be required for all landscape areas. At the completion of this period
all plant materials shall be in a healthy condition and the landscaped area
shall be maintained free of weeds, litter and debris.
projects with less than 10,000 square feet of landscaped area, proof of a
contract with a licensed landscape contractor to maintain the landscape for the
plant establishment period shall be submitted.
projects with greater than 10,000 square feet of landscape area and for all
residential condominiums, financial securities shall be held by the City as
required in Section 27.71.090 to ensure compliance with the plant establishment
period. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
REQUIRED FOR A PLANNING APPLICATION.
landscape plans must be at a reasonable scale to indicate all types of
improvements. All plans must contain sufficient information to ensure
conformance with the requirements of this chapter and must include but are not
limited to the following information:
arrow and scale;
name of the applicant/owner;
name, address, and phone number of the person or firm responsible for the
preparation of the plans and other required information;
dates the plans are submitted and revised;
existing and proposed buildings and other structures, paved areas, planted
areas, power poles, fire hydrants, light standards, signs, fences, and other
permanent features to be added and/or retained on the site;
existing plant material to remain and to be removed, a tree evaluation schedule
identifying trees as to size, species, the condition of trees to be removed as
determined by an arborist and the existing and proposed replacement LU values;
existing and proposed streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, railroad tracks,
drainage ditches, and other public or semi-public improvements within and
immediately adjacent to the site;
lines, if the slopes are in excess of 10 percent;
and proposed topographic elevations at sufficient locations, to clearly show
the drainage pattern unless this information is provided on a grading plan or
other documents in the planning application;
property lines and easements;
footage of all planted area;
footage of all turf area;
sizes and location of all proposed plant material;
tests as required by the discretion of the Zoning Administrator;
(15) A tree protection
plan consistent with the section 13.52.025(c) of the municipal code.
projects with over 1,000 square feet of new or modified planting areas as
required to meet the provisions of this chapter shall have all landscape plans
and accompanying documents prepared or reviewed and found acceptable by a
licensed landscape architect registered with the State of California. (Ord.
2009-7 § 40, 2009; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
REQUIRED FOR A BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION.
of the required submittals for a planning application;
and depth of mulch indicated on the plan;
irrigation plan accurately drawn to scale that indicates all components of the
irrigation system including sprinklers and other outlets, valves, the backflow
prevention device(s), controller(s), and piping;
required tree preservation fees as required in Section 27.71.180;
projects with less than 10,000 square feet of landscaped area, proof of a
contract with a licensed landscape contractor to maintain the landscape area
for the plant establishment period; and
projects with greater than 10,000 square feet of landscape area, financial
securities as required in Section 27.71.090; and
tests as required in Section 27.71.110. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
FOR USE OR ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY.
to use, final inspection, or the issuance of certificate of occupancy, all
landscaping shall be installed in conformance with the approved plans.
Projects. Incremental landscape installation may be permitted by the Zoning
Administrator when building construction is phased.
Securities. Financial securities shall be required for all projects with over
10,000 sq. ft. of landscape area and for all residential condominiums. On
smaller projects where adverse weather, drought conditions or project phasing
prohibit the installation of landscaping, the Zoning Administrator may allow
financial securities to be submitted to the City in order to allow use or
issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The security shall be in a form which
is legally sufficient to ensure the preservation of trees and the installation
of all approved landscape improvements. Financial securities shall be returned
to the applicant upon completion of the plant establishment period. The City
shall be the beneficiary and the sole determinant of compliance and
completion. A detailed cost estimate of all landscape improvements plus the
value of any existing trees to remain, as determined in Section 27.71.180,
shall be used to determine the amount of security. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
IRRIGATION. All landscaped areas shall be provided with an
automatic irrigation system that is adequate to support the vegetation
selected. Irrigation systems shall be designed and installed so as to limit
runoff and overspray. The Zoning Administrator may determine that, due to the
conditions required by native plantings an automatic irrigation system would
not be necessary, and may approve an alternative method of watering.
Prevention. Backflow prevention device for the irrigation system shall be
located in areas least noticeable from view and shall consist of one of the
pressure-type vacuum breaker located twelve inches (12") above the highest
water outlet or piping downstream;
reduced pressure-type backflow prevention device located twelve inches (12")
above finished grade; or
Atmospheric-type vacuum breakers located downstream from each control valve and
twelve inches (12") above the highest water outlet or piping downstream.
of Zones. Turfgrass, non-drought tolerant plantings and drought tolerant
plantings shall all be irrigated with separate valves.
(c) Low Volume
Water Distribution. Low volume heads and emitters shall be used where site
conditions are appropriate such as on wind protected hillsides. Low volume is
defined as emitting less than 0.75 inches per hour of water.
Moisture Sensor. All irrigation systems with over 20,000 square feet of area
irrigated with spray systems shall contain at least one automatic moisture
sensor device per type of zone (e.g. lawn or groundcover).
