Landscaping rules to be sought by city

Land-use development codes to be reviewed

Have a green thumb and want to lend some color to Durango?

The city will host a workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Ave., to examine regulating landscaping.

Durango is in a year-long process of rewriting its land-use development codes, which eventually will go to the Durango City Council for approval, most likely in early 2013.

On Thursday, Durango’s planning consultant Todd Messenger of the firm Kendig Keast in Aurora will offer proposals and take feedback on rules for landscape-design principles to “protect and preserve the appearance and the character of the city.”

More specifically, the city wants to improve the “walkability” of streets and sidewalks and the compatibility of neighborhoods. For example, suggestions are proposed for buffer barriers, such as tree lines or hedges between homes and how to landscape parking lots.

The city also wants to protect and conserve natural resources, such as water, by requiring the planting of native and drought-resistant plants and trees.

Tree placement and selection should “provide for summer cooling and winter solar heat gain,” according to the proposed guidelines.

Durango will keep a list of trees considered noxious and invasive, such assalt ceder and Russian olive. They would be prohibited and removed in cases of new development or the improvement of existing buildings and site features.

The city wants to take a more strategic approach to caring for environmentally sensitive land and hillsides, geologically hazardous areas and floodplains.

“In permeable areas, which are not covered by ground cover vegetation, mulches shall be used to help retain water in the soil and to help prevent erosion,” according to the suggested guidelines.

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