Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this Article shall be interpreted so as to give them the same meaning as they have in common usage.

BERM:  A mound or embankment of earth, usually two to six feet in height and with a slope not to exceed 3:1, used to shield or buffer properties from adjoining uses, highways or noise.  Additional plantings may be added to provide an effective visual screen.

BUFFER OR SCREEN: A built structure, such as a fence, wall or berm, or a landscaped area designed to provide a visual and/or dimensional separation between dissimilar land uses or to separate or block the view of a specific object or structure.  Where landscape plantings are used, they shall attain the required density and height within two years of planting and maintain a sufficient level of screening throughout the year.

Open buffer or screen:  An open weave or mesh type fence or low wall combined with plant materials to create the impression of a separation of spaces without necessarily eliminating visual contact between the spaces.  Typical Broken Screen Options:

Trees with a low wall

Trees with open weave fence

Trees with assorted shrubbery





Opaque Buffer or Screen. Impenetrable to view, or so obscuring to view that features, buildings, structures, and uses become visually indistinguishable.  The opaque screen must be opaque in all seasons of the year.  Typical Opaque Screen Options:

Evergreen shrubbery placed close enough to form a dense screen to the required height.

Wood fence with lowest wall at the minimum required height, low plants on outside of fence.

Evergreen trees, staggered, with branches touching the ground & opaque to the required height.





DRIP LINE:  A perimeter formed by the points farthest away from the trunk of a tree where precipitation falling from the branches of that tree lands on the ground.

GROUND COVER:  A low-growing plant other than turf grass that forms a continuous cover over the ground surface.

LANDSCAPE MATERIALS:  A combination of living plant materials and nonliving materials, such as rock, pebbles, mulch, pavers, berms, fencing, walls, fountains and other decorative materials.

LANDSCAPING:  The planting of shrubs, vines, turf, ground cover and the use of landscape materials such as mulch, bark, decorative rock and other similar materials that are combined and arranged in a manner to enhance both the aesthetic and the functional qualities of a site.

SIGNIFICANT OR EXCEPTIONAL TREE SPECIMEN:  An existing tree in fair or better condition that has been determined to be of a high value by a knowledgeable person because of its species, size, age or other professional criteria.

a.    A tree is considered in fair or better condition if

(1)   its life expectancy is greater than fifteen (15) years;

(2)   it has a relatively sound & solid trunk with no extensive decay or insect infestation.

b.    Hardwood trees such as oaks and hickories that are of a 12 inch caliper or more and soft-wood trees such as pines and cedars, which are 16 feet in height or more, and small hardwoods such as dogwoods, redbuds or sourwoods with calipers of 6 inches or more may be considered significant trees due to size.

SHRUB:  A self-supporting woody plant that normally reaches a height of less than 15 feet.

TREE:  A self-supporting, perennial, woody plant usually with a well-defined trunk that normally reaches a height of at least fifteen (15) feet.  Small Trees generally range from 15- 30 feet in height.  Large Trees are normally 50-70 feet in height at maturity.

TURF:  Ground cover composed of one or more species of perennial grass that is grown as a permanent lawn and will withstand reasonable traffic.

40 Plant Units (shrubs only) for every 100 feet of strip length.  Plant units may be reduced or omitted if an earthen berm, opaque fencing or a decorative wall design is approved.



Figure 1: Shrubs



Figure 2: Shrubs


In general low shrubs & perennials shall be used to accomplish Perimeter Parking Lot Screening (Fig 1). These shall be planted in a design that will achieve the greatest coverage possible. Upright evergreen shrubs or small ornamental trees may be included for added interest. (Fig 2). 




Figure 3:  Wall 




Figure 4: Fence  




If a decorative fence or wall is used, the Planning Commission may waive some or all PU requirements depending upon the effectiveness of the design in screening the parking area. 




Figure 5: Berm



Berms may be from 3 to 6 feet tall, and varying in height along their length.  Berms may be augmented with shrubs and small trees as needed to provide sufficient screening.


Type of Plant Material

Minimum Size/ Height at Planting

Plant Units





Medium or Large


2” caliper @ 12”

above ground level


Evergreen and Conifer

6 feet height

above ground level


Small Deciduous and Ornamental

1.5 caliper @ 12”

above ground level




Upright Evergreen and Perennial Shrubs

(Minimum 5 gallon)

4 feet height

above ground level


Evergreen Shrubs,

 Deciduous & Flowering Bushes

18” – 24” spread


Perennial Flowers and Ornamental Grasses

Minimum 1 gallon


Buffer requirements decrease as the width of the buffer increases.  The minimum number of trees is specified and this can be either any of the trees designated in the Plant Unit Table.  The balance of the Plant Unit must be achieved with shrubs, bushes, perennials, and ornamental grasses.  No annual plants shall be considered for permanent landscaping purposes. 

*Fence, wall or buffer requirements may be waived in part or completely by the Planning Commission when the property line abuts a site or right-of-way with an existing fence, wall or berm meeting the requirements of this Article.



Generally used between low density subdivisions of different zoning and

between low-density residential uses when abutting the C-1 District.




OPTION 1:   


Width        Trees          Other       Total         

10’        20 PU        10 PU      30








OPTION 2:                                                               


Width        Trees          Other       Total                      

15’          10 PU        10 PU      20










OPTION 3:   


Width        Trees          Other       Total                      

20’          10 PU        5 PU        15 PU










Generally used between low density when abutting multi-family residential or

commercial uses and between M-1, C-2 & O/I when abutting M-2 uses.





Width        Trees          Other       Total                          

15’          30 PU        20 PU      50 PU





*If a fence, wall or berm is used, Total                    

Plant Units may be reduced to 25 with                                                                                                 

at least 1 tree









Width        Trees          Other          Total                                                                                          

20’          20 PU        25 PU        40 PU


*If a fence, wall or berm is used, Total

Plant Units may be reduced to 20 with

at least 1 tree









Width        Trees          Other         Total

25’          20 PU        20 PU        40 PU



*If a fence, wall or berm is used, Total

Plant Units may be reduced to 15 with

at least one tree










Width        Trees          Other         Total

30’          20 PU        15 PU        35 PU



*If a fence, wall or berm is used, Total

Plant Units may be reduced to 10 with at

least one tree.







Generally between uses with large conflict—generally M-2 to C-1 or Residential Zoning





Width        Trees          Other         Total                       

20’          30 PU        30 PU        60 PU


*A fence, wall or berm is required








Width        Trees          Other         Total                         

30’          30 PU        25 PU        55 PU


*A fence, wall or berm is required                            








Width        Trees          Other         Total

40’          40 PU        50 PU        90 PU       


*If a fence wall or berm is used, Total

 Plant Units may be reduced to 45 with

at least 3 trees







Trees & Shrubs only—no flowers or grasses



Abutting a Collector or Local Street                         


WIDTH:          10 Feet

PLANTS:        1 Large Deciduous Tree (10 PU)       

per 75’






Abutting an Arterial Street                                        


WIDTH:          10 Feet

PLANTS:        1 Large Deciduous Tree (10 PU)

per 75 linear feet of frontage

plus 15 PU per 100’ of frontage                                                                                                                                              


TOTAL PU:    28.3 PU per 100 linear feet.






Abutting K-10 Highway                                        


WIDTH:          30 Feet


PLANTS:        1 Large Deciduous Tree (10 PU)

per 50’ linear feet of frontage

plus 40 PU per 100’ of frontage          


TOTAL PU:    60 PU per 100 linear feet.



*If a berm is used, additional Plant Units may

be reduced by 50%