Council Meeting 12-13-2011                                                    Santa Monica, California

 

 

 

ORDINANCE NUMBER ____  (CCS)

 

(City Council Series)

 

 

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA
UPDATING CHAPTER 8.108 SUBPART B OF THE SANTA MONICA MUNICIPAL CODE RELATED TO LANDSCAPING, LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION AND WATER CONSERVATION

WHEREAS, in recent years there has been both worldwide and local concerns raised about escalating water costs and the effects of global warming; and

WHEREAS, the State of California, including the City of Santa Monica, suffers from recurring severe drought conditions and even during non-drought periods water is a scarce resource throughout Southern California; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica receives on average less than 15 inches of precipitation annually and in some years precipitation can be as little as 3 inches; and

WHEREAS, in recent years the City of Santa Monica has relied almost exclusively on water imported from Northern California or from the Colorado River to meet its water needs; and

WHEREAS, the imported water supply from Northern California and from the Colorado River cannot be reliably depended upon by the City of Santa Monica due to reoccurring drought conditions throughout the western United States, and due to federal and state regulations limiting such water for urban uses; and

WHEREAS, conservation of water is critically important if the City of Santa Monica is to sustain itself, survive drought as well as emergencies and natural disasters; and

WHEREAS, water shortage conditions within the State of California and within the City of Santa Monica can arise on short notice as a result of drought, natural disaster, or other emergency events that critically impact the availability of water. As a result, the residents and business operators of the City of Santa Monica live under an almost constant threat of water shortage; and

WHEREAS, inefficient irrigation devices and watering practices, particularly related to maintenance of landscapes, result in the waste of ever scarcer water resources; and

WHEREAS, high water-demanding plant materials represent enormous drains on the City’s already limited water resources; and

WHEREAS, water features with large surface areas require significant amounts of water to refill, due to surface evaporation, thus creating an unnecessarily high water demand on the City’s limited water resources; and

WHEREAS, the City is committed to reducing inefficient use of water resources for irrigation so as to maximize the availability of potable water for essential residential and business uses; and

WHEREAS, the standards and requirements set forth in this ordinance are consistent in principle with the goals, objectives, policies, land uses and programs specified in the adopted General Plan; and

WHEREAS, Government Code Section 65595 mandates the creation of an updated state-wide model water efficient landscape ordinance, which would apply to all municipalities in California, unless a local agency adopted a local water-efficient landscape ordinance that is, based on evidence in the record, at least as effective in conserving water as the updated state-wide model ordinance; and

WHEREAS,   at its December 8, 2009 meeting, the City Council adopted a local water efficient landscape ordinance which exceeds the standards set out in the state model water efficient landscape ordinance; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica has a long standing commitment to leadership in water and other resource conservation; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica continues to be committed toward exceeding the standards set out in the state model water efficient landscape ordinance; and

WHEREAS, botanical gardens, arboretums and historical sites within the City serve important public purposes, including educating the public, preserving the City’s historical and cultural history, and fostering civic pride; and

WHEREAS, exempting such sites from requirements of the City’s water efficient landscape ordinance is fully consistent with the above public purposes and with state law;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1.     Section 8.108.080 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code is hereby added to read as follows:

8.108.080     Exemptions

This Subpart shall not apply to:

a)       Registered local, state or federal historical sites; or

b)       Plant collections, as part of botanical gardens and arboretums open to the public.

Section 2.     Section 8.108.090 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

8.108.090 Definitions.

     For purposes of Subpart B of this Chapter, the following words or phrases shall be defined as follows:

(a)   Hydrozone. A portion of the landscaped area having plants that are grouped according to similar water needs based on microclimate, irrigation type and plant water requirements among other factors. A hydrozone may or may not be irrigated.

(b)   Impermeable Hardscape. Any form of pavement or other surface which is not designed to permit water to pass through it to the soil below.

(c)   Irrigation System. Any system, excluding water features, for distribution of water through a pressurized system within the landscape area, including but not limited to any system in which any portion is installed below grade or affixed to any structure.

(d)   Landscaped Area. Landscaped area, including parkways, as defined by Section 9.04.02.030.430 of this Code.

