Guide To The San Francisco Green Landscaping Ordinance

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Earth Day: April 22, 2010Mayor Gavin NewsomSan Francisco Board of Supervisors:David Chiu, Carmen Chu, Bevan Dufty, Eric Mar,Sophie Maxwell, John Avalos, David Campos, Chris Daly,Sean Elsbernd, Ross Mirkarimi, and Michela Alioto-Pier.San Francisco Planning Commission:Ron Miguel, Christina Olague, Michael J. Antonini,Gwyneth Borden, William L. Lee, Kathrin Moore, andHisashi Sugaya.Lead Staff:John Rahaim, DirectorPlanning DepartmentAstrid Haryati, Director of GreeningMayor’s Office of GreeningAnMarie Rodgers, Manager of Legislative AffairsPlanning DepartmentDesign Team for the Guide:Gary Chen, Graphic Designer, Planning DepartmentPallavi Gandhi, Mayor’s OfficeMegan Keely, Mayor’s OfficeTo review the complete text of the Green LandscapingOrdinance No 0084-10 [BF 09-1453] vrs/ordinances10/o0084-10.pdf

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCECONTENTS:GOAL OF SAN FRANCISCOGREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCE:The Green Landscaping Ordinance amends the PlanningCode and Public Works Code to enhance new development &significant alterations. It seeks to achieve the following environmental and aesthetic goals:A. Healthier and more plentiful plantings through screening,parking lot, and street tree controls;B. Increased permeability through front yard and parking lotcontrols;C. Encourage responsible water use through increasing“climate appropriate” plantings; andD. Improved screening by creating an ornamental fencingrequirement and requiring screening for newly defined“vehicle use areas.”GOAL OF THE GUIDE:The guide describes the Green Landscape Ordinance and helpsSan Francisco residents and property owners understand thebenefits, requirements, and ways to comply with the ordinance.This document is divided into thesesections:1.0 Greening of Front Setback AreasPlanning Code Section 132Benefits and Requirements2.0 Screening of Parking AreasPlanning Code Section 142Benefits and Requirements3.0 Street TreesPlanning Code Section 138.1Benefits and Requirements4.0 Parking LotsPlanning Code Section 156Benefits and Requirements5.0 Vehicular Use Area (NEW DEFINITION)Planning Code Section 223Benefits and Requirements6.0 Permeable Surfaces (NEW DEFINITION)Planning Code SectionBenefits and Requirements7.0 Climate Appropriate Plants(NEW DEFINITION)Public Works Code Section 802.1Administrative Code Chapter 63Benefits and Requirements1

1.0 Greening of Front Setback AreasBENEFITS:SUMMARY:Increasedpermeability andreducedstormwaterrunoffIn Planning Code Section 132, the Green Landscaping Ordinanceintroduces a provision for permeable surfaces; amends thecontrols to landscaping areas; and introduces new triggers for g front yardsThe requirements apply to Construction of a new building The addition of a new dwelling unit Construction of a new garage or the addition of new parking Paving or re-paving more than 200 sq. ft. of the front setback.REQUIREMENTS: Require 50% of surfaces in the front yard to be permeable byusing porous asphalt, porous concrete, interlocking pavers,bricks, or landscaping. Areas counted towards the landscapingrequirement (20% of the required setback area) can also becredited towards the permeability requirement. Depending on site’s suitability the permeable surface arearequirement may be waived after consulting with San FranciscoDepartment of Public Works or the San Francisco PublicUtilities Commission. In these instances, the permeable surfacearea requirement may be modified to include alternative stormwater strategies such as bio-retention, swales or other featuresregulated by San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Comply with water use requirements of Chapter 63 of theAdministrative Code.2

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCEGREENING OF SIDEWALKHarrison Street and 23rd StreetYork StreetShotwell StreetLOT CstairLOT BstairLOT AstairstairEXAMPLE:23RD AVE RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT21’setback lineproperty line30% permeable surface47% permeable surface20% planted37% plantedTotal 50% permeableTotal 84% permeableincluding planted sidewalkincluding planted22% permeable surface67% plantedTotal 99% permeableincluding plantedcurb23rdAvenuepermeable surfaceplantedconcrete3

2.0 Screening of Parking AreasFederal Reserve Bank, 101 Market StreetOrson, 4th and Bryant StreetsMinna Street PlaygroundBENEFITS:SUMMARY:Enhance thepedestrianexperienceThe Green Landscaping Ordinance expands the screening requirements to parking areas in all districts, articulating the differentrequirements for different frontage width of vehicular use areas, andintroducing new triggers for the requirement. The Green LandscapingOrdinance also applies the screening requirements to “vehicle useareas” which include spaces such as gasoline stations; car washes;motor vehicle repair shops; and other areas devoted to vehicular use.Reduce stormwaterrunoffIncrease climateappropriateplantingsAPPLICABILITY:The requirements apply to All zoning districts. Existing Vehicular Use Areas with more than 25 ft. along the publicright-of-way must be screened in the following circumstances: If a principal use (i.e. the use served by the parking area)expands by 20% or greater; If the number of parking spaces increase by at least 20% or if 4or more spaces are added, whichever amount is greater; or If at least 50% or more of existing surface is excavated andreplaced (except for emergency repair).4

