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Thread: Zoning amendments: landscaping vs grading, RV parks

  1. #1
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
    Feb 2003
    coastal rainforest

    Zoning amendments: landscaping vs grading, RV parks

    I am not a plus member (yet) so I can't post this in the new Peer Review folder but hopefully this spot works, too. (Actually, even if I were a plus member, I'd still prefer starting this thread in this forum.)

    I am tasked with overhauling a county land use code and hope to use this thread to gain feedback on a variety of land uses and development activities.

    First one:

    Exceptions to development permits: I need to discern 'landscaping' from 'grading' (landscaping is exempt from permit requirements; grading is not). In my mind, landscaping is typically done by hand and grading involves heavy equipment of some sort. Anyone work with a code that provides a reasonable/understandable/defensible break point between landscaping and grading? I imagine I can get there using defintions and/or descriptive code language but I'm concerned about either being too subjective and/or inflexible.

    Second one:

    RV Park Models: Has anyone ever used design standards to distinguish RV Park Models from 'standard' RV's (i.e., 5th wheels, travel trailers, buses). Our county has several remote parcels that were platted 100 or so years ago for recreational purposes and there is much interest in allowing park model RV's (erected in compliance with manufactured dwelling standards) as primary uses on lots of record.

    That's it for now. Much more to come in the upcoming days and weeks.


  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Moderator note:
    No problem posting in this subforum. The Peer Review subforum is meant for much larger documents where the poster might have to sacrifice some of their anonymity.

    From the APA Planners Dictionary (I think referencing it is fair use; these are limited sections of the publication, and the quoted sections are from land use regulations that are generally not copyrighted.)

    grading (See also excavation; filling)

    An excavating or filling or combination thereof. (A) Regular grading: Any grading that involves 5,000 cubic yards or less of material. (B) Engineered grading: Any grading that involves more than 5,000 cubic yards of material. (Renton, Wash.)

    The act of excavation or filling or combination thereof or any leveling to a smooth horizontal or sloping surface on a property, but not including normal cultivation associated with an agricultural operation. (Island County, Wash.)

    Any stripping, cutting, filling, or stockpiling of earth or land, including the land in its cut or filled condition, to create new grades. (Clarkdale, Ariz.; Bondurant, Iowa)

    Any excavation, filling, removing the duff layer or any combination thereof. (Burien, Wash.)


    The bringing of the soil surface to a smooth finished grade, installing sufficient trees, shrubs, ground cover, and grass to soften building lines, provide shade, and generally produce a pleasing visual effect of the premises. (North Kansas City, Mo.)

    The area within the boundaries of a given lot that consists of planting materials, including but not limited to trees, shrubs, ground covers, grass, flowers, decorative rock, bark, mulch, and other similar materials. At least 50 percent of the landscaping area must be covered by live plant material at the time of plant maturity. (Fayetteville, Ark.)

    The modification of the landscape for an aesthetic or functional purpose. It includes the preservation of existing vegetation and the continued maintenance thereof together with grading and installation of minor structures and appurtenances. (Kauai, Hawaii)

    An expanse of scenery including lawns, trees, plants, and other organic or inorganic materials used to soften or mitigate the impacts of development. (Clarkdale, Ariz.)

    The finishing and adornment of unpaved yard areas. Materials and treatment generally include naturally growing elements such as grass, trees, shrubs, and flowers. This treatment may also include the use of logs, rocks, fountains, water features, and contouring of the earth. (North Liberty, Iowa)

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