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City of Boerne's News Flash

Posted on: February 12, 2020

City updates Low Impact Development Ordinance

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After months of discussion and input, the City of Boerne recently updated its “Low Impact Development” Ordinance.

The goal of L.I.D. requirements is to mitigate the impacts people have on their properties and their neighbors when building or expanding.City staff is currently in the process of creating a small brouchure that helps explain the changes in great detail.

The city worked with our consultant, Troy Dorman of Halff Associates, and looked at other cities in the Texas Hill Country for guidance.

The bulk of the work, however, came from the LID steering committee, which included councilmen Dr. Joseph Macaluso and Ty Wolosin.

Some of the changes include

  1. Residential - three acres or larger with 15 percent impervious cover
  2. Residential - three acres or smaller with 20 percent impervious cover
  3. Commercial or Residential – any lot that adds 100 square feet or less of impervious cover.

The update to the ordinance will provide more stringent standards for handling run-off from sites and will define and strengthen our LID requirements.

Staff feels that we have come to terms that are reasonable for both the city and the county and acceptable to those that have been involved in the discussions.

The city will continue to strengthen and enhance this ordinance amendment with the regulation changes in the Unified Development Code, which includes tree preservation, impervious cover standards, enhanced steep slope protection, viewshed protection, resilient and sustainable materials, open space and landscape requirements (see below).

Proposed UDC Regulation updates Additional Environmental Design Standards

Tree Preservation

  • Surface/subsurface health of vegetation (root balls, planting area, replacement, etc.)
  • Increased preservation requirements for certain areas (canopy coverage; >% protected, etc.) – sensitive areas

2. Impervious Cover

  • Require a decrease in percent impervious cover on a lot (sensitive areas)
  • Specify alternative paving material that is allowed
  • Specify alternative paving material that is prohibited

3. Steep Slopes

  • Lower the trigger value for steep slope protection in sensitive areas (currently >15% slope requires protection)
  • Add additional/strengthen protections required for steep slopes

4. Viewshed Protection

  • Add viewshed protection requirements
  • Relationship of landscaping to buildings (kind of like articulation of fences/walls or void: solid ratio for 1st floor commercial.

5. Resiliency + Sustainability

  • Incorporation of urban agriculture
  • Recycled materials permitted (for certain design elements)
  • Recycled materials required for certain design elements
  • Locally sourced materials required for certain design elements

6. Landscaping Requirements

  • Beef-up screening standards through landscape design, setbacks and building orientation
  • Overhaul of tree preservation section 2
  • Requiring a minimum percent of plants to be native (including grasses)
  • Prohibit or limit use of invasive (none along streams)
  • Increase the required tree canopy cover in certain overlay districts
  • An approved plant list for public right of way and easements. Some of this will apply to landscaping in general (do not cause issues with utilities)
    • Shallow and/or non-destructive root patterns
    • Manageable yet attractive growth habits
    • Low water requirements
    • Suitable max. height at maturity

Landscaping requirements aligning more with Austin, Marble Falls and Bee Cave. Boerne is in a different ecoregion than most of San Antonio, and of New Braunfels. The Edwards Plateau cuts diagonally up from Boerne to west Austin.

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