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Construction & Land Use Commercial Buildings Water Efficient Landscaping
Water Efficient Landscaping

Link to Water Usage Summary Account Login Web PageOn November 17, 2009 the City Council adopted the Water Conservation Plumbing Fixture Standards Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance. The ordinance went into effect beginning January 1, 2010. All projects applying for a Building Permit after January 1, 2010 or remodeling landscape projects beginning January 1, 2010 will be required to comply with the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

Water Efficient Landscaping BHMC (Ordinance Number 09-O-2574)
Water Efficient Landscaping Regulations


REQUIRED ON ALL PROPERTIES WITH:

  • New residential development projects.
  • New commercial development projects.
  • New Landscaped Areas over 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Altered Landscaped Areas over 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Download Interactive Landscape Water Budget FormsDownload Landscape Water Budget Forms50% or larger modifications of existing landscaped areas over 2,500 sq. ft.
  • New landscape irrigation systems installations.
  • Stand-alone projects or projects that do not otherwise require a building permit, formal planning, or other commission approval for review.
  • City projects.

 

EXCEPTIONS – EXCLUDED PROJECTS

 

  • Projects which involve alterations or additions to, or retrofits of, existing residential, commercial, or public structures or facilities, unless the Landscape Area is altered by more than 50% in total area.
  • Projects with landscaped areas of less than 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Landscaping that is part of a property listed on an applicable local, state or national register of historic places.
  • Plant collections as part of gardens and arboretums open to the public.

 

ORDINANCE PLAN REVIEW AND PERMIT REQUIREMENTS:

 


 Landscape Design Plan

  1. Include description of plant material.
  2. Address fire safety and prevention if landscape is located in Very High Fire Hazard Security Zone.
  3. Invasive species are prohibited near parks, buffers, greenbelts, and open spaces.
  4. Architectural guidelines of common interest developments can’t prohibit use of low water-use plants.
  5. Turf not allowed on slopes greater than 25% where the toe of the slope is adjacent to an impermeable hardscape (25% slope is equal to 1 ft. of vertical elevation change for every 4 ft. of horizontal length).
  6. Recirculating water systems must be used as a source for water features.
  7. Surface area of a water feature must be included in the high water use hydrozone area of the water budget calculation.
  8. Pool and spa covers are highly recommended.
  9. Minimum of 2 inches of mulch must be applied on all exposed soil surfaces of planting areas except in turf areas, creeping or rooting groundcovers, or direct seeding applications where mulch is not advisable.
  10. Stabilizing mulch products must be used on slopes.
  11. Mulching portion of the seed/mulch slurry in hydro-seeded applications must meet the mulching requirement of soil report specifications or 2 inch minimum, whichever is greater.
  12. Soil amendments must be incorporated according to recommendations of the soil report, if any, and what is appropriate for the plants selected.

Irrigation Design Plan

  1. SMART IRRIGATION CONTROLLERS OR OTHER APPROVED SELF ADJUSTING DEVICES ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL IRRIGATION SYSTEMS.
  2. Irrigation systems must be designed to avoid excessive pressure.
  3. Water pressure regulators are required.
  4. If water pressure does not meet the required pressure of the irrigation system, pressure regulators, booster pumps, or other devices must be installed to meet the required water pressure.
  5. A sensor (rain, freeze, wind, etc.) that suspends irrigation operation during bad weather conditions is required on all irrigation systems.
  6. High-flow check valves or other similar technology are required.
  7. Irrigation system must be designed to prevent runoff, low head drainage, overspray, etc.
  8. Soil management plan must be utilized when designing irrigation systems.
  9. Design of irrigation system must conform to the hydrozones of the landscape design plan.

 Grading Design Plan

  1. Must be designed to minimize soil erosion, runoff, and water waste
  2. Indicate finished configurations and elevations of the landscape area including:
    • Height of graded slopes
    • Drainage patterns
    • Pad elevations
    • Finish grade
    • Storm water retention improvements
  3. All irrigation and normal rainfall should remain within the property line so as not to drain onto non-permeable hardscapes
  4. A comprehensive grading plan prepared by a civil engineer for a project which includes landscaped areas or altered landscaped areas can satisfy this requirement.
  5. Compaction of landscape area shall be avoided. 

