Sidebar Subdivision Regulations

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Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development.

SECTION 5.18- LANDSCAPE STANDARDS AND STREET TREES

5.18.01 Landscaping
Sufficient landscaping shall be provided as part of the subdivision design. It shall be conceived in a total pattern throughout the site integrating the various elements of the site design, preserving and enhancing the particular identity of the site, and eventually creating a pleasing site character.

5.18.02 Landscaping Plan
For major subdivisions the developer shall provide a landscape plan prepared by a state licensed landscape architect or other qualified professional. The Commission retains the right to require a plan from a licensed landscape architect. The plan should emphasize the retention of existing vegetation and native plantings.

5.18.03 Site Grading
To the maximum extent practicable site grading shall be minimized and existing topography and natural vegetation shall be retained.

5.18.04 Topsoil Preservation
Topsoil moved during the course of construction shall be redistributed on all regraded surfaces so as to provide at least (4) four inches of even cover to all disturbed areas of the development and shall be stabilized by seeding or planting. The developer is requested to use the publication, Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control (latest edition), as amended from time to time, as a tool in adhering to this section.

If four (4) inches of topsoil did not originally exist on the site the developer shall retain all topsoil on site and may be required to bring in additional top soil. Topsoil shall not be removed from open space or forested of any topsoil from the site the developer shall notify the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

5.18.05 Removal of Debris
All stumps and other tree parts, litter, brush, weeds, excess or scrap building materials or other debris shall be disposed of in accordance with the law. No tree stumps or portions of tree trunks or limbs shall be buried anywhere in the development. No building materials shall be buried anywhere in the development. All dead or dying trees, standing or fallen, shall be removed from the site except in open space/conservation areas where some dead or dying non hazardous tress may be left for wildlife habitat. If trees and limbs are reduced to chips, they may be used as mulch in landscaped areas or for soil stabilization, subject to approval by the Zoning Enforcement Officer. (Amended effective 8/15/93)

5.18.06 Protection of Existing Plantings
Maximum effort should be made to save fine specimens and clusters of native trees. No material or temporary soil deposits shall be placed within four (4) feet of shrubs or under the dripline of trees designated on the landscape plan to be retained. Protective barriers or tree wells shall be installed around each plant and/or group of plants that are to remain on the site.  Protective barriers should be outside of the dripline. Barriers shall not be supported by the plants they are protecting but shall be self-supporting. They shall be a minimum of three (3) feet high and constructed of a durable material that will last until construction is completed. Snow fences and silt fences are acceptable methods of protecting trees during the construction process are available from the Environmental Planner/Planning and Zoning Department.

5.18.07 Slope Plantings
Landscaping of all cuts and fills and/or terraces shall be sufficient to prevent erosion, and all roadway slopes steeper than one (1) foot vertically to three (3) feet horizontally shall be planted with ground cover appropriate for the purpose and for soil conditions, water availability, and environment.

5.18.08 Buffering
Buffering shall provide a year-round visual screen in order to minimize adverse impacts.  It shall include but not be limited to fencing, evergreens, berms, rocks, boulders, mounds, or combinations thereof to achieve the same objectives.

  1. When required. Every development shall provide sufficient buffering when topographical or other barriers do not provide reasonable screening and when the Commission determines that there is a need (1) to shield neighboring properties from any adverse external effects of a development; or (2) to shield the development from negative impacts of adjacent uses such as streets, railroads or changes in land use. In high density developments, when building design and setting do not provide privacy, the Commission may require landscaping, fences, or walls to screen dwelling units for privacy.  Buffers shall be measured from side and rear property lines, excluding driveways.
  2. Amount Required
    1. Where more intensive land uses abut less-intensive uses, a buffer strip (fifteen (15) feet) in width shall be required.
    2. Parking lots, garbage collection and utility areas, and loading and unloading areas should be screened around their perimeters by a buffer strip a minimum of (five (5) feet) wide.
    3. Where residential subdivisions abut higher-order streets (collectors or arterials), adjacent lots shall front on lower-order streets (local), and a landscaped buffer area shall be provided along the property line abutting the higher order street. The buffer strip shall be a minimum of fifteen (15) feet wide or wider where necessary for the health and safety of the residents. It shall include both trees and shrubs.
  3. Design. Arrangement of plantings in buffers shall provide maximum protection to adjacent properties and avoid damage to existing plant material. Possible arrangements including planting in parallel, serpentine, or broken rows. If planted berms are used, the minimum top width shall be four (4) feet, and the maximum side slope shall be 2:1.
  4. Planting specifications. Plant materials should be sufficiently large and planted in such a fashion that a year-round screen at least eight (8) feet in height shall be produced within three (3) growing seasons.  All plantings shall be installed according to accepted horticultural standards. 

5.18.09 Shading and Ornamental Trees
The developer is encouraged to retain significant trees along the street and in the front yards; where no trees exist the developer shall plant on both sides of the street shade trees with a minimum of two and one half (2.5) to three (3) inch caliper spaced one (1) for every fifty (50) feet maximum of street frontage.  Trees shall be selected and planted in order to adhere to the following standards:

  • on the property and a minimum of 5 feet from the front property line.
  • 10 feet from hydrants utility poles and street lights;
  • 15 feet from driveways;
  • minimum of 5 feet from underground utilities;
  • 25 feet between small trees
  • 35 feet between medium trees; and
  • 50 feet between large trees.

Small and medium non-ornamental trees of suitable species and size may be substituted for shade trees subject to the approval of the Director of Planning.

The developer shall be responsible for taking adequate legal safeguards to insure that the developer retains the right to enter upon any lot within the subdivision to complete all required trees planting and all other landscaping.

In major subdivisions the developer shall provide for a separate landscape bond and all trees shall be planted prior to the final release of the performance or landscape bond.

5.18.10 Boulevard and Center Island Landscaping
On any thoroughfare requiring a center island, such as a boulevard, a landscape plan of such island shall be submitted as part of the overall landscape plan. Plantings and landscaping requiring a minimum amount of maintenance and that are salt tolerant shall be proposed for center islands and shall conform to restrictions specified for sight distance. An acceptable fabric landscape weed barrier shall be used on all such center islands.

5.18.11 Maintenance of Buffers, Shade and Ornamental Trees
Trees and other plantings shall be maintained by the developer until the final release of the bond. Trees shall be watered regularly and in a manner appropriate for the specific plant species through the first growing season, and dead and dying plants shall be replaced by the developer during the next planting season. During construction no temporary buildings, structures, storage of materials, or parking of equipment shall be permitted under the drip line of any tree or within any buffer area. Buffer areas shall be maintained, protected and kept free of all debris, rubbish, weeds, and tall grass.

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