Sunday, February 22, 2009

Buffer Corridors

This item for the Planning Commission’s consideration deals with the landscape corridors along a number of Oak Harbor’s arterial streets.  The issue is the unsightly/inconsistent corridor buffers and eventual loss of trees in these buffers.  The goal is to improve the visual character of the buffers, standardize requirements, and create consistent “gateway corridor” designs throughout Oak Harbor.

The suggested “rules” for the new code that will be reviewed are:

  • maintain buffer corridors on existing list of streets 
  • maintain restricted access through buffer tracts
  • expand the buffer width from 25’ to 40’ (to improve likelihood of successful tree retention)

  • For areas with existing vegetation require the “brush” to be cleared or “cleaned up” and add additional plantings: complete groundcover; additional trees planted in a “natural” pattern (as opposed to formal patterns like street trees); additional shrubs to provide screening

  • Areas were existing vegetation is not present, or has been removed, require new landscaping: one row of deciduous trees along the street side, spaced every 30’ (street trees); a second row of coniferous trees along the rear lot side, spaced every 25’ to 40’ feet (to provide screening); shrubs & bushes between coniferous trees (to provide screening); ground cover throughout (for aesthetics and to reduce possibility of erosion) 

  • Define specific protection measures for these areas on the plat: maintenance responsibility of Home Owners Association; no structures, dumping of debris; tree removal needs City approval, and based on arborist report; removed trees and shrubs must be replaced as per the approved landscape plan

The following images illustrate the options presented.

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