Neighborhood Beautification Program
In November, 2001, the City Council adopted a comprehensive City-wide “Streetscape Plan,” a long term master program which addresses in concept a wide range of public right- of-way enhancements and improvements. Examples of these improvements include, but are not limited to: new and updated municipal signage (i.e., City entryway signs, advance street name signs, etc.); revised street tree palettes coupled with short and long term tree replacement programs; new parkway and median landscaping and irrigation improvements; various arterial amenities such as new bus stops, new walking paths, etc.; new distinctive street lighting at selected locations in the community; new pedestrian crossings at controlled intersections; landscape screening of the Lindero Canyon Road flood control channel; and new neighborhood beautification projects.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
At the time of the adoption of the City-wide “Streetscape Plan,” it was the intent of the City Council to develop a policy outlining guidelines for developing new neighborhood beautification projects in concert with interested homeowner’s associations. This policy statement establishes the guidelines for such a program.
GENERAL POLICY GUIDELINES
In order to implement a City program designed to collaborate with local homeowner’s associations interested in beautifying the major entryways and other areas in their neighborhoods, the following general guidelines shall apply:
1. In undertaking the annual City budget process each fiscal year, the City Council will consider an appropriation to be earmarked under the category of neighborhood beautification projects” as part of the funding of the annual “Streetscape Plan.” This appropriation will be used to provide grants to homeowner’s associations for City-approved beautification projects located at entryways and other neighborhood locations visible from the public right- of-way.
2. Subsequent to the approval of the annual budget for this grant program, staff shall be instructed to publicize the program by contacting each homeowner’s association and providing information on the app process. (The City Councils Environmental Committee and staff shall be charged with the responsibility of creating all necessary application materials and updating them each year).
3. Homeowner’s associations wishing to undertake neighborhood beautification projects shall be required to complete and file all necessary application materials by the established filing date each year.
4. Upon receipt of applications, the City Council’s Environmental Committee along with staff will review and evaluate each application, conduct meetings with homeowner’s association representatives as needed, and forward recommendations concerning selection of projects, along with recommended grant amounts, to the City Council for final review and approval.
5. The City shall have the discretion to provide grant funding for landscape and hardscape improvements within either the public right-of-way or private property, or both, depending on the specific application filed by the homeowner’s association.
6. City grants of individual projects each fiscal year will be made on the basis of a cost-sharing arrangement; however, under no circumstances will City grant funds be provided for more than 50% of the total construction and inspection expenses for a project.
7. In reviewing and approving individual projects, the City shall determine on a case by case basis if it shall bid and construct any approved project improvements, or if it will require the homeowner’s association to bid and undertake this work. Should the latter occur, a minimum of two competitive bids will be required to be obtained by the homeowner’s association, and, before starting an awarded project, the homeowner’s association’s contractor will be responsible for obtaining all necessary City permits or approvals. All work in the public right-of-way by contractors shall require the filing of both an executed encroachment agreement and a hold harmless agreement. Approval of a grant by the City does not exempt the project from City permit requirements. However, City permit fees shall be waived for approved neighborhood beautification projects.
8. On a case by case basis, the City shall evaluate each project application in determining what, if any, on-going maintenance, utilities, and operation expenses will be paid by the City, and what expenses will be required to be paid by the homeowner’s association. An agreement reflecting the distribution of such costs will be required to be executed by the City and the homeowner’s association as a condition of approval of an application under this program.
The following basic criteria shall be used in evaluating applications filed by homeowner’s associations:
1. Evidence that the project app has the support of the homeowner’s association.
2. Design of the project by a qualified licensed landscape architect retained and paid for by the homeowner’s association.
3. Plans incorporating proposed landscape and hardscape improvements consistent with the general design elements and features contained in the City’s approved “Streetscape Plan.” The main purpose of this program is general landscape beautification of neighborhood entries and areas visible from the public right-of-way. Homeowner’s Association entryway signage can be a part of a project application submitted for this program, but the signage cannot be the primary component of the application.
4. Overall cost of the proposed project, as well as the project grant amount requested of the City (refer to Section IlI. (6) above). Priority will be given to projects for which the homeowner’s association’s proposed funding exceeds the grant amount provided by the City.
5. Ability to undertake construction of the project in a timely manner fo City approval of-project.
6. Plans reflecting use of long-lasting materials for hardscape improvements as well as drought-tolerate landscaping plants and water efficient irrigation systems where possible in order to reduce long-term maintenance and/or utility costs.
7. Homeowner’s association acknowledgment that it will enter into a maintenance agreement with the City for new beautification improvements (refer to Section II (8) above).
8. Any additional information requested of a homeowner’s association by the City Council’s Environmental Committee.
REVIEW OF POLICY
At the discretion of the City Council, this policy may be reviewed at the City Council’s annual Goals Session for consideration of any desired changes or modifications to the program guidelines.