Sept. 26, 2017 Update
Santiago Hills Assessment District Landscape Renovations - Proposed Next Steps
Since the August 30 community meeting, City staff has been reviewing and consolidating information received at and following the meeting in an effort to determine next steps to move forward. Many Santiago Hills property owners provided input at the August 30, 2017 meeting, and others have contacted us by email since then. Through this process, there appears to be community consensus regarding the following:
- Keep turf grass in the landscaped areas where it currently exists
- Remove and replace dead plants
- Improve maintenance of existing landscape
- The advisory liaison committee established in 2015 is not sufficient and a process which provides more input from more residents is desired
The Trails End project was the first of the landscape renovations funded with the increased assessment. In an effort to be prudent with funding and efficient in completing planned renovations, efforts on Skylark Place were already underway when the initial community feedback on Trails End was received. The area was cleared in May and a contract to relandscape the area on Skylark from Newport to Presidio Way was brought before the City Council on August 8. At the August City Council meeting, City staff was directed to work with the community to receive their input on the plant palette before an award of contract was brought back to the City Council. Since then, a majority of the feedback we received communicated the following:
- Replace the meadow grass at Trails End
- Move forward to landscape Skylark Place since it is currently dirt, creates dust and is unattractive
- For the remainder of landscaped areas going forward, maintaining a blend of turf and replacing dead plants with water efficient plants as needed on a smaller scale (not large renovation projects)
Option A:Develop specifications and bid out the work to remove the meadowgrass and replace it with sod of WestCoaster turf grass which is similar to what had previously been featured. Click here for the specifications for the WestCoaster turf grass. The cost is estimated to be about $80,000 and the replacement could begin after the bid process, around January 2018.
Option B:Leave Trails End as it is currently until a comprehensive plan can be developed for the entire District landscaping. City staff will explore the possibility of modifying maintenance practices for the meadow grass, to include turf like mowing, to create a visual appearance more similar to a typical lawn.
Option A:Bring back the award of contract on October 10 substituting the meadowgrass with WestCoaster turf grass sod on the corners and parkways, substituting Rockrose for meadow grass in the median, and utilizing low water use plantings in the planter areas. Click here for the specifications for the West Coaster turf grass. For a visual representation of the proposed landscaping, including the proposed specific plants, shrubs, and trees after about 1-2 years of growing and filling in, click here for picture 1, click here for picture 2, or click here for picture 3. This proposed plan will cost $133,400. If this option is chosen, the work would commence in October and be completed by January 2018.
Option B:Develop specifications and bid out work to prepare the soil for future planting, and cover the existing area with mulch, until a comprehensive plan can be developed for the entire District landscaping. The cost estimate for option B is $17,300 and the work would commence around December 2017.
Staff also evaluated a third option for Skylark to install irrigation and turf in the parkways where it had been previously, and filling the planter areas with mulch until a comprehensive plan can be developed for the entire District. This option would require re-bidding and therefore would cause a delay of about 3 months over Option A, with the turf installation not occurring until January 2018. In addition, this option would be more costly since the future plantings would be a separate project without the economy of scale of one project, and planting and irrigation installations in the planter areas would likely cause some damage to the previously planted turfed areas. Therefore, this option was not pursued further and is not recommended.
City staff has directed the contractor to increase removal of dead plant material, apply mulch where needed, and replace like for like plant material in spare areas, where current irrigation will support it and as funds allow. Beginning in October, turfed areas will be aerated, fertilized and overseeded to encourage healthy growth and to fill in bare and thinning spots. In addition, a pre-emergent herbicide will be applied to prevent weeds in the turfed areas. This is the first year since the assessment was approved and after the drought related watering restrictions were lifted, that these enhanced turf maintenance practices are able to be reinstated. In addition, staff will evaluate the cost for increased frequencies for maintenance services to be in line with expectations expressed, and either amend or re-bid the existing landscape maintenance contract to include these changes, if financially feasible.
• The Handy Creek Paseo renovation and other District wide landscape renovations are on hold until a process is developed for moving forward.
• City staff is evaluating options for additional community input and development of an overall landscape plan for SHAD.
We anticipate staff recommending Option A for Trails End and Option A for Skylark Place at the October 10 City Council meeting. Please be assured that we will do only what the Santiago Hills community desires. As such, your opinion matters and we continue to welcome and appreciate your feedback. Please provide your further input to Santiagohills@cityoforange.org by October 1.