Prepared by the City Attorney
ORDINANCE NO. 22-02
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE WEST LAFAYETTE CITY CODE
CHAPTER 115 CONCERNING TREES AND LANDSCAPING
WHEREAS, in 1984 the City of West Lafayette
adopted a landscape ordinance providing for the planting and
maintenance of street trees and off-street parking lot trees and
WHEREAS, while that ordinance has led to
beautification and environmental benefits, that the ordinance could
be improved, particularly in its application to large off-street
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COMMON
COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WEST LAFAYETTE that:
Section 1. West Lafayette City Code Chapter 115 is amended to
read as follows.
Sec. 115.01. Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Accepted shade trees list means a list
of proven shade trees and plant materials deemed adaptable to urban
conditions by the City of West Lafayette, as set forth in the WL
Tree Manual prepared by the Greenspace Administrator and approved
from time to time by the Board of Public Works and Safety.
(b) Agent means the agent of a building or
land and shall include any person holding a written contract with
the property owner stating they hold the responsibility of managing
(c) Berm means a mound of earth with a
maximum of thirty-three percent slope, back to grade, and covered
with appropriate plant material and/or approved materials to aid in
reduction of erosions and/or mud and dust generation.
(d) Existing landscape plan for purposes
of this chapter shall be a plan of a suitable scale that illustrates
all existing plant materials and shade trees and identifies them by
species and relative size.
(e) Existing shade trees. For the purposes
of this chapter, any existing six-inch or larger shade tree shall be
deemed worthy of preservation if it can reasonably be determined by
the Greenspace Administrator to have a remaining life span equal to
or greater than that of the structures proposed in the site plan or
subdivision plat or which is unique by reason of size, age, or other
outstanding quality, such a rarity or status as a landmark or
species specimen or the need to reduce runoff and subsequent erosion
or dust or mud generation and to reduce storm water run-off.
(f) Greenspace percentage. For the
purposes of this chapter, the greenspace percentage will include all
plant areas interior to the property lines. Not included in
greenspace percentage are areas of gravel or stone mulch. The
percentage shall be calculated as follows:
100% - Impervious Surface Percentage =
Greenspace shall be planted with trees, shrubs,
groundcover or grass, consistent with good landscape design.
(g) Greenspace Administrator. The Greenspace
Administrator is a designee of the Mayor who will administer the
requirements of this chapter, including review and enforce the
requirements of this chapter and report to the Mayor. The Greenspace
Administrator shall coordinate with the city engineer and provide
staff assistance to the Tree Fund.
(h) Impervious surface percentage. For the
purpose of this chapter "Impervious surface percentage" (ISP) is an
intensity measurement of the impervious surfaces which include
building foot print, parking lots, drives, loading areas and
sidewalks interior to the property line and all other impervious
surfaces. The ISP is calculated by expressing the following fraction
as a percentage:
total area of impervious surface on site X 100
total area of the site
(i) New development means any new
construction which necessitates the issuance of an improvement
location permit and a subsequent certificate of occupancy. New
development shall include the enlargement portion of any remodelling
which adds additional floor area to any commercial building.
(j) Owner means the recorded owner or
contract purchaser of any parcel of land or building.
(k) Perimeter means the total lineal
outside dimension of a parking lot area.
(l) Planned development means a planned
development as defined and established under chapter 5 of the
Unified Zoning Ordinance of Tippecanoe County.
(m) Plant materials include, but are not
(1) Shrub - a woody ornamental plant which
is multi-stemmed supporting the main leafy growth.
(2) Groundcover - low-growing plants used
for covering areas in the landscape, which will conserve soil
moisture, maintain an even soil temperature, control weeds, prevent
soil erosion and reduce storm water run-off. Nonliving materials or
mulch may be used in planting beds, as approved by the Greenspace
Administrator, consistent with good landscaping design.
(3) Shade tree - a shade tree is a
deciduous woody plant which is characteristically over thirty feet
in height when it reaches full maturity.
(n) Public parkway means the land along
the curb, or the grass strip between the sidewalk and the curb
adjacent to public streets and/or highways in the public
(o) Remodelling means the renovation of an
existing building, not including the addition of floor space within
or outside of the footprint of the exiting building.
(p) Screen. For the purpose of this
chapter a screen will be a dense planting and/or berming to a total
height of between three and four feet which reduces noise, wind and
glare; screens views; and utilizes plant materials approved by the
Greenspace Administrator and is designed in an acceptable
(q) Tenant. The words tenant or occupant
applied to a building or land shall include any person holding a
written or oral lease of, or who occupies the whole or part of such
building or land, either alone or with others.