(e) Tree and
Shrub Drip System. All trees and shrubs shall be irrigated with a drip or
bubbler system, with the exception of shrubs planted with groundcover, which
may be irrigated with a spray system. (Ord. 1991-7 § 2, 1991; Ord. 1989-34, §
COMPATIBILITY AND SOIL TESTING. The location and
nature of all landscaping shall be compatible with the soil, amendments,
existing plantings to remain and character of the landscaping in the vicinity.
For projects with over 10,000 sq. ft. of landscape area or in areas of
questionable soils such as the foothills or areas of bay fill, soils testing
shall be required. Testing shall be performed by a professional testing
laboratory. Soil shall be amended according to test report recommendations.
(Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
COVERAGE AND TREE SIZES.
Bare Ground. Areas of bare ground or ground covered only by bark or rocks
shall be allowed on site only where required as part of an approved facility,
such as a baseball diamond, vegetable garden, flowerbed, or similar use.
Natural Landscaping. Natural landscaping shall be allowed only in areas where
it is compatible with the surrounding environment.
combined turf and or water area (i.e., pools, ponds and fountains) shall be
limited to 25 percent of the landscaped area for landscapes over 1000 square
level patios, plazas and decks may be included in the total landscaped area for
purposes of figuring the allowable amount of turf. This turf limitation is
excluded for public parks, golf courses, cemeteries and school recreation
narrow strips of turfgrass such as traffic medians and areas between curbs and
sidewalks are prohibited.
on slopes shall be permitted only where slopes do not exceed twenty-five
percent (25%) in grade.
Areas to be planted in annual flowers shall be a maximum of 5 percent of the
total landscaped area unless the plants used are drought tolerant.
Tree Size. All
required trees shall be a minimum size of 15 gallon container at time of installation, except for Heritage tree
replacements, which require a minimum size of 24" box.
shall be planted at a minimum ratio of 1 per 400 square feet of required
landscaped area. The ratio may include existing trees and required street and
parking area trees. In some instances a greater ratio will be necessary to
achieve desired landscaping objectives. Required tree ratio excluded for
public parks, golf courses, cemeteries and school recreation areas.
and shrub massing areas shall be planted in a manner or at the spacings
recommended by the American Association of Nurserymen, to uniformly cover the
proposed groundcover areas within two (2) years and the shrub areas within five
(5) years or a period optimum for the species.
planting. The use of plant materials that promote building security is
encouraged. A list of such materials may be obtained from the planning
division. Perimeter landscaped areas should incorporate thorny plant materials
to discourage persons from cutting through parking areas, trampling vegetation
near ground floor windows, or climbing perimeter fences and walls. (Ord.
2009-7 § 41, 2009; Ord. 2008-8
§ 16, 2008; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
TOLERANT PLANTINGS. Ninety percent (90%) of all plant materials, except
for allowable turf grass and annuals, shall be drought tolerant, as listed by
the California Department of Water Resources in Bulletin 209 (1979 Ed. or
later) entitled, Plants for California Landscapes (A Catalogue of Drought
Tolerant Plants), The East Bay Municipal Utility District, Water Conserving
Plants and Landscapes for the Bay Area, or other plant material which has been
documented as being drought tolerant. The Zoning Administrator may determine
that non-drought tolerant plantings are more appropriate due to surrounding
riparian or heavily shaded conditions, and may approve non-drought tolerant
plants in those areas. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
A 2-inch depth layer of mulch shall be required in all new planting areas
except in areas of turfgrass or annuals. Non-porous material shall not be
placed under the mulch. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
Planting. Fifteen-gallon or larger street trees shall be planted along public
streets in accordance with the City Street Tree Master Plan. Trees shall be
planted at a spacing not to exceed 30 feet except to allow for utilities,
street furnishings and driveways. Trees shall be planted closer than 30 feet
if so recommended by the City Arborist.
Maintenance Easement. Where a planning application requires a parcel or
tentative map, a street tree maintenance easement shall be required if the
street trees are to be located on private property and no such easement
exists. However, it is recommended that even when a parcel or tentative map is
not required or included, an easement be provided to allow the City to maintain
the trees (other than irrigating) on private property. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1,
AREAS. The following requirements shall apply to open parking
areas containing five (5) or more parking spaces.
Whenever a parking area is located adjacent to any residential use or zone and
along all street frontages, a landscape strip shall be provided that is equal
in width to five percent (5%) of the parking lot depth or six feet (6'),
whichever is greater.
of Parking Areas to be Landscaped. At least ten percent (10%) of the open
parking area shall be landscaped. The following shall be considered in
computing the landscape area:
area includes all paved surfaces devoted to on-site circulation and parking;
those landscaped areas within six feet (6') of a parking stall or aisle shall
apply towards meeting the 10% requirement;
to be considered shall include planting areas and required curbing.
All open parking areas shall be effectively screened on each side adjoining or
fronting on any property in a residential zone and along all street frontages.
