Landscape Ordinance Update

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The Ames City Council is interested in considering changes to the current landscape ordinance in the City of Ames Zoning Ordinance. The City has hired Confluence of Des Moines to provide consulting services to help generate ideas and provide insight that will help develop new landscape standards for the City of Ames, including: 

  • Parking Lots
  • Screening
  • Open Space Areas
  • Plantings
  • Visual Interest and Aesthetics
  • Environmental Impacts

Check back often to see updates on this process and additional information. 


June 27, 2017 Council Meeting

At the June 27, 2017 City Council Meeting, the City Council completed the third and final reading of the new Landscape Ordinance. The new standards affect numerous areas of the zoning ordinance and involve a major transformation of Section 29.403. The final ordinance is the culmination of more than 18 months of work between the Ames City Council, development stakeholders, the Ames Planning & Zoning Commission and City staff. Linked below are the new landscape standards which have been broken into two parts. The first part involves the revisions made to the landscape standards and related site design standards in Article 4. The second linked document highlights changes to the zone development standards where applicable. These new landscape design standards will provide developers and owners of commercial, industrial and multi-family residential sites with new landscape design options and is anticipated will provide improved landscape design across the community.

NEW!  New Landscape Standards

NEW!  Additional Ordinance Changes 

 April 11, 2017 Council Meeting

At its April 11 meeting the Ames City Council reviewed and discussed the proposed draft landscape standards language for residential and commercial site landscaping. Staff presented the proposed framework and discussed the major changes being proposed in the proposed new language. The proposed language sets new standards for landscaping in front yards and parking lots, maintaining screening standards for residential sites while eliminating screening requirements for commercial sites. Additionally the proposal eliminates standards requiring uniform placement of shrubs and sets new standards for trees in parking lots on all sites. The City Council directed staff to prepare the language for a public hearing. A power point presentation and staff report presented to the Council at the April 11 meeting is posted below,

NEW!  City Council Power Point Update

NEW!  Landscape Ordinance Text Amendment Staff Report

March 1, 2017 Workshop

 At its February 1 and February 15 Planning & Zoning Commission meetings the Commission reviewed proposed standards for new landscape regulations on commercial, industrial and multi-family residential sites and asked for more input from staff and the landscape workgroup. On March 1st, Planning staff held a meeting with the landscape workgroup at the Ames Public Library to present a rough draft landscape ordinance for the group's review and input. Linked below is the draft ordinance as presented to the workgroup at the March 1st meeting. This draft ordinance language will be reviewed for consideration by the Planning & Zoning Commission at its March 15th meeting. 

NEW!  Draft Landscape Ordinance  

January 17, 2017 Workshop

At the November 15, 2016 City Council meeting, the Council directed staff to shift focus away from the scored 'point system' approach and pursue an alternate design to revise the City's landscape ordinance found in Chapter 29.403 of the Municipal Code. On Tuesday, January 17 at 2:00 p.m. at the Ames Public Library, staff will meet with stakeholders to discuss pursuing a new form for the landscape ordinance and give stakeholders an opportunity to give feedback and input to staff at this meeting.

Memorandum & Proposed Landscape Standards

Landscape Scoring Draft Alternatives Staff Report, November 15, 2016 City Council Meeting

September 27, 2016 Workshop

At its August workshop meeting, the Ames City Council directed staff to meet with development stakeholders to further refine the landscape scoring system presented to the City Council. On Tuesday, September 27 at 1:30 PM at the Ames Public Library, staff will meet with stakeholders to discuss further the specifics of the various scoring criteria and their significance in the overall draft proposal. Staff will then propose to Council a scoring system from input received at this meeting.

September 7, 2016 Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting

At the Wednesday, September 7, 2016, Planning & Zoning Commission meeting staff made a presentation to the Commission that outlined the background on City Council referrals and goals related to landscape ordinance improvements. Staff updated the Commission on 2016 initiatives including work with the City's consultant, Confluence, as well as workshops that were held with stakeholders to identify concerns, perceived shortcomings and suggestions for improvements in the landscape ordinance. Staff also provided the Commission with a draft proposal of a point-based landscape scoring system and gave an overview presentation on the City's landscape ordinance and proposed alterations.

 Planning & Zoning Commission Landscape Update Presentation

August 16, 2016 City Council Workshop

On Tuesday, August 16 at 6:00 PM, the Ames City Council will have a workshop to discuss the proposed revisions to landscape regulations in Chapter 29 of the Municipal Code. This workshop is a culmination of input received from various development stakeholders in the community as well as the City's consultant, Confluence. The City Council will consider direction for staff after review and discussion of the proposed ordinance change. Staff will then draft an ordinance from the direction received from the City Council.

 Landscaping Ordinance - Ranking System (Revised)

 Landscape Scoring System Workshop Presentation

 Landscape Scoring Draft Report

May 25, 2016 Workshop 

At its April 26, 2016 meeting, the City Council directed the Planning and Housing Department to develop a 'point based' landscape ordinance. This would involve the development of a rating system with certain criteria assigning value via a targeted number of points required to achieve a set of desired landscape design options when reviewing site plans for approval. On May 25, City staff met with various development stakeholders to introduce a draft concept of the ordinance and get feedback as well as further input into the development of this ordinance. Input from the workshop will be used to further develop new ordinance language. The link below features the draft presented at the workshop.

Landscaping Ordinance - Ranking System (Draft Proposal)

March 30, 2016 Workshop

Staff Report

January 28, 2016 Workshop

Meeting Comments 


Staff Report to the City Council identifying potential landscaping issues in the City of Ames.

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