Soil Management Report

  1. Just submit a Soil Management Plan that meets the criteria of the Landscape Regulations

 Water Efficient Landscape Worksheet

  1. Must have two (2) sections:
    • Hydrozone Information Table
    • Water budget calculation for landscaped areas or altered landscaped areas, which should include maximum applied water allowance (MAWA) and estimated total water use.
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Parkway landscaping must be included in MAWA calculations.
  2. Water Efficient Landscape Worksheet

Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS)

  1. To determine the hydrozone water consumption rating use the WUCOLS species water use for Central Coast (Region 3). View the Estimating Irrigation Water Needs document, provided by the California Department of Water Resources, for a list of plan species and their water consumption values needed for the water efficient landscape worksheet Section A.

Payment of Fees

  1. All fees owed to the City must be paid prior to issuance of Certificate of Completion.
  2. Water Efficient Landscape permit fees are based on a flat fee as approved in the by the current Development Fee Schedule as approved by the City Council.

Irrigation Schedule

The applicant must prepare an irrigation schedule that evaluates and manages the amount of water required to maintain plant health. 


 LANDSCAPE AND IRRIGATION MAINTENANCE

  • The applicant must prepare a landscape and irrigation maintenance plan in accordance with the Landscape Regulations to ensure the efficiency of water use.

IRRIGATION AUDIT

  1. For Landscaped Areas or Altered Landscape Areas, the applicant must prepare an Irrigation Audit Report as required by the Landscape Regulations.
  2. For all existing Landscaped Areas installed prior to January 1, 2010, irrigation audits must be prepared as required by the Landscape Regulations.

IRRIGATION EFFICIENCY

  1. New irrigation systems installed, whether or not part of a Landscaped Area or Altered Landscaped Area, must be designed, maintained, and managed to meet or exceed the average irrigation efficiency required by the Landscape Regulations.
  2. New irrigation systems installed as stand-alone projects must comply with this Ordinance. 

ALTERNATIVE WATER-EFFICIENT USE

  • Alternative methods of using water efficiently such as the use of potable water, rain water, or other alternative water systems are encouraged.

 


STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

  1. Landscape and grading design plans must be developed in accordance with the Stormwater and Urban Runoff Control provisions in this Municipal Code. (BHMC 9-4-5)
  2. Rain gardens, cisterns, and other landscape features and practices that increase rainwater capture and create opportunities for infiltration and/or onsite storage are encouraged. 

WATER WASTE PREVENTION

  • Water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff, low head drainage, overspray, or other similar conditions where water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures is prohibited.

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION

  1. Applicant must submit a Certificate of Completion (C of C) upon completion of landscaping project
    • Form must be completed by either the licensed landscape architect, licensed landscape contractor, or the certified irrigation designer that signed off on any of the documents submitted as part of the Landscape Documentation Package
    • C of C form is provided by the City
  2. C of C needs to certify or include the following:
    • Landscaped areas or altered landscaped areas installed shall conform with Landscaped Documentation Package, Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, and Landscape Regulations
    • Automatic controller has been set according to the Irrigation Schedule
    • Documentation that soil management report recommendations have been implemented
    • Irrigation audit report
    • Landscape and irrigation maintenance schedule
  3. If C of C doesn’t conform with the ordinance, the building official will:
    • Notify the applicant in writing that the C of C has been denied and include a statement of reasons, or…
    • Notify the applicant in writing that the C of C is incomplete with indication of additional information necessary
    • Applicant can resubmit after making corrections
    • Applicant must provide a copy of the approved C of C to the property owner within 7 days of its approval
  4. The following is a list of further required elements for the C of C which must be conformed with:
    • Irrigation Schedule
    • Landscape and Irrigation Maintenance
    • Irrigation Audit
    • Irrigation Efficiency
    • Alternative Water-Efficient Use
    • Stormwater Management
    • Water Waste Prevention

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FAQs

What is an Altered Landscaped Area?
A landscaped Area that has been altered by more than fifty percent (50%) in total area.