(e)   Landscaping. Modification of the ground surface with live planting materials such as trees, shrubs, turf, groundcover or other horticultural materials; as well as non-living materials such as mulch, synthetic turf, permeable hardscape, or stone.

(f)    Maintenance. The upkeep of any landscaped area, landscaping or irrigation system.

(g)   Major Remodel. Repair, alteration or rehabilitation of any existing building whereby the cost associated with such activities exceeds fifty percent of the building’s replacement cost, as defined by Section 8.84.040 of this Code.

(h)   Modifications. Replacement or addition to any existing landscaping or irrigation system.

(i)    Mulch. Any organic material such as leaves, bark, wood chips, straw, compost, or inorganic mineral materials such as rocks, gravel, and decomposed granite left loose and applied to the soil surface for the beneficial purposes of reducing evaporation, suppressing weeds, moderating soil temperature, and preventing soil erosion.

(j)    Parkway. The portion of the public right-of-way as defined by Section 7.24.030 of this Code.

(k)   Permeable Hardscape. Any form of pavement or other surface that allows the passage of water and air through the material and into the underlying soil, such as but not limited to, driveways, walkways, patios, streets and alleys.

(l)    Public Right-of-Way. As defined by Section 6.28.020 of this Code.

(m)  Substantial Remodel. Alteration of or addition to an existing building as defined by Section 9.04.18.085.

(n)   Urban Runoff. Water and suspended or dissolved materials deposited on surfaces and washed by storms or other sources of flowing water, through the flood control system to the ocean.

(o)   Water Feature. An outdoor design element in which open water performs an aesthetic or recreational function. Water features may include ponds, lakes, waterfalls, fountains, and streams, where water is artificially supplied. Constructed wetlands used for on-site wastewater treatment or stormwater best management practices that are not irrigated and are used solely for water treatment or stormwater retention are not water features. Hot tub, spa, permanent swimming or wading pool are not considered water features.

Section 3.     Section 8.108.100 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

8.108.100 Requirements.

(a)   Major remodel, substantial remodel or new construction projects, including projects undertaken by a public agency, must comply with the following requirements:

     (1)   Compliance with the adopted Water-Efficient Landscape and Irrigation Standards.

     (2)   Submission of plans and reports to the City for review and approval prior to the installation of landscaping and/or irrigation system. The required plans under this subsection may include: grading plan, urban runoff plan, landscape plan with hydrozone matrix, irrigation plan, street tree protection plan, and any other plans or reports as deemed necessary by the Manager of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, consistent with the purpose and requirements of this Subpart. Notwithstanding the above, single-family properties installing no landscaping, other than mulch, and no irrigation system are exempt from this plan submission requirement.

     (3)   No certificate of occupancy or final building permit shall be issued until the landscaping and/or irrigation system has been installed and demonstrated to operate in full compliance with this Code.

(b)   Modifications to any existing landscaping or irrigation system or installation of any new landscaping or irrigation system not associated with major remodel, substantial remodel or new construction projects, including such activities undertaken by a public agency, must comply with the adopted Water-Efficient Landscape and Irrigation Standards.

(c)   Maintenance of any existing landscaping or irrigation system, including such maintenance activities undertaken by a public agency, must comply with the Maintenance Section of the adopted Water-Efficient Landscape and Irrigation Standards.

(d)   Landscaped areas maintained without an irrigation system are exempt from all irrigation requirements of the adopted Water-Efficient Landscape and Irrigation Standards.

(e)      New water feature installations must comply with the requirements of the Water Features Section of the adopted Water-Efficient Landscape and Irrigation Standards.

Section 4.     Any provision of the Santa Monica Municipal Code or appendices thereto inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance, to the extent of such inconsistencies and no further, is hereby repealed or modified to that extent necessary to effect the provisions of this Ordinance.

Section 5.  If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance.  The City Council hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any portion of the ordinance would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.

Section  6.  The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of this Ordinance.  The City Clerk shall cause the same to be published once in the official newspaper within 15 days after its adoption.   This Ordinance shall become effective 30 days from its adoption.

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

 

 

_________________________

MARSHA JONES MOUTRIE

City Attorney