Community Development Landscape FAQs
Trees and vegetation are used to ensure land use compatibility through proper use of vegetation as a transition area and screening.
Q: Does the Landscape Ordinance pertain to the entire County?
A: Yes, effective July 1, 2010, the entire unincorporated area of the County was included in the Landscape and Open Space Ordinance application area. Please note that most municipalities (incorporated areas) within the County have their own Landscape Ordinances and requirements. Please check with your local City/Town Hall for information regarding their regulations.
Reference: Landscape and Open Space Ordinance - Article 1, Section 1.5
Q: I am planning the construction of my own residence, how does the Landscape Ordinance affect me?
A: The scope of the Landscape and Open Space Ordinance does not apply to an individual’s single family (Residential Detached) residential lot or parcel. However, recent amendments to the Ordinance do include open space requirements for all proposed residential subdivisions with lot sizes less than 2 acres or which have at least ten lots.
Reference: Landscape and Open Space Ordinance - Article 1, Section 1.3
Q: I plan to construct a commercial building to be located in the unincorporated area of the County that falls under the Landscape and Open Space Ordinance. What is the procedure that I need to follow in order to meet the Ordinance?
A: Prior to any clearing activity, a joint application for Zoning and Landscape (one combined form) must be submitted to our office. A landscape plan that includes the total acreage of the property, the area to be developed, the location of existing and/or proposed buildings, parking areas, service areas, and existing or proposed detention/retention ponds must be submitted in conjunction with the application. Also, the location and identification of existing hardwood trees greater than 24 inches d.b.h. (diameter at breast height, which is measured from a 4.5-foot height above ground level), undisturbed natural buffers, and tree planting locations with specifications should be included in the plan.
Reference: Landscape and Open Space Ordinance – Article 3, Section 3.1.1
Q: My development plans include a large, metal siding type building. Is there a Landscape and Open Space Ordinance requirement for the building itself?
A: Unadorned, blank walls (typical of industrial, retail, or warehousing construction) shall have all facades that are visible from the road and are less than 500 feet from the road rights-of-way landscaped, or shall be architecturally designed to provide enhancement of any large expanse of walls.
Reference: Landscape and Open Space Ordinance – Article 3, Section 5
Q: The Landscape and Open Space Ordinance refers to canopy trees. What is a canopy tree?
A: A tree that is capable of growing to a mature height of more than 30 feet tall. Canopy trees (to be planted) must be a minimum of 2-inches caliper (measured 6 inches above ground) and be 10 feet tall at planting.
Reference: Landscape and Open Space Ordinance – Article 2,section 2.2, Caliper; Article 3, Section 3.1.3c
Q: I noticed where a wooded tract of land has recently been clearcut. Are there any regulations against doing that?
A: Forest management activities, including timber harvesting, as defined under SC State Law 48-23-205, are exempt from the Landscape and Open Space Ordinance. Although failure to do so is not a violation of the Ordinance, a simple notification should be made to the Landscape Administrator prior to conducting a forest management clear cut.
Development permits may be denied for a period of three years following a timber harvest if there was a willful intent to exercise the forest management exemption to circumvent any provision of the Landscape and Open Space Ordinance. Timber harvesting associated with the development or the conversion of forest land to non-forest land must be reviewed and approved in accordance with the Ordinance prior to a timber harvest.
Reference: Landscape and Open Space Ordinance – Article 3, Section 3.1.7
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