The staff and the Planning Commission recommend the proposed amendments to Chapter 25 of the Code of Ordinances, pertaining to landscape regulation to incorporate the Florida Friendly Landscape Ordinance.
The consumptive use permit, issued by Saint Johns River Water Management District, requires the City to adopt a Florida Friendly Landscape Ordinance. Lake County has already adopted a revised ordinance to meet the requirements and this proposed amended ordinance has mirrored the county’s ordinance where feasible. The purpose of the amended ordinance is to provide minimum standards for landscaping that meet the District’s requirements within the City of Leesburg. The proposed amended ordinance will set standards that are consistent with water efficient landscaping and help to protect our water resources for the future growth needs of the city.
In preparation for the workshop, the staff continued negotiations with the District to determine the minimum acceptable changes for compliance with the new standards and has prepared an Executive Summary for the Commission review along with a revised ordinance. Staff is confident that the proposed amendments will satisfy the District requirements while at the same time continuing to position the city as a business friendly community for new development. For example, many of the percentage requirements that trigger compliance with the new code provisions, have remained the same as currently in the city’s code and are below the requirements proposed in the model ordinance and adopted by the county (See sections 25-327.3.b. and 25-338.3.a.). Also, staff is recommending keeping the current area requirements for landscape islands in parking areas after consultation with a landscape architect (See Sec. 25-331.1.). Should other areas of the revised code need to be changed in the future, staff will initiate the needed amendments for Commission consideration.
1. Continue with the proposed amended ordinance’s adoption
2. Such alternative action as the Commission may deem appropriate