(r) Tree Manual. A list of trees approved for
various uses and planting and maintenance standards. The Tree Manual
shall be prepared and amended from time to time by the Greenspace
Administrator and approved by the Board of Public Works and Safety.
(s) West Lafayette tree fund means a
voluntary organization formed for the purpose of planting shade
trees along public streets of West Lafayette. It is supported by
voluntary contributions and is run by volunteers, who at all times
include at least one person with professional credentials relative
to all aspects of tree care. All purchases of supplies, materials,
or hiring of employees by the West Lafayette tree fund shall be
under the established policy and procedure of the Indiana State
Board of Accounts and the West Lafayette board of parks and
recreation. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 1; Ord. No. 13-90, § 1.)
Sec. 115.20. Maintenance responsibilities.
Property owners shall have the following
responsibilities for shrubs or trees planted in or near the public
(a) No property owner shall permit limbs or
branches obstructing movement or vision of vehicles or pedestrians
along streets, alleys or sidewalks in the city.
(b) The owner of any property adjacent to the
public right-of-way shall on twenty days' notice given by the order
of the board of public works and safety, trim any trees or shrubs so
that no limb or branch is maintained in violation of this chapter.
If the owner should fail to comply with such order, the board of
public works and safety shall cause such tree or shrub to be
maintained in accordance with this chapter.
(c) The expense of trimming, maintenance or
improvements which are carried out by the city shall be a lien on
the property of the owner and shall be collected in the same manner
as assessments for the cutting of weeds if no payment is received
for such service within sixty days of request for payment by the
clerk-treasurer. In addition to the above methods, the city shall
have the right to bring a civil action to recover any delinquent
charges, together with reasonable attorney's fee. (Ord. No. 41-84, §
2(A); Ord. No. 13-90, § 2.)
(d) The city shall have the right, but does not
have the obligation, to plant, prune, maintain or remove trees,
plants and shrubs within the public right-of-way of all streets,
alleys, avenues, lanes, square and public grounds, as may be
necessary to insure public safety or to preserve the symmetry and
beauty of such public grounds.
Sec. 115.21. Permit--required for cutting or removal.
Except for work necessitated by storms or other
emergencies, a permit shall be obtained before any person may remove
or cut any trees upon the public parkway within the city. A permit
shall be issued or denied without charge by the Greenspace
Administrator within eight days of the application. (Ord. No. 41-84,
§ 2(B)(i); Ord. No. 13-90, § 3.)
Sec. 115.22. Permit--application.
Application for a permit must be made with the
Greenspace Administrator's office not fewer than eight days in
advance of the time the work is to be done. (Ord. No. 41-84, §
Sec. 115.23. Permit--issuance conditions.
Condition to the issuance of any permit to remove
any trees, may be the planting of approved trees in the place of
those removed. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 2(B)(ii).)
Sec. 115.24. Electric utility annual permit.
An annual permit shall be issued to the electric
utility for trimming and cutting trees in the public parkway. The
permit shall include utility trimming schedules and procedures and
be reviewed annually with the Greenspace Administrator. (Ord. No.
41-84, § 2(B)(iv); Ord. No. 13-90, § 4.)
Sec. 115.40. Planting of street trees.
(a) Tree Fund. The city wishes to encourage an
orderly planting of shade trees along the public streets of the
city. Therefore, the tree fund is authorized to plant shade trees
with the cooperation of the adjacent property owner along the
streets of the city within the public right-of-way. The cost of tree
planting will be borne by the tree fund. In its planting of trees,
the tree fund shall conform to all relevant ordinances and
regulations already in force. The placement and choice of trees
shall take into consideration the individual requirements of the
site, preference of adjacent property owners and the goal of a
unified street vista.
(b) Required Street Trees. All new developments
adjacent to a minor arterial, collector street, local street or
shared access road shall have street trees and a street tree plan
shall be submitted with the application for an improvement location
permit and shall be installed before issuance of a final certificate
of occupancy. Street trees shall be installed as follows:
(1) Species and Number. Trees to be planted shall
be deciduous and shall be of a root growth pattern which minimizes
potential damage to street, sidewalk and utility facilities. Trees
shall be required at the standard of one tree per forty feet of
frontage for trees listed on the preferred shade tree list, and one
tree per thirty-five feet of frontage for trees on the alternate
substitute list. The required number shall be rounded to the nearest
whole number. Tree species shall be selected from the preferred
shade tree list unless overhead lines are present.
