TAVARES — At its regularly scheduled meeting this week, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved a new landscaping ordinance that encourages new residential and commercial developments to use drought-tolerant, native landscaping to help conserve water.
Highlights of the new ordinance include:
• Eliminates the requirement for installed irrigation that reduces the development costs for commercial and other development projects. Temporary and micro-irrigation are specifically allowed but not required.
• Eliminates the buffer requirements between industrial properties reducing the cost for these developments.
• Limits new development to 60 percent non-drought tolerant turf.
• Eased the compliance requirement for existing development from 25 percent improvement to 50 percent improvement before having to comply with the new landscaping regulations to encourage redevelopment and make expansion more affordable for small business.
• Provides an exemption to the buffer requirements for existing developed properties to encourage redevelopment.
• Provides standards to ensure that native plants and a variety of plants are installed.
• Provides for increased mitigation for trees removed for development. To encourage preservation of existing trees the ordinance replaced the previous requirement of one 2-inch tree for every 3-trees of any size removed. The new requirement is half of the inches of each tree removed.
The Lake County Department of Growth Management, Planning & Community Design Division, will be scheduling informative workshops in the future to discuss the new ordinance with interested parties. To contact the Planning & Community Design Division, call (352) 343-9739.