Screening of adjoining property shall be a minimum of four feet (4') to a
maximum of six feet (6') in height. Screening along street frontages shall be
at least two and one-half feet (2'-6") in height for at least eighty
percent (80%) of its length. Screening shall be accomplished by a wall, fence,
earth berm, densely planted shrub mass or any combination of the above. Where
walls or fences are provided, they shall be located adjacent to the edge of the
parking lots. Screening shall conform with the sight distance requirements
contained in Chapter 7.24 of the San Mateo Municipal Code.
islands and small areas unused for parking or circulation shall be landscaped.
The Zoning Administrator may determine that certain areas for reasons of size,
aesthetics or circulation should not be landscaped and may approve paving in
landscape islands, having a minimum dimension of five feet (5') including curb,
shall be provided after every ten (10) parking spaces in a row to provide for
Trees. For each three (3) parking spaces at least one (1) tree shall be
planted within the parking lot landscaped area in addition to any required
street trees. Existing trees may be included in the required total.
of Planting Areas. All planting areas shall be protected from common vehicular
traffic. For parking lots containing five (5) stalls or more, this requirement
shall be met by a six-inch-high vertical concrete curb. For parking lots
containing less than 5 stalls, this requirement may be met by a concrete wheel
stop in front of each diagonal or perpendicular stall plus a minimum six-inch-high
concrete curb in other areas or approved equal. No trees or shrubs shall be
planted and sprinkler heads shall be kept below curb height within two feet six
inches (2'6") of any curb or wheel stops which front upon parking stalls
or backup areas. (Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
unpaved right-of-way area located between the public street and private
property shall be landscaped in a manner compatible with the required
landscaping on site. Such landscaping shall be permanently maintained by the
property owner in conformance with the approved plans and so as not to create a
safety hazard. Strips of public right-of-way located between the curb and
sidewalks may not be paved but must likewise be landscaped.
(Ord. 2009-7 § 42, 2009; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).
OF EXISTING TREES.
of Existing Trees. Trees over six inches (6") in caliper shall be
evaluated on the basis of species, size, condition, location and classification
as a heritage tree.
Submittals. To evaluate the existing trees the landscape plan and a tree
evaluation schedule shall be submitted with the planning application showing:
location of all existing trees 6 inches or greater in caliper, noting which are
to be removed and which are located within the allowable building area;
size in inches measured 48 inches above grade;
(3) Species name and
species value as determined by utilizing the most recent edition of the Guide
for Plant Appraisal, published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers;
and location value of trees as determined by an arborist or landscape
total LU value of trees to be removed; and
total LU value of replacement trees.
Unit Value (LU).
(1) The tree species,
condition, and location values of the trees shall be based on an evaluation by
an experienced landscape appraiser recognized by the American Society of
Consulting Arborists utilizing the most recent Guide for Plant Appraisal,
published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers; and approved by the
(2) Trees not within
the allowable building area shall receive a location factor of 1.0 (100%). Trees
located within the allowable building area shall receive a location factor of
(3) Trees designated as
heritage trees shall receive a bonus percentage value of 1.25 (125%). Trees located within the allowable building area
shall receive a location factor of .70 (70%).
designated as heritage trees shall receive a bonus percentage value of 1.25
species, condition and location value assume an average tree value to be .70
(.7 x .7 x .7 = .343). All existing trees to be removed shall be given a LU
value based upon the following calculation:
value% x condition value% x location value%
caliper inches x bldg./setback% x heritage tree% = LU
Replacement. Existing trees to be removed shall be replaced with new trees to
equal the total removed LU value. The following rates shall be given to
replacement trees to obtain the replacement LU value:
shall be in addition to and not substitute requirements for street trees,
parking lot trees or other required trees.
(e) Preservation of
Heritage Trees. The site design shall make every reasonable effort to preserve
heritage trees, consistent with the section 13.52.025 of the municipal code. Conditions
shall also be imposed to protect heritage trees during construction. Heritage
trees shall be removed only when it is demonstrated that preservation of these
trees would result in a threat to health, safety, and welfare due to a
hazardous tree condition, impacts on soil erosion and stability, or an
unreasonable effect upon the economic enjoyment of the property, consistent
with section 13.52.040 of the municipal code.
(f) Protection of Existing
Trees. The site design shall make reasonable effort to protect existing trees. The
design shall be evaluated as to how it protects existing trees or the reasons
for removal of existing trees. Tree protection measures shall be provided for
trees to remain on site, which shall be consistent with section 13.52.025 of
the municipal code and imposed as a condition of approvals.
(g) Alternates to
On-Site Replacement. If the required LU value for replacement of existing
trees to be removed is not made up with replacement trees on-site, the City
shall require that trees be planted in another location on-site or off-site or
a contribution of funds be made to the City to be used for plantings on public
land or a combination of the above options. If a contribution of funds is
required, it shall be two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) per required LU
or such other fee as may be established by Resolution of the City Council in
the annual Comprehensive Fee Schedule. (Ord.
2009-7 § 43, 2009; Ord. 1989-34, § 1, 1989).