(2) Location. Trees shall be located as
determined by the first of the following applicable rules. If a
location is shown on the subdivision plat, that location must be
used unless impractical. If a consistent pattern of street trees is
already started on the street, that pattern must be followed unless
impractical. If the planting strip between the curb and the sidewalk
is at least five feet in width, the trees must be planted in that
strip unless impractical. Otherwise the trees shall be planted
behind and adjacent to the public parkway. All street trees shall be
planted at least thirty feet back from any intersection with a local
or collector street and fifty feet back from any intersection with
major or minor arterial. Street trees shall have a minimum spacing
of twenty-five feet and the spacing of street trees shall coordinate
with street trees planted on any adjoining property abutting the
(3) Size. Trees required by this chapter in
single and two family projects shall have a minimum caliper of one
and one-half inches immediately after planting. Trees required by
the chapter for all other uses shall have a minimum caliper of two
and one-half inches immediately after planting.
(4) Additional Provisions. For a commercial
development, the planting location may be varied or the requirement
of street trees may be waived under the following circumstances:
(A) If the planting of the street trees would
impair vision at the entrance or exit to any parking lot, or
(B) If the planting of street trees would
functionally duplicate trees planted under the section for
off-street parking lots. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 3(A); Ord. No. 13-90, §
Sec. 115.41. Maintenance of trees.
The owner, tenant, and their agent if any, of the
property located behind the public parkway on which trees are
planted by the tree fund shall be jointly and severally responsible
for the maintenance of trees planted under this chapter. Such trees
or any other trees required by this chapter shall be maintained in
good condition so as to present a healthy, neat and orderly
appearance, maintaining the tree's natural shape and crown-excessive
pruning or topping are not acceptable or approved practices. Tree
topping shall be unlawful as a normal practice by an person, firm or
city department to any street tree, park tree, other tree on public
property or trees required by this chapter. All plant materials
shall be kept free from refuse and debris. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 3(B);
Ord. No. 13-90, § 6.)
Sec. 115.60. Purpose.
The intent of this article is to set minimum
requirements for perimeter and interior planting which would provide
screening and shading around and throughout off-street parking
areas; and provide pedestrians with safe, shaded walkways. (Ord. No.
41-84, § 4(A).)
Sec. 115.61. Landscaping-Required for parking lots.
(a) Parking Lots Covered. Off-street parking
areas which are part of a new development and contain either ten or
more parking spaces or a total parking area of five thousand or more
square feet shall be landscaped in accordance with this chapter,
unless the development is a planned development.
(b) Planned Developments. It is the policy of the
city of West Lafayette that planned developments should have
landscape plans which meet or exceed the requirements of this
chapter, in addition to particular requirements of planned
developments including buffering adjacent uses. (Ord. No. 41-84, §
4(A)(i); Ord. No. 13-90, § 7.)
Sec. 115.62. Off-street parking areas--tree requirements.
(a) Shade Trees Required for off-street parking
areas as defined in this chapter, the number of shade trees to be
planted on the perimeter shall be one for every thirty feet of
lineal footage on the perimeter of the parking area. Trees may only
be grouped per American Association of Nurserymen (AAN)
(b) Screening Requirements for Off-Street Parking
Areas. For off-street parking areas in new developments only, as
defined above, which are adjacent to a public street, a screening
area shall be positioned between the right-of-way and the parking
area. This screening area, which may include a berm, shall be
planted with shrubs and/or an appropriate ground cover shall be
provided. The shrubs shall be approved by the Greenspace
Administrator. The shrubs shall be positioned so that they form a
continuous, tight screen at mature growth.
(c) Shade trees and screening within the
twenty-five-foot vision triangle at entrances to and exits from
parking lots shall leave vision clear between two and one-half feet
and eight feet in height. For this purpose the screen height may be
reduced to between eighteen and thirty inches. (Ord No. 41-84, §
4(A)(ii); Ord. No. 13-90, § 8.)
Sec. 115.63. Interior plantings--area and planting requirements.
