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Ripon eyes new standards for front yard landscaping
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Mark Winchell once had a front yard that was predominately sod.
The Ripon City Councilman decided to do his part for the drought by taking out the majority of his green grass for a dry landscape equipped with a low-standing rock wall, crush granite walkway, plants and a drip-irrigation unit.
“We hired a landscape developer for advice,” he said at last Tuesday’s monthly session.
Winchell’s yard has become a model of sort for the City of Ripon’s proposed Landscape Guidelines.
Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart noted that these guidelines are being created to set boundaries of quality, aesthetics, and to meet the water boundaries.
“These guidelines would be followed by developers in new development (and) also give residents a guideline to follow when landscaping their front yards,” he said.
The draft was discussed at the meeting and will be brought back later with the recommended changes for the final version.
Given developers doing their part by following the proposed guidelines, Councilman Leo Zuber wondered if the new property owners might opt to do otherwise.
“If they were to remove all of the landscape that was put in it (would) defeat the purpose,” he said.
Zuidervaart agreed, saying: “We cannot control what the homeowner does, but with these guidelines require the type of landscape put in to meet a certain standard in which a homeowner would not to replace.”
As a city, Ripon has continued to make positive strides as of late in water conservation.
The average reduction in May was 30.7 percent when compared to 2013 at this time. When it comes to non-potable water, according to Ted Johnston, who is the Directors of Public Works, usage was down 54 percent thanks largely to the efforts with city parks and landscape using the bare minimum while incorporating weather management products.
He also lauded the efforts of new Water Conservation Coordinator Kevin Fuller, who has been providing notices, educating folks on water savings, and working with those with leaky pipes and faucets while working on a part-time basis.
The City has issued 253 courtesy notices with most being minor infractions, Johnston said.
He listed the warnings as wrong landscape irrigation days, street gutter flooding and sprinklers shooting out water in a misdirected way.
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