Crestwood establishes landscape standards

Crestwood aldermen adopt updated landscape code

Crestwood City Hall

Photo by Gloria Lloyd

Crestwood City Hall

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Crestwood has established minimum standards for landscaping after the Board of Aldermen approved an updated landscape code at its meeting last month. 

In January, the Planning and Zoning Commission began working to update Crestwood’s landscape standards in the city’s municipal code. The commission finalized these recommendations in June, and the Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the changes during a second reading at its Aug. 24 meeting.

The new code is part of a joint effort with local consulting firm SWT Design and recommendations were sourced from around the region. 

Changes include “minimum standards for the provision, installation, maintenance, and removal of landscape plantings in order to achieve a healthy, visually pleasing, and safe community,” according to a memo by City Planner John Cruz. 

More specifically, a points system for assessing standards compliance, various landscape buffer requirements for properties based on parcel and neighboring parcel zoning, diagrams for street tree planting, buffers and foundation planting, lists of acceptable species for trees and prohibited street trees and plan submission requirements for landscape plans are all now established in the code. 

Cruz said the acceptable trees chosen, like various species of oaks, magnolias and maples, were picked because they are visually appealing, non-invasive and provide shade.

Ward 2 Alderman Justin Charboneau had concerns the new code wouldn’t be accessible to the average person because so much text can overcomplicate something simple.

“For the average citizen do you think this is spelled out pretty easily for them, that they’re going to have no issues?” Charboneau asked. “I just want to make sure we aren’t overcomplicating things so when the average citizen wants to make an improvement to their property we aren’t overburdening them.”

Cruz said he believes the code is accessible, but it can be improved.

“We’ve put a lot of things together, like flow charts that talk about what the development process is and what it means to open a business in Crestwood,” Cruz said. “I think we can certainly do something similar with this that says ‘Do I need a landscape code, do I need a landscape design, what do I need to be in compliance with the code?’ and follow through step by step based on what you’re developing.”

Cruz said city staff will make guides through the code a priority moving forward.