Fountain Hills to require low-water landscaping

East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune

They’re embracing the desert in Fountain Hills. Landscaping at all new developments must be of the lowwater variety, the Town Council decided Thursday night. The 6-0 vote was just one in a series that will control the town’s appearance in the coming years. The council also adopted measures on architectural review guidelines for new commercial, industrial and multifamily developments, and established landscape review fees to pay for increased staffing necessary to implement these ordinances.

In two weeks, the council is scheduled to take up the issue of saguaro cactus preservation.

The mandate to install lowwater landscaping also applies to property owners who disturb at least one-half or 1,000 square feet of an existing lot.

Also, the owner of a new home who wants to move in before the landscaping is complete will have to put up a refundable deposit of $2,500. Exemptions will be made for up to 1,000 square feet in homes’ backyards.

For the town to enforce the ordinances, the council approved the promotion of a part-time planning technician position into a full-time job. To fund the payroll increase, a $420 fee to review a home’s landscape plans will be levied.

But the council held off, for now, on the hiring of a full-time code enforcement officer.

The council also:

· Endorsed the possibility of adopting one of three El Salvadoran towns as Fountain Hills’ third sister city.

· Amended the zoning ordinance clarifying that master-planned villages’ sales and information centers can sell lots in addition to country club memberships.

· Approved a special use permit for two apartments to be built atop shops in an area zoned commercial in the “Coyote Corner” project at El Pueblo Boulevard and Ivory Drive.

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