The Pasco County Commission has amended the county’s land development code to update its landscaping regulations.
The changes address issues such as tree preservation and replacement, green space requirements and standards, landscaping, and buffering and plantings in rights of way in residential subdivisions.
Here’s a look at some of the key changes. The revisions:
- Add the ability for development plans to utilize representative samples for tree removal,
subject to the county’s discretion
- Remove the requirement to submit an Alternative Standard Application when using existing
trees/shrubs as part of the landscape buffer
- Reduce the requirement that 70% of the landscape buffer be other than grass
- Updated information relating to invasive species
- Added a reference to “right tree, right place”
- Made it easier to use existing vegetation for buffers
- Defined “shade trees” and “ornamental trees”
- Clarified when palm trees may be used
- Updated ground cover planting requirements
- Updated tree diversity requirements
- Added language regarding the proper maintenance of trees
- Added language about keeping future planting areas free of debris
- Added requirement of one shade tree in the front yard of new single-family homes
- Updated and clarified requirements regarding landscaping in vehicle use areas
- Increased the size of require landscape islands. Previously, they had to be 8 feet wide; that has been increased to 10 feet.
- Added requirements for large vehicle, vehicle use areas (VUA)
- Clarified plantings adjacent to building perimeters
- Revamped the Buffer Requirement Table.
- Revamped the Buffer and Screening Requirements Table
- Adjusted the Vehicle Dealership Buffer
- Added standards for ponds adjacent to rights of way
The changes were recommended by a task force, made up of county staff, members of the Tampa Bay Builders Association, experts in landscape architecture, an arborist, and a representative from the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)/Pasco County Cooperative Extension.
The group looked at some issues raised by TBBA, but a number of other items also surfaced during the review, according to Patrick Dutter, a planner for Pasco County.
One change deals with how tree replacements are calculated. Instead of measuring every tree on a project site, representative samples will be permitted — based on county approval.
The code also updates links to outside resources that had become outdated, Dutter said.
It also has a link to an invasive species list.
The tree list that had been presented as part of the code has been moved to the development review manual, so it can be updated on a timelier basis, Dutter said during a previous presentation on the changes.
Also, the cooperative extension representative and the tree arborist went through the list of trees, found the appropriate spacing requirements, called out where mitigation measures would be needed and where they wouldn’t be needed, Dutter added. The tree list calls out where different types of trees should be placed.
The issue of landscaping requirements has come up repeatedly during Pasco County Commission meetings, with Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey and Commissioner Ron Oakley making persistent calls for changes that would promote better-looking development in Pasco.
Published May 11, 2022