For every off-street parking area containing ten
or more interior spaces, an interior planting area equivalent to two
hundred fifty square feet shall be provided for every ten parking
spaces or for each fraction of ten parking spaces not located on the
perimeter of the parking area or adjacent to a building. The total
area thus determined may be allocated to individual planting
islands, or to planting strips paralleling traffic lanes. Each
planting island shall have at least one shade tree for every one
hundred fifty square feet of planting area, and appropriate ground
cover, each planting strip will have one shade tree for each thirty
lineal feet. Planting strips or islands shall be sized so that there
is at least three feet between the center point of each tree and the
inside edge of the nearest border and planted with acceptable ground
cover or approved materials. Planting islands or strips and trees
shall be spaced so that each parking space has a tree trunk within
25 feet of a point on the perimeter of each such space. Trees may
only be grouped per American Association of Nurserymen (AAN)
recommendations. (Ord. No. 4184, § 4(A)(iii); Ord. No. 13-90, § 9;
Ord. No. 19-91, § 1.)
Sec. 115.64. Interior plantings--plant material substitutions.
For the interior planting requirements, if the
parking lot meets the requirement that each parking space has a tree
trunk within 25 feet of a point on the perimeter of each such space,
the applicant may substitute an additional forty lineal feet of
perimeter berming including ten shrubs and one shade tree for each
two hundred fifty square feet of planting strip or island. (Ord. No.
41-84, § 4(A)(v); Ord. No. 13-90, § 10.)
Sec. 115.65. Tree islands, strips or wells.
All tree islands, strips or wells shall have
pavement or stone removed so that all underlying soil is native soil
or better. When tree wells are used in parking areas, they will be
protected by permanent curb stops placed in such a manner as to
prevent car overhangs from coming into contact with shade tree
trunks. (Ord. No. 13-90, § 11.)
Sec. 115.66. Plant material protection.
The Plants in the planting island, planting
strips and tree wells shall be protected by a continuous border of
at least six inches in height made of such materials as stone,
concrete and/or treated landscape timbers which are solidly
anchored. Wheel stops shall be placed three feet from the continuous
border as described above, in each parking space that abuts the
strip. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 4(A)(iv), Ord. No. 13-90, § 12.)
Sec. 115.67. Landscaping--plan modification conditions.
The Greenspace Administrator may approve minor
modifications in a landscaping plan, as long as they are consistent
with the terms of this chapter. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 4(A)(vi); Ord.
No. 13-90 (part).)
Sec. 115.68. Approval of plant materials.
The plant materials used to meet the requirements
of this chapter shall be approved by the Greenspace Administrator
and must be on the "preferred shade tree" or the
"alternate/substitute" lists in the West Lafayette Tree Manual as
required. Variations on plant selections may be allowed by the
Greenspace Administrator. Trees shall have a minimum caliper of two
and one-half inches immediately after planting. Shrubs shall be of a
sufficient size to be hardy upon planting and sized so that the
screen reaches the minimum design height within three years after
planting. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 4(A)(vii); Ord. No. 13-90, § 13.)
Sec. 115.69. Landscaping--requirements when property is
remodelled or enlarged.
(a) For any remodelling or renovation which
requires the issuance of an improvement location permit and/or a
certificate of occupancy on a new or existing development that
contains a parking lot with either ten or more parking spaces or an
area of five thousand or more square feet, the property shall be
required to match the ratio of square feet renovated to the shade
tree requirements of §§ 115.62(a) and 115.63, if applicable (so that
if ten percent of the square feet of the building is renovated, then
ten percent of the planting requirements of §§ 115.62(a) and 115.63
will be completed).
(b) In the event that the property is enlarged
during remodelling so as to constitute a new development, then the
property shall be required to match the ratio of square feet added
to all requirements of this chapter. The requirements of this
subsection shall be cumulative with those of subsection (a) and (c).
(Ord. No. 41-84 § 4(A)(viii); Ord. No. 13-90, § 14.)
(c) If any spaces are added to any off-street
parking area, such addition shall meet all of the requirements of
this chapter. The requirements of this subsection shall be
cumulative with those of subsection (a) and (b).
(d) In the event that the property for which an
improvement location permit is requested is found to be in violation
of this chapter, the Greenspace Administrator may require that the
property be brought into compliance before issuance of a certificate
Sec. 115.70. Landscape plan--review of Greenspace Administrator
Any decision of the Greenspace Administrator
concerning a landscape plan shall be final unless an aggrieved
person shall file a written request with the clerk-treasurer for
review specifying the reasons the decision of the Greenspace
Administrator is alleged to be incorrect within ten days after the
decision of the Greenspace Administrator. The board of public works
and safety shall hear and determine any review of a decision of the
Greenspace Administrator which is filed as required in this section.
(Ord. No. 41-84; § 4(A)(ix); Ord. No. 13-90, § 15.)