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCEREQUIREMENTS:If the frontage of the vehicular use area along the public rightof-way is less than 25 feet, the following screening requirements apply:1) Vehicle use areas and parking areas within a building areto be screened from all streets and alleys through the useof garage doors.Existing2) If these areas are along rear yards or interior open spacesthe screening shall be solid building walls.If the frontage of the vehicular use area along the publicright-of-way is more than 25 feet, the following screeningrequirements apply:1) Provide a 4 foot high solid wall or “OrnamentalFencing” (“Ornamental Fencing” is a decorative metalfence, including wrought iron or fencing that gives theappearance of wrought-iron fencing, but expresslyexcluding plain chain-link fence, plastic-based materials,barbed wire and similar non-decorative fences) and 5 footwide landscaping perimeter strip. or2) Provide a combination of landscaping and ornamentalfencing where the landscaping is the equivalent areaof the 5 feet perimeter landscaping which has beenotherwise configured to result in either A public space or amenity which is accessible fromthe public right-of-way or A natural drainage system such as combined swales,retention basins, detention basins and rain gardens toreduce stormwater runoff.3) All plantings must comply with water use requirementsdescribed in Chapter 63 of the Administrative Code. Ifthe Zoning Administer modifies these requirements, thosemodifications mustEXAMPLE promote and enhance the pedestrian experience; promote the reduction of stormwater runoff; and use climate appropriate plant materials as defined inPublic Works Code Section 802.1.5

3.0 Street TreesPlanning Department6BENEFITS:SUMMARY:Street trees increaseproperty values,pedestrian comfort,and help clean the air.Thegreateststormwaterand environmentalbenefits occur whentree canopies coverimpervious areas andintercept water before itfalls to the ground.The Green Landscaping Ordinance expands the street treerequirement to all zoning districts; applies the requirement toparking lots, and introduces new triggers and flexibility for therequirements.APPLICABILITY:The requirements apply to all zoning districts in the event of a new building or the relocation of an existing building; the addition of gross floor area equal to 20% or more of thegross floor area to an existing building; the addition of a dwelling unit, a garage, additional parking or the paving or repaving of more than 200 square feet of thefront set-back.

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCEREQUIREMENTS: Provide one 24-inch box or larger trees for every 20 feet of streetfrontage. Street trees shall be 1) compatible with the water use requirementsof Administrative Code Chapter 63 and 2) ‘climate appropriate’ asdefined by Section 802.1 of the Public Works Code. Note a permitis required from the Department of Public Works to plant or removeany street tree. The property owner must maintain the tree in good health perArticle 16 of the Public Works Code and replace the tree within 6months if it should die. (Section 805 of the Public Works Code) Trees planted in Downtown Residential (DTR) or DowntownCommercial (C-3) Districts have additional requirements to ensuretree health and adequate pedestrian passage in these denselypopulated areas.ALTERNATIVES: If pre-existing condition does not allow tree planting sidewalklandscaping may be used to satisfy the tree requirements ifrecommended and approved by the Department of Public Works.Sidewalk plantings must be 1) compatible with the water userequirements of Administrative Code Chapter 63 and 2) ‘climateappropriate’ as defined by Section 802.1 of the Public Works Code. If the neither a street tree nor sidewalk planting is appropriate forthe site, the Zoning Administrator will allow an in-lieu payment intothe Department of Public Works “Adopt-A-Tree” fund as a substitution for each required tree that cannot be planted.7

4.0 Greening of Parking LotsBENEFITS:REQUIREMENTS:Reduce the stormwaterrunoff and improve localwater quality by reducinguntreated stormwater inthe ocean and the bay. One street tree for every 20 feet of street right-of-way.Improve the appearanceof parking lots throughscreening, greening, andnew seating.See street tree details on previous page. One interior tree for every 5 parking spaces. Theseinterior trees should be of a size and species wherecanopies could be expected to shade 50% of the lotwithin 15 years. Street trees must be both climate appropriate speciesas defined in the Public Works and must be compatiblewith the water use requirements of Administrative CodeChapter 63. Interior plantings need only be compatiblewith the water use requirements of Administrative CodeChapter 63. Provide a minimum of 20% permeable surfaces. Permeable surfaces of grading shall be coordinated sothat stormwater can infiltrate the surface in areas withless than 5% slope.8

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCEExisting: Former parking lot at 535 Mission StreetPlaza: permeable surface with seatingTotal parcel area:Parcel Perimeter:Parking Spaces:Planting Strip:16,240 s.f.360 degrees63’ perimeterApproximately 1,200 s.f. plaza with seating30 trees on-site, no street treesThe Green Landscaping requirements:5% permeable surface: 5% x 16,240 s.f. 812 s.f.5’ deep perimeter landscaping strip 5’ x 360’ 1,800 s.f.One on-site tree per 5 parking spacesOne on-site tree per 20’ frontageEXAMPLE:DOWNTOWN PARKING LOTAlternative AAlternative B5’ landscaping strip at 360 perimeterapprox. 1650 sf (after curbcuts, corners)Landscaping, alternative configuration.Equivalent to 360 x 5 1,800 sf812 sf of permeable surface61 parking spaces: 12 trees req. on-site18 street trees required (not shown)64 parking spaces: 13 trees required onsite 18 street trees required (not shown)Decorative fence9

