Layton council adopts water-saving landscaping requirements for most new development | News
LAYTON – In the midst of a historic year of drought, Layton City appears to be taking the lead in community water conservation.
Last week, Layton City Council unanimously approved a number of changes to its Landscaping Ordinance, which will implement a number of new water saving requirements for all new developments outside of most single-family homes. City officials say the move will significantly reduce future water use in Davis County’s most populous city.
The amended ordinance limits, among other things, the maximum share of lawns for all new non-residential, multi-family or mixed-use residential projects to 15% of the total landscaped area of a development. Exceptions would be allowed for outdoor recreational use and for things like cemeteries. In masterfully planned housing developments (which can also include single-family houses), the lawn area is limited to 35% of the total landscaped area.
The amendments to the ordinance also stipulate that lawns may not be laid out in areas less than 2.40 m wide and not in landscape buffers, green parking spaces and other planted bedding landscape areas or on slopes with a slope of more than 25. % is permitted. The ordinance also requires that at least 90% of the plants and trees for a project’s landscaping be selected from the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District’s Recommended Plant List that includes vegetation more suitable for Northern Utah’s climate and less water needed.
Tim Watkins, Layton’s town planner, said while the regulation changes are required for most new developments, the practices are recommended for new single-family homes as well. With the amendment to the ordinance, the regulation that required a minimum lawn area for a single-family house was also deleted.
Layton Borough Councilor Dawn Fitzpatrick said she liked the new ordinance but thought the city could have gone further by making the new requirements a standard for all new builds of any type in the future.
“This is a very important topic to me,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’ve been believing in this … for about 10 years. This has just been a good year to move forward because I think people fully understand that there is a problem … (but) I think it is a really good start for us. “
Mayor Joy Petro said the city’s planning commission played a huge role in developing the new ordinance.
“You spent a lot of time doing it,” she said. “I know they went on field trips and really made sure they studied all the important topics that we needed to consider.”
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, almost all of Davis County is in “extreme drought,” the second most important drought classification under the NIDIS monitoring system. According to NIDIS, during an extreme drought, the following can occur: pasture and water are inadequate for cattle, air quality is poor, dust is a problem, vegetation is stressed and the risk of fire increases dramatically.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox has issued several drought emergency statements since March and put in place a number of water restrictions. Earlier this month, Cox banned the use of fireworks in all state and unincorporated lands in Utah.
“All the indicators show that this could be the worst drought year ever,” said Cox in early June.