The Piedmont Park Commission gave its blessing Wednesday night to a new Bay-friendly landscaping ordinance, a move that will let the city qualify for $22,000 in grant funding for the current fiscal year and will encourage local residents to incorporate more drought-resistant, low-maintenance planting in their gardens.
The proposed ordinance will come before the Planning Commission on May 14 for its recommendation and to the Piedmont City Council for approval on June 4.
The proposal is based on StopWaste.org's model ordinance for Bay-friendly landscaping and addresses issues such as mulching, heavy use of native, Mediterranean or other climate-adapted plants, minimizing space devoted to lawns, and irrigation systems. It aims to reduce garden maintenance as well as to conserve water.
Margaret Overden, who's active in the local environmental group Piedmont Connect but spoke as a private citizen, urged the commission to take the ordinance beyond the StopWaste.org model so that it would apply to more homes and landscaping projects.
Commissioners opted, though, to recommend the ordinance as presented but to ensure that residents applying for building permits or design review are made aware of Bay-friendly practices and the availability of more information from the city.
Kevin Jackson, assistant city planner, told commission members that in practice, the proposed ordinance would affect very few Piedmont residents. Its provisions apply mainly to large areas of landscaping (2,500 square feet or more) and to projects that require city permits or design review, so it won't apply to most local garden remodels, he said. He could think of only two residential projects in recent years that would have fallen under its provisions.
The complete meeting agenda, which includes details of the proposed ordinance, is attached as a PDF. (It's 76 pages long.)