Can I make changes in my garden without City approval?

Yes. The SMP states, “any changes from the existing landscape to a different landscaping use or activity will require that the modified area comply with the provisions of 4.1.3, Vegetation Management, and the intent of providing native vegetation to maintain ecological functions and processes.” Making changes within an existing garden - such as switching from tulips to daffodils or tomatoes to potatoes - would not be considered a change from the existing landscape and would not be regulated by the SMP. Larger-scale changes would need to meet the intent of providing native vegetation. For example, if you wanted to get rid of a large area of ornamental rose bushes within the shoreline buffer because they are difficult to maintain, the City would require that you replace the roses with native plants. Removal of non-native vegetation outside the shoreline buffer is permitted. The City recognizes that “any changes” is broad language and will clarify its meaning as part of the anticipated limited amendment.

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1. Hasn’t the City’s SMP been challenged and overturned in court?
2. Aren’t requirements for shoreline buffers and setbacks a “taking” of private property rights?
3. We keep hearing that the SMP has drastically lowered our property values and will make it extremely difficult to sell our home. Is this true?
4. Can I be fined for not getting City approval for everyday activities?
5. Do I need City approval to maintain my yard?
6. Can I make changes in my garden without City approval?
7. Do I need City approval to prune my trees?
8. If I remove a hazard tree (dead, diseased or dying), do I have to leave it in my yard?
9. Is the goal of the SMP to phase out all single-family docks over time?
10. Is the intent of the SMP to phase out all homes & docks on the shoreline over time?
11. Can I replace my bulkhead under the new SMP?
12. I keep hearing that the new SMP made virtually every home along the shore “non-conforming.” Is this true?
13. How is my existing shoreline home affected by the new buffer standards in the updated SMP?
14. Can I rebuild my house in the same location if it burns down?
15. If my home is unoccupied for 12 months in a row, do I forfeit the right to live in my house?