Responses to Public Hearing Questions and Comments

Why is this text amendment being proposed?
Several months ago when the Council dissolved the tree committee, it was decided that the Planning Commission should be given the task of selecting street trees for all the various streets within the town.  As part of this task it was also decided that they should develop a landscaping and screening code.
When will this new code become effective?
Like any ordinance, it would become effective shortly after Council approval.  Council approval of an ordinance requires a first and second reading, which occur at two separate Council meetings.
How is regulation of building height related to the landscaping and screening text amendment?
As the Planning Commission was working to develop a landscaping and screening code earlier this year, it became apparent that in order to protect scenic views that tree heights should not be allowed to exceed maximum building height.  This led to a discussion about maximum building height for the RES zone in which the Planning Commission agreed that the bonus height allowance from RMC 25.01.040(f), (which allows 30 feet with an 8/12 pitch and no dormers), should be removed.  As drafted, the text amendment would result in a maximum height for the RES zone of 25 feet, with no additional height allowed.
Why has European Hornbeam been selected as the street tree for Pearl Street?  Doesn't it grow as tall as 40 feet?
Trees have been chosen based upon their general growth patterns and expected height.  Since the COM-P zoning district along Pearl Street allows buildings as tall as 45 feet, the Planning Commission felt that a taller tree could be chosen.
Will this code amendment be applicable to Town owned property?
Yes.  There are no exemptions provided for publicly owned property.
Are there separate standards for businesses on Pearl Street?
Other than a specific street tree selected for Pearl Street, no.  Many of the standards in this draft code are use based, not location based.  The Planning Commission agreed that if unsightly items such as parking lots, utility vaults, and dumpsters should be screened from public view, that the requirements should apply regardless of whether they are part of a commercial development or a single family residence.
What street tree has been selected for 51st Street?
The Planning Commission has not selected a tree for 51st Street yet, but expects to do so at their work study session on November 10, 2010.
Do I need to hire a landscape architect for my single family project?
No.  Single family projects may describe their plans in writing or on simplified drawings and do not need to meet the professional design criteria required for non-residential projects.
Does the Town intend to apply these changes to the Point Ruston site?
Master Development Plans which are executed prior to expiration would maintain their vested right to construct as previously approved.  However, portions of a subdivision, commercial site plan, or master development plan which are modified or amended after the adoption of any new code would be required to comply with applicable codes in place at the time that a complete application is submitted to the Town.
Have a question about this text amendment that is not answered above?  If so, please e-mail the Town Planner ( and your question will be posted on this page with an answer.