City Receives Award for Its Landscape Requirements

By The Cheney Group | On

City Landscapting

Darell S. Bagley, the City of Frisco’s senior landscape architect, recently accepted a Merit Award from the Texas chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in behalf of the Development Services Department. The award acknowledges the Department’s efforts in framing and implementing Frisco’s new landscape requirements, which the ASLA says “exemplify a commitment to sustainability in one of America’s fastest growing cities, strengthening landscape standards and making use of a new easier to understand graphical format.”

The ordinance, which took effect last year and is a revision of the 2006 ordinance, provides the City with a way to measure landscape performance and the means to track it. The ordinance includes an annual landscape water allowance and measurement tools to reduce landscape water consumption by 50% over conventional development, and it designates landscape water resource zones to protect water quality and manage stormwater, along with natural landscape zones that do not require irrigation.

The City now also requires the efficient use of irrigation, smart controllers, hydro zones and no-spray zones, and the use of shade tree planting to mitigate urban heat island effect and reduce energy consumption. It encourages pedestrian friendly streets and retail frontages, and the protection and promotion of healthy soils.

The requirements have greatly impacted landscape design in both the City and the region, and have influenced other cities to adopt similar standards. In fact, the Awards Jury (Louisiana’s ASLA Chapter) noted that this should be a model landscape ordinance for other cities to follow.

Since the ordinance was implemented in December 2006, it is estimated that 224 million gallons have been saved thus far. More than 231,432 square feet of water resource zones — mostly bioretention — has been constructed. And 8,160 canopy trees have been planted on commercial properties, with many more trees planted along residential streets still to be inventoried. The research efforts of this project also led to the development of a City Smart Irrigation Controller rebate program with the 2006 ordinance update.

Bagley, who has been with the City for 10 years, said he was “very excited” to receive the award in behalf of Development Services and to be a part of this effort. “Our landscape requirements are on the cutting edge.”

George Purefoy, City Manager, asked several department directors several years ago to review and develop alternatives to conserve and encourage the efficient use of water. John Lettelleir, the City’s Director of Development Services, created an internal team, with Bagley as the project manager for reviewing ways to conserve water on private property. Bagley involved landscape architects and developers in the development of the ordinance. During the process, commercial land owners came to support the proposed changes because the recommended changes would reduce their watering requirements. Many of the important “green concepts” put forth in this ordinance were first put into place in the City’s ’06 amendment, before being refined into the new ordinance.

Though there was some initial resistance to the new requirements, most properties have been able to meet the water use parameters, with many properties watering well below expectations.

“Everyone realizes we need to conserve water,” Bagley says. “The water (issue) could really shut everything down if we’re not careful with it.”

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