5.0 Vehicle Use AreaNew Section: 102.3 Planning CodeNEW DEFINITION:APPLICABILITY:Vehicular use areas are defined as any area ofa lot not located within any enclosed or partiallyenclosed structure and that is devoted to a use byor for motor vehicles including parking (accessoryor non-accessory); and automotive uses asdefined in Section 223 that are not enclosed bya structure, including but not limited to storageof automobiles, trucks or other vehicles; gasolinestations; car washes; motor vehicle repair shops;loading areas; service areas and drives; andaccess drives and driveways.Newly-defined vehicular use areas should comply withlandscaping and screening requirements under thefollowing circumstances: Construction of new vehicular use area; If the property with the vehicular use area addsgross floor area equal to 20 percent or more ofthe gross floor area of an existing building or 3000square feet, whichever is less; If existing vehicle use area increases the numberof existing parking spaces by 4 or more; or If reconstruction of an existing vehicular use areainvolves the removal of 200 square feet or more ofthe asphalt, concrete or other pavement—exceptfor emergency utility access.10

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCE6.0 Permeable SurfacesNew Section: 102.33 Planning Code1234561. Porous asphalt2. Porous concrete3. Porous concrete detail4. Interlocking pavers/brick5. Interlocking pavers, planted (“Turf Pavers”)6. “Turf Pavers” detailBENEFITS:NEW DEFINITION:Permeable surfacesdecrease stormwaterrun-off and helpincrease water qualityof the ocean and thebay.Permeable surfaces are those that allow stormwaterto infiltrate the underlying soils. Permeable surfacesare required to be contained so neither sediment northe permeable surface discharges off the site.Permeable surfaces shall include but are not limitedto: Porous asphalt Porous concrete Single-sized aggregate Planting beds Open-jointed blocks Stone Pavers Brick that are loosely set without motor.11

7.0 Climate Appropriate PlantsNew Section: 802.1 Public Works Code-- Climate AppropriateChapter 63 of the Administrative Code-- Water Use RequirementsBENEFITS:NEW CLIMATE APPROPRIATE DEFINITION:California faces a realchallenge to meet thewater needs of a growingpopulation with alimited supply of water.To meet this challenge,water use in landscapesmust become moreefficient. Even modestimprovements can havea cumulative effect insaving a great deal ofwater.Plants, shrubs, ground covers, or tree species that meet one ofthe following are considered “climate appropriate”:1) classified as “low” or “very low” water use as determined bythe California Department of Water Resources. See “WaterUse Classification of Landscape Species” at cols00.pdf2) classified as “no water,” “little water,” or “little to moderatewater” for San Francisco according to the Sunset WesternAddition Garden Book;3) function as part of an engineered stormwater managementfeature approved by the San Francisco Public UtilitiesCommission;4) has been classified as low water use by San Francisco’sDepartment of Public Works, the Recreation and ParksDepartment, or Public Utilities Commission;5) appears on the “San Francisco Street Tree Species List”established by the Department of Public Works;6) is undergoing testing by the Department of Public Works orthe Recreation and Parks Department; or7) has been approved for a specific wet soil location by theDepartment of Public Works or Public Utilities Commissionbased on naturally occurring water sources.12

GUIDE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GREEN LANDSCAPING ORDINANCEAPPLICABILITY:Public Lands: New street trees, required trees andlandscaping in the public right-of-way shall meet the “climateappropriate” definitions in Section 802.1 of the Public WorksCode and the water use requirements of Chapter 63 of theAdministrative Code.Private Property: All newly planted landscaping shall complywith Chapter 63 of the Administrative Code.Climate appropriate plants are encouraged everywhere.13

FOR MORE INFORMATION:Contact the San Francisco Planning DepartmentCentral Reception49 South Van Ness Avenue, Suite 1400San Francisco, CA 94103Planning counter at the Permit Center49 South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd FloorSan Francisco, CA 94103TEL: 628.652.7600WEB: www.sfplanning.orgEMAIL: pic@sfgov.orgTEL: 628.652.7300For more information on climate appropriate plantingsand water use requirements:San Francisco Public Utilities CommissionStormwater Management Section stormwaterreview@sfwater.orgWater Conservation Section 415.551.4730 or waterconservation@sfwater.orgFor more information on sidewalk plantings or street tree permitscontact:Department of Public WorksBureau of Urban Forestry 628.652.4887 or

The Green Landscaping requirements: 5% permeable surface: 5% x 16,240 s.f. 812 s.f. 5' deep perimeter landscaping strip 5' x 360' 1,800 s.f. One on-site tree per 5 parking spaces One on-site tree per 20' frontage 5' landscaping strip at 360 perimeter approx. 1650 sf (after curbcuts, corners) 812 sf of permeable surface

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