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 City News
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Work on amendments to Landscape and Tree Protection Ordinance are underway

Part of what makes Round Rock a desirable community to live, work and play is the beauty and health of its built environment. 
 
With this in mind, the City has regulations that require all newly developed commercial sites to install landscaped areas which include a minimum number of trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Irrigation is also required in order to keep it all green and growing. The existing landscape section of the City’s Zoning Ordinance along with the Tree Protection and Preservation Ordinance, adopted in 2003, and 2005, respectively, have served the city and its residents well by ensuring a variety of plantings throughout the community.
 
Periodically, ordinances need to be evaluated to reflect recent trends in development and to incorporate the latest best practices. By doing this, we can be confident our regulations will yield quality projects. In addition, the current landscape and tree protection ordinances need to be reviewed in light of the City Council’s recently adopted “Development Philosophy” which emphasizes creativity and flexibility. The City Council would like to adopt development regulations that recognize the benefits of creativity, while clearly defining expected standards of quality.
 
In addition to improving community appearance, landscaping and tree protection ordinances should include provisions that foster the sustainability of a site. These can include provisions that allow the use of landscape areas for collecting rain water runoff, minimize heat island effects in parking lots, and allow xeriscaping.
 
Finally, our current landscape and tree protection ordinances were developed with typical suburban or “greenfield” development patterns in mind. As our city ages, we need to address landscaping and tree protection in areas that will soon be redeveloped, such as the downtown and older commercial strip centers.
 
The City is in the beginning stages of reviewing these ordinances. Both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council will establish broad policies to guide staff in preparing the ordinance amendments. A technical advisory committee consisting of design professionals and arborists has been assembled to review the technical aspects of the ordinance. A draft ordinance will be available for review this fall.

The following is a list of principles that wil help guide the process:

  1. The ordinances need to align with the City Council’s strategic direction and the wishes of the community at large. The current landscape and tree protection ordinances need to be reviewed in light of the City Council’s recently adopted “Development Philosophy” which places emphasis on creativity and flexibility.   The City Council would like to adopt development regulations that recognize the benefits of creativity, while clearly defining expected standards of quality.
  2. All ordinances require periodic evaluation. Periodic evaluation helps keep ordinances current.  By considering recent trends in development and incorporating the latest best practices, we can be confident that our regulations will yield quality projects.
  3. The ordinances need to reflect new styles of development in the community. Our current landscape and tree protection ordinances were developed with typical suburban or “greenfield” development patterns in mind.  As our city ages, we need to address landscaping and tree protection in areas that will soon be redeveloped, such as the downtown and older commercial strip centers.
  4. Sustainability. In addition to improving community appearance, City Council believes that our landscaping and tree protection ordinances should include provisions that foster the sustainability of a site.  These can include provisions to increase shade in parking areas and allow flexibility in planting areas in order to assist with the treatment of storm water.
  5. Ease of Use. By combining the provisions of the landscape and tree protection ordinances into ONE ordinance, users will have an easier time navigating the regulations. 

If you would like more information about the update of these ordinances, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at (512) 218-5428.

 

Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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City of Round Rock | 221 East Main Street, Round Rock, Texas 78664 | Phone: (512) 218-5400
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