What is my Landscaped Area? How do I calculate my Landscaped Area?
The entire lot, including water features such as pools, spas, ponds, and fountains. “Landscaped Area” shall not include the building footprint, driveways, non-irrigated portions of parking lots, hardscapes such as decks and patios, and other nonporous areas.

What is a smart irrigation controller?
A weather-based device that automatically controls an outdoor irrigation system by using weather, site, or soil moisture data as a basis for determining an appropriate watering schedule, and utilizing prevailing weather conditions, current and historic evapotranspiration, soil moisture levels, and other relevant factors to adapt water applications to meet the actual needs of the plants.

Does my current weather controller qualify as a smart irrigation controller?
Older irrigation controllers will not qualify as “smart” controllers. Check with the manufacturer of your specific controller model or a licensed professional to determine if your irrigation controller will qualify with the smart irrigation controller requirements.

If I have a smart controller, do I need a sensor?
Yes, sensors that suspend irrigation operation during unfavorable weather conditions are required on all irrigation systems, as appropriate for local climatic conditions (BHMC 9-4-407(B)4)

What are Landscape Regulations?
Landscape regulations are those stipulated in Title 9, Article 4 of the Beverly Hills Municipal Code. (BHMC)

What is an Irrigation Audit?
An Irrigation Audit is an in-depth evaluation of the performance of an irrigation (i.e. sprinkler) system conducted by a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor. An Irrigation Audit includes, but is not limited to: inspection, system tune-up, system test with distribution uniformity or emission uniformity, reporting overspray or runoff that causes overland flow, and preparation of an irrigation schedule.

Who is the Project Applicant?
The Project Applicant is the person or entity submitting a Landscape Documentation Package. A Project Applicant may include the property owner and/or an agent of the owner (such as a contractor or architect).

What is the Maximum Applied Water Allowance (MAWA)?
The Maximum Applied Water Allowance is the maximum annual applied water for the established Landscaped Area or Altered Landscaped Area determined by the formula established in the Municipal Code. The MAWA is based on the local evapotranspiration rate of 48.5. This is derived from averaging the evapotranspiration rate of neighboring Cities of Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica.

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May 

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept

Nov

Oct

Dec

Annual ETo

 1.95

2.15

3.55 

4.95 

5.35 

5.75 

6.05

5.9

4.55

3.55

2.6

2.15

48.5

Does the Maximum Applied Water Allowance include Parkway Landscaping?

Yes, Parkway planting must be included in the budget calculations.

What is a smart irrigation controller?

A weather-based device that automatically controls an outdoor irrigation system by using weather, site or soil moisture data as a basis for determining an appropriate watering schedule, and utilizing prevailing weather conditions, current and historic evapotranspiration, soil moisture levels, and other relevant factors to adapt water applications to meet the actual needs of the plants.”

Does my current weather controller qualify as a smart irrigation controller?

Older irrigation controllers will not qualify as "smart" controllers. Check with manufacturer of your specific controller model or a licensed professional to determine if your irrigation controller will qualify with the smart irrigation controller requirements.


Smart Irrigation Controller Requirements:

 

Irrigation Controller Type Requirements

 
   Real Time Data Controller   On Site Sensor Controller  
 
  1. Weather-based satellite or radio frequency information updates
  2. Automatically controls irrigation systems based on weather data
  3. Automatically determines watering schedule based on plant and soil type needs
 
  1. Sensor-based  weather, site, or soil information updates
  2. Automatically controls irrigation systems based on sensor data
  3. Automatically determines watering schedule based on plant and soil type needs
 

 

New Mandatory Irrigation Schedule Restrictions
See More Conservation Information...


 

DO THE SAME OR MORE WITH LESS WATER 

 

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Web Page Updated: Monday, January 4, 2010