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Bill may affect requirements for Arizona real estate development

Arizona developers may have one less factor to consider if a new bill passes. A proposed bill would prevent cities from requiring property owners to transplant native vegetation, including saguaros, a type of cactus, when developing open land. Cities would also be prevented from requiring specific plants in the development of real property if the bill passes.

Numerous Arizona cities have ordinances in effect that regulate landscaping requirements for developments. Phoenix’s current laws require protection of plants native to the area. They require that developers transplant native plants, including mature trees and native cacti, when they are clearing desert land for a subdivision and planned area development, or other real estate development. Phoenix’s current regulations list 19 species of protected plants. In some parts of Phoenix, regulations stipulate that desert views must be protected, thereby limiting development that may stifle these views.

Proponents of the bill site the waste of money in having to transplant existing plants as a reason they support the bill. Cities that currently have ordinances protecting native plants, including Phoenix, are opposed to the bill.

The new bill would not disregard plantings in a development scheme, it would only require different standards. The proposed bill would require developments to have landscaping compliant with a registered landscape architect’s recommendation.

There are many requirements, local, state and federal, that a developer must meet when developing commercial or residential property. Changing regulations may affect how a developer must proceed with his or her plans. A real estate attorney familiar with Arizona development practices and requirements may be able to facilitate the real estate development process and answer questions about both current regulations and ones that may be on the horizon.

Source: azcentral.com, “Arizona bill would limit protection for native plants, saguaros,” Ryan Randazzo, March 17, 2015

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