By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
Members of the Hays Area Planning Commission approved potential landscape and irrigation ordinances at Monday's meeting, sending them to the Hays City Commission for a final decision.
Changes would include submitting an irrigation plan for approval if a permanent irrigation system is to be installed, and developments in several zoning districts would require a landscaping plan. Single-family dwellings and two-family units are exempted from the landscaping plan mandate.
Two copies of the plans must be provided, with details of the materials used, their size, manufacturer details and location.
For residential properties of four units or fewer, the maximum area served by the irrigation system cannot exceed 10,000 square feet, and no more than 5,000 square feet can be turf. Within that area, no more than 2,000 square feet can be cool season turf, unless it's not permanently irrigated.
All other properties cannot have an irrigation system that serves more than 10,000 square feet. The area cannot have more than 5,000 square feet of turf. No more than 30 percent of the turf, or 2,000 square feet can be cool season turf, whichever is less. At least 30 percent of the landscaped area must be xeriscaped, which means it requires little to no irrigation once vegetation is established.
Darren Rueschhoff, owner of Darren's Lawn Service, said he wanted to change a proposal that states overhead irrigation cannot be within 5 feet of a hard surface. He wanted to reduce that number to 3 feet for aesthetic reasons. Planning commissioners declined to adopt his idea.
The city commission might act on the ordinance changes in April.
In other business, the commission voted to recommend annexing the Geist Addition, near 22nd and Canterbury, and dividing the plat of land into four plots. The four plots will be rezoned from agriculture to an office and institution district.
Martha Lang, owner of property near the site, said she wanted to know how the property would be used.
"Because I think that would help you make an informed decision, you know, what the developer has in mind for the property," Lang said. "And why shouldn't we, as landowners that are right behind or just right across the alley from this property, know before it gets to the final stages of what's going to be back there that we can protest if we would like?"
City staff said possible uses could be a hospital, medical office, group day care center, office building or a lodge/private club. The commission considers all of the potential developments rather than one specific use before voting.
The Hays City Commission will consider the changes in March.