Chicago ordinance beautifies city

It is common knowledge that greener landscapes lead to a variety of health and economic benefits. A beautiful and lush city can hide unsightly buildings and parking garages, provide a natural habitat for native insects and birds, and can increase the number of people who choose to live and work in the area. Some cities like Chicago have their own landscaping ordinances that mandate landscaping be taken into account when designing and putting up new buildings, but not every building project needs to adhere to this rule.

According to cityofchicago.org, the city’s official website, the landscaping ordinance has been in effect since 1991 for the purpose of beautifying the city, alleviating noise and air pollution, cooling the streets, and increasing the local property values (which would then lead to more property taxes being collected). Not only limited to new buildings, but construction companies must also have a landscaping plan in place for proposed additions to buildings if those additions are larger than 1500 square feet. Interestingly enough, parkway plantings are also required if repairs are being done on a building that is not expanding, as long as the structural repairs exceed 50% of the cost to replace the entire building; this even applies to interior decorating and repairs. Greenery must also be included in parking lots if they are going to be larger than 3000 square feet, and if a parking lot is be expanding beyond 25% of its current size, then planting standards must be met. However, if the proposed parking lot is smaller than 1200 square feet, then the ordinance does not apply to them.

What this ordinance neglects is personal dwellings and residential buildings that have fewer than three living units. This is understandable because this ordinance is meant to beautiful the inner city where there are relatively few single family homes. In addition, there would likely be much opposition to legislation that tries to dictate the amount of greenery you must plant in your yard (even though most HOAs do so anyway). However, just because an ordinance of this sort may not apply to you, it is still generally a good idea to undertake personal beautification projects. Many landscaping companies, like Ware Landscaping in the Chicago area, can help you choose the perfect selection of trees and plants to fit your home and raise your property value as well as your standard of living.

All large cities should have an ordinance of this sort to ensure that there is sufficient greenery around to keep residents and visitors healthy and happy. The Chicago ordinance has a few workarounds, however. Construction companies could easily get around the parking lot rule by building separate parking lots that are all under 1200 square feet, for example, and businesses would take care to make sure their repair costs are under half of the replacement cost. Even though this ordinance may not be perfect, it is certainly a step in the right direction to having more beautiful cities.