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(a) Performance Objectives. All required landscape plans shall emphasize plantings along visible street frontages and required buffer yards, including mitigation or screening of parking lots adjacent to public streets. Unless constrained by existing conditions, sites with a single street frontage shall apply 50 percent or more of the total required landscape points to landscape setbacks along street frontages. The minimum percentage of the total required landscape points along street frontages shall increase by 10 percentage points for each additional street frontage. Berms may be used with or in place of shrubs for screening where appropriate.

(b) Planting Requirements – Point System. The developer may use any combination of plantings to obtain the necessary number of points required for the developed area. Different developed areas will lend themselves to different types of plantings. This chapter encourages creativity and diversity in landscaping. In no case shall a monoculture of plantings be allowed. A variation of plantings, at least three different species, is required.

Each landscape plan must equal or exceed a minimum number of base points in order to obtain approval. The number of points required depends on the size of the developed area (see Table 1). In order to obtain points, the plantings must be placed on the developed property and not on the public right-of-way, without the approval of the Planning Director in consultation with the Public Works Department.

Table 1. Number of Points Required for the Site

Square Footage of the Developed Area

Number of Points Required for Sites Classified I-1, I-2, X-2, and X-3

Number of Points Required for Sites Classified C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, U-1, X-1, O&I-1, O&I-2, O&I-3, M-S, and for Multiple-Family Residential Development, Churches, Schools, and Other Institutional Uses in Any Zoning District

0 – 10,000

33 (+1.5 per parking space)

40 (+1.5 per parking space)

Greater than 10,000

33 points plus one point for each additional 300 square feet of developed area (+1.5 per parking space)

40 points plus 1.2 points for each additional 300 square feet of developed area (+1.5 per parking space)

Except for industrial uses in I and X-2 districts, all designated outdoor storage, loading, or display areas, including, but not limited to, car lots, lumber yards, warehouses, home improvement centers, and loading docks, will require an additional one point per 600 square feet.

When only a portion of a large lot is developed (e.g., only one acre of a 10-acre lot), only the developed area shall be considered when determining the number of points required.

Table 2. Point Values for Various Plantings

Type of Plant Material

Minimum Size

Point Value

Large tree

2.0 inches – 2.5 inches caliper

11 per tree

Medium tree

1.25 inches – 1.5 inches caliper

8 per tree

Understory tree

Single trunk: 1.25 inches – 1.5 inches caliper

5 per tree

Multiple trunk: 6 feet – 8 feet in height

5 per tree

Coniferous tree

4 feet – 5 feet initial height at planting

8 per tree


2 gallon (established) minimum

1 per shrub

Ornamental grasses

2 gallon (established) minimum

1 per plant


Per square foot of landscaped area. Sufficient quantity of plants to cover the entire landscape area within 3 growing seasons.

0.10 per square foot

Landscape berm

30 inches minimum height with a sufficient quantity of trees, shrubs or plants to equal 1 point per 10 square feet.

0.25 per 3 lineal feet

Turf berm

30 inches minimum height. 3-foot minimum length, not to exceed 10% of total point requirements.

0.25 per 3 lineal feet

(c) Parking Lot Requirements. All street-level parking lots shall be landscaped in accordance with the following requirements:

(1) In addition to the number of base points required, one and one-half additional points are required for each parking space proposed. These additional points may be achieved by planting parking lot trees and/or parking lot shrubs. For example, a 10,000-square-foot developed area with 10 parking spaces requires 33 base points plus one and one-half points per parking space. The total point requirement for this developed area is 48 (33 base points plus 15 parking lot points).

(2) On parking lots with less than 24 parking spaces, parking lot trees/shrubs may be spaced around the perimeter of the lot as desired to provide a uniform and attractive design.

(3) On lots with more than 24 parking spaces, landscaping shall be provided on parking lot islands and/or parking lot peninsulas within the confines of the developed parking lot at a ratio of one landscaped island or peninsula per 24 parking spaces. These plantings shall be located to minimize and break the expanse of asphalt and concrete. Each parking lot island or peninsula shall be equivalent in size to one parking space. Parking lot islands shall contain shade-producing trees where possible.

(d) Buffers and Buffer Zones. A developed area may be required to buffer certain portions of the development as provided for herein. If a developed area is required to buffer, the more stringent buffer requirements contained herein shall apply. Accumulation of minimum required landscaping points shall not reduce the requirements for any landscaped buffer as specified herein.

(1) Residential Zone Buffer. On any commercial, industrial, institutional, PUD, conditional use permit, or multifamily development (three or more units) adjacent to a residential zoning district, a landscaped buffer along the property line(s) of the developing property is required. The buffer shall run the entire length of the abutting lot line(s). The type of buffer may consist of any combination of the following:

(i) A solid opaque fence not less that six feet in height, and a six-foot-wide buffer of landscaped plantings located on the outside of the fence, not to exceed six-foot spacing between plants.

(ii) A landscaped buffer no less than six feet in width, planted with a series of evergreen plantings which will grow to at least six feet in height and spaced in a manner to provide an impervious visual barrier, not to exceed six-foot spacing between plants.

(iii) A landscaped berm at least 30 inches in height continuing the entire length of the abutting property line. A landscape credit for a landscaped berm may be claimed (per Table 1) in order to meet the screening requirements for the developing property. Such berm must be planted with trees, shrubs and/or plants in order to satisfy buffer requirements. A berm planted exclusively in turf grass is not considered by itself sufficient to satisfy buffer requirements as required by this chapter.

(iv) Natural, undisturbed forest at least 20 feet in width that provides a nearly impervious visual barrier due to the dense nature of the plants and/or trees. If this option is chosen, the Planning Director shall determine whether the barrier is satisfactory through a site inspection prior to plan approval. Protective measures shall be provided during construction to ensure the area is protected from damage due to construction.

(2) Parking Lot Buffer. All parking areas and associated driveways shall be buffered with landscaping and set back as follows:

(i) An area not less than four feet in width shall be located between a parking lot and an adjacent property line of a nonresidential zoning district. For sites classified I-1, I-2, X-2, or X-3, such buffering shall not be required where an equivalent buffer exists on the adjoining property.

(ii) A landscaped setback not less than 20 feet shall be located between all parking lots and any public street right-of-way for lots platted on or after June 11, 2002, except when surface parking is placed to the side or rear of the building, in which case the width of the parking area, as measured by a line parallel with the street right-of-way, is no more than one-half of the frontage on the street right-of-way and the development meets the front yard building setbacks in TMC 18.230.030. A landscape setback of not less than five feet shall be required from public street right-of-way for all other lots.

(e) Landscape for Industrial Uses. For industrial uses in I and X-2 districts, unimproved areas and outdoor storage areas will not be applied toward the generation of required points provided the purpose and performance objectives of this chapter, including the creation of landscape buffers and proper screening of parking and storage areas, are met. (Ord. 20150 § 4, 10-23-18.)

Cross References:Planning and Development Department, TMC 2.20.080; Public Works Department, TMC 2.20.100.