LaPaz Commons Landscape Plan presented to the LaPaz Town Council

October 12, 2023

Kevin Berger

The overall Riverside Commons project is working towards National Green Building Standards (NGBS) Silver rating. This is the same award we obtained for The Paddocks in Culver. One of their requirements is a sustainable landscape consisting of native plants. Because this is a family friendly facility, we wanted some standard “yard” areas for kids to play along with areas of prairie and wetland mixes. The Paddocks went before the Town Council to present their sustainable landscape plan to assure that there would be dispensation for this installation as it didn’t meet the grass ordinance. (Maximum height of 8″.)

LaPaz has a similar grass ordinance that we could be perceived as violating. Our policy is to try and head these things off and make sure the municipality is aware of what we’re doing. For that reason, we requested an opportunity to speak at the council. The above plan was presented to the council on October 12th.

Plantings around the building will be native plants, but will be mostly accents to the turf areas to allow a traditional feel and areas for children to play. The area at the east end of the site is partially wooded and will remain that way. The area to the west, along Michigan Road will be seeded with wild flowers and native prairie grasses. The detention pond bottom will be seeded with a wetlands mix.¬†All of this will be much nicer that the weeds that were on the site when we started! But we know, there still may be naysayers. One of the ways we’re addressing this is ringing the prairie area with turf. The mow strip around the native plants will highlight them and show that they’re intentional.

The council accepted the plan. LaPaz will be working on an amendment to their ordinance to address this in the future. The two key items are that there be an actual plan and that it is approved by the Town Council. His should head off any issues with negligence hiding behind sustainability…

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