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Public Boulevard Planting Guidance

What are some guidelines for planting in the public boulevard space?


  • Planting in the public boulevard space is generally allowed in the City of Columbia with some restrictions. Guidelines to follow when planting in the boulevard:
  • The heights of plantings are restricted by City Code in visibility triangles at street corners and alleys. No planting shall exceed 30” height within 30ft of a street-street intersection, or within 15ft of an alley-street or alley-alley intersection, or 12” height within 5ft of a stop sign or fire hydrant.
  • Plant at your own risk. The public boulevard contains various utilities including sewer, water, gas, etc., and the City occasionally needs to dig or operate machinery in this space. The city will not replace any plantings or mulch in the boulevard, regardless of means of disturbance (ex. snow plow damage, utility work).
  • Mulch levels should be below the top of the curb to reduce migration into the street.
  • Plants must not hang over curb into street, or intrude into the sidewalk.
  • Maximum plant height of 36”; 12” within a 5’ radius of fire hydrants (see additional visibility requirements above).
  • Vegetable gardens and other edibles are not allowed.
  • No fences, trellises, raised beds, or other structures in the boulevard.
  • All tree or woody shrub plantings must be approved in writing by the City Forester.
  • Call before you dig! Gopher State One Call, 651-454-0002 or 1-800-252-1166, will mark underground utility lines to allow for safe digging.
What does the City Code say about planting in the public boulevard space?

9.106  GENERAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS
(A) General provisions

 (12)  Traffic visibility.  No planting, structure or other obstruction shall be placed or allowed to grow on corner lots in a manner that will impede vision on the intersecting rights-of-way, in accordance with the following sight triangles:

(a)  Street intersections.  No planting or structure in excess of 30 inches above the abutting curb line shall be permitted within the sight triangle, defined as the area beginning at the intersection of the projected curb line of two intersecting streets, then 30 feet along one curb line, diagonally to a point 30 feet from the point of beginning on the other curb line, then back to a point of beginning.

(b)  Street and alley intersections.  No planting or structure in excess of 30 inches above the abutting curb line shall be permitted within the sight triangle, defined as the area beginning at the point of intersection of the projected curb line and the alley right-of-way, then 30 feet along the street curb line, diagonally to a point 15 feet from the point of beginning along said alley right-of-way or projection of the alley right-of-way, then back to the point of beginning.

(c)  Alley and alley intersections.  No planting or structure in excess of 30 inches above the nearest edge of the traveled right-of-way shall be permitted within the sight triangle, defined as the area beginning at the point of intersection of the two alley right-of-way lines, then 15 feet along one alley right-of-way line, then diagonally to a point 15 feet from the point of beginning along the second alley right-of-way line, then back to the point of beginning. Any structures existing within this sight triangle shall be deemed nonconforming structures in accordance with the provisions of § 9.105.