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Landscaping rules for mobile home parks

In many areas of the country, homeowners and those who own commercial properties are free to landscape their property as they see fit. However, in and around Bakersfield — as in most areas of California — water usage limits the type of landscaping that is allowed by law.

In August of this year, Kern County amended its zoning ordinances. For those interested in developing mobile home parks, below are the amended changes:

When planning landscaping in mobile home parks, there must be at least 5 percent landscaping on the developed lot surface. While formerly the regulations states that the maximum of half of that percentage could be an alternative surface cover like turf, that no longer applies.

The land under the Indian Wells Valley Land Use Management Plan also no longer restricts turf that isn't listed on the Approved Plant List, which can be accessed from the Indian Wells Valley Water District. But plants not on the list are still limited for landscaping purposes to only half of the mandatory landscaped area.

Land surfaces between the fenced perimeter fence of the park and the street, with the exclusion of sidewalks and driveways, must be landscaped. Planting of trees is required, but they can't be planted any closer than 5 feet from the sidewalk's edge.

Plants that grow taller than 1.5 feet are not permitted to within the right-of-way of the street unless they have been authorized by Kern County Roads Department.

Each lot within the mobile home park has to have a minimum of one tree on it or planted during the development of the park.

The county strongly encourages drip irrigation to be used for watering landscaping, and all landscaped areas have to use irrigation systems that are automatically timed and water-efficient.

Because they are easier to maintain and require less water to irrigate, all landscaping materials should be native to the area and have to be geologically, climatically and topographically suitable for the region.

Any mobile home parks in the Indian Wells Valley Land Use Management Plan area have to use landscaping materials listed on the Approved Plant List.

When land developers run into zoning problems, seeking legal assistance may be necessary.

Source: Kern County Planning & Community Development, "Proposed 2016A Zoning Ordinance Amendments," accessed Oct. 20, 2016

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