Sec. 115.71. New developments--minimum greenspace percentage.
All new developments shall have a minimum
greenspace percentage as specified below.
(a) Any commercial or industrial use in the
following districts shall require the following greenspace:
Any CB or CBW district
NB, NBU, HB or GB district
OR or MR district
For any lot under one acre in size, the above
requirements are reduced by 20 percent of the percentage set forth
(b) Any residential use shall require the
following greenspace. (Ord. 13-90, § 16.)
AA or AW district
NBU or MR district
CB or CBW district
R1 or R1A district
R1U, R1Z, R2, R2U, R3, R3U, R3W or R4
(c) Any use allowed in the Flood Plain (FP)
district as per NUZO 3-2 shall require 90% vegetative cover (see
(d) It is the policy of the City of West
Lafayette that Planned Developments should require minimum
greenspace comparable to that of the most similar zoning district
and use, as set forth above.
Sec. 115.72. Protection of existing trees--planting equivalent.
There will be clear marking of trees to be
preserved; and the marking will be followed through by the
construction of protective barriers around the tree to be preserved.
Preservation trees six inches or more in diameter when measured
three feet from the ground, and in healthy conditions will be
considered equivalent of planting two shade trees in meeting the
requirements of this chapter. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 4(B); Ord. No.
13-90, § 17.)
Sec. 115.73. Maintenance responsibility.
(a) The owner shall be responsible for the
maintenance of all landscaping required by this chapter which shall
be maintained in good condition so as to present a healthy, neat and
orderly appearance, and shall be kept free from refuse and debris.
(b) Removal of existing trees or plants required
by this chapter shall require prior approval by the Greenspace
(c) Should the condition of the tree or plant
material not be reversible, the owner shall replace the tree or
plant materials with acceptable tree (from the "accepted shade tree
list") or plants as applicable, or equivalent trees as specified by
the Greenspace Administrator. In such an order, the Greenspace
Administrator may give due consideration to the size and species of
the tree or plant being replaced, the overall landscape plan and the
efforts by the owner to maintain the existing landscape. (Ord. No.
41-84, § 4(C); Ord. No. 13-90, § 18.)
Sec. 115.74. Appeals and enforcement.
(a) Appeals. All orders of the Greenspace
Administrator concerning planting, maintenance, removal, replacement
or any other matters under this chapter shall be final unless an
aggrieved person shall file a written request with the
clerk-treasurer for review specifying the reasons the decision of
the Greenspace Administrator is alleged to be incorrect within ten
days after the decision of the Greenspace Administrator. The board
of public works and safety shall hear and determine any review of a
decision of the Greenspace Administrator which is filed as required
in this section.
(b) Permits Not Granted. In the event of any
failure to comply with this chapter, the city engineer or any other
officer of the city shall not issue a certificate of occupancy, a
rental certificate or any additional improvement location permit
until the noncompliance is cured.
(c) Enforcement by Injunction. The requirements
of this chapter may be enforced by a mandatory or prohibitory
injunction by an appropriate court.
(d) Enforcement by Civil Penalty. Failure to
comply with any of the requirements of this chapter is punishable by
a civil penalty of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than
five hundred dollars and each day an offense occurs shall be
considered a separate offense. (Ord. No. 41-84, § 4(D); Ord. No.
13-90, § 19.)
Sec. 115.75. Variances.
(a) An owner of an existing structure which is
being remodelled but not enlarged may request a variance from the
requirements of this chapter in cases where it would be impossible
to meet the requirements of this chapter and other applicable
ordinances. A written request with a proposed landscape plan must be
filed with the Greenspace Administrator at least fourteen days prior
to hearing on forms prescribed by the board of public works and
(b) The board of public works and safety may
grant a variance only after a public hearing and upon a showing by
the applicant that
(1) The strict application of this chapter would
constitute an unnecessary hardship upon the applicant and the
hardship is not merely economic nor is it self imposed,
(2) The need for the variance arises from some
condition peculiar to the property involved,
(3) The variance would not diminish the use or
value of neighboring property, and
(4) The proposed plan with a variance meets the
requirements of the ordinance as nearly as possible under the
(c) The board of public works and safety may
condition the grant of a variance upon any contingencies or
commitments by the applicant which further the policies of this
chapter. (Ord. No. 13-90, § 20.)
Section 2. This ordinance shall be in full force
and effect from and after its passage and signing by the Mayor.
Office of the Clerk-Treasurer Judy