Landscape Regulations

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Los Angeles basin is basically a desert.  Thirsty lawns and plants don't change the arid nature of the local climate.  In California, about half of the urban water used is for landscape irrigation. With the continued severe drought conditions, water conservation is now among the top priorities to consider when planning a new development.

On April 1, 2015 Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 to impose restrictions to achieve a statewide 25% reduction in potable urban water usage. The Executive Order also directed the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to update the State's Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) to be more efficient in water conservation.  The revised MWELO became effective on December 1, 2015.  In response to the new legislation, the Monrovia City Council adopted the State’s MWELO by reference, Ordinance 2016-01, at their meeting on February 16, 2016. 

Which Projects are Subject to the Ordinance?

  • New construction projects (residential and nonresidential) with an aggregate landscape area equal to or greater than 500 square feet requiring a building or landscape permit, plan check, or design review.
  • Rehabilitated landscape projects (residential and nonresidential) with an aggregate landscape area equal to or greater than 2,500 square feet requiring a building or landscape permit, plan check, or design review.

What is the Project Review Process?

In accordance with the State’s MWELO, a project applicant shall submit a complete Landscape Documentation Package containing the items listed in Section 492.3 of the Ordinance.  

The City of Monrovia uses a self-certification process that will streamline the permitting process and reduce costs for applicants.  The self-certification includes two steps:

  • Water Efficient Landscape Application - is the licensed landscape professional's statement that the proposed design and documentation package complies with State’s regulations.
  • Landscape Certificate of Completion - is the licensed landscape professional's statement that the installation (landscape and irrigation) is in substantial compliance with the approved Certificate of Design.

Projects with landscape areas under 2500 square feet may comply with the performance requirements of the Ordinance or conform to the prescriptive measures contained in Appendix D. Many will find that the Appendix D checklist simplifies compliance.

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