Saratoga News

October 24, 2014

Saratoga News

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Silicon Valley Community Newspapers $1.00 1 8 5 Saratoga City Council candidates take part in League of Women Voters forum * page 16 Vol. 59, No. 43 Friday, October 24, 2014 $1.00 An edition of the BY KHALIDA SARWARI T he Saratoga City Council recently took steps to- ward adopting a more user-friendly, water-effi- cient landscaping ordinance. Upon the recommendation of the planning commission in September, the council on Oct. 15 adopted an amended ordinance designed to make it easier for applicants to comply with and the city to implement and enforce. "It benefits the city in multiple ways," said Cindy Mc- Cormick, a city planner who worked on the ordinance. "It reduces the water usage—ultimately, that is the goal— and then it also makes it easier for staff to implement, and it makes it easier for the residents to understand." The main change in the ordinance, which has been cut down from 41 to four pages, is that it gives resi- dents the option of switching to a simplified plant re- striction as opposed to a water budget, "which makes it a lot less intimidating," McCormick said. One aspect of the ordinance did not receive the council's approval. In order to have the ordinance apply to more properties than the previous version, therefore resulting in more water-efficient landscape designs, city staff had recommended that it be applicable to 2,500-square-foot or greater landscaped areas instead of the 5,000-square-foot minimum threshold in the existing ordinance. This would mean that applicants choosing the plant restriction option as opposed to a water budget would be required to demonstrate that at least 80 percent of the plants in the landscape area are native or use little water, and that the turf area does not exceed 1,250 square feet or 25 percent of the total landscape area, whichever is less. None of the council members were in favor of lowering that number, citing concerns about the impact it could potentially have on residents. Vice Mayor Howard Miller said, "It's yet another requirement that we, the govern- ment, are placing on the people, and it's that balance of SARATOGA MOVES TOWARD A MORE WATER-EFFICIENT LANDSCAPING PLAN City council, planning want the plan to be more user-friendly A NEWSPAPER PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE SAKKESTAD Saratoga's Joey Medeiros (24) celebrates with Ken Wu (20) after Wu scored a touchdown in the first quarter in last week's clash with Wilcox. Medeiros would go on to catch two touchdown passes later in the game, but the Falcons lost 56-18 to the Chargers. Council, page 6 Flying Falcons Flying Falcons Saratoga lost to Wilcox last week, Saratoga lost to Wilcox last week, but set to host Matadors on homecoming night but set to host Matadors on homecoming night page 25 page 25

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