O’Reilly Rancilio Prepares Innovative Nonresidential Landscaping Ordinance for Sterling Heights

At its Council meeting on October 4, 2106, the Sterling Heights City Council adopted a wide-ranging amendment to the City Zoning Ordinance to establish upgraded landscaping and site improvement standards for nonresidential sites within the City. The new ordinance applies to new developments, redeveloping sites, and existing sites, but allows existing sites with noncompliant landscaping or site improvements to be brought into compliance with their current landscaping or site plans by July 1, 2017 without having to comply with the new ordinance standards. The new ordinance also grants the City Planner some flexibility to allow substitutions and alternative solutions where existing site improvements or conditions make it impossible or impractical to strictly comply with the new standards.

Clark A. Andrews, who has served as a city attorney for the City of Sterling Heights for more than 42 years, worked closely with the City Planner and other City officials in developing the new landscaping and site improvement standards. The new standards incorporate additional frontage landscaping, foundation plantings, parking lot landscaping and irrigation, decorative fencing, screening of trash receptacles and ground-mounted appliances and equipment, and other provisions designed to make the City a more attractive community in which to do business, live, and visit. The ordinance also includes provisions allowing a developer to reduce required off-street parking where appropriate, provided a reserved future parking area is established so that additional parking may be added if and when the need arises. This ordinance will promote the guiding principles set forth in the City’s 2030 Visioning Plan, and help implement the objectives contained in the new 2016 Master Land Use Plan update.