The Citizens for View Preservation and Restoration (CVPR) has reviewed the view ordinance issued by the View Equity Committee on May 10, 2013. More about CVPR can be found at www.lagunaviews.net
We believe “Views are irreplaceable, where trees and vegetation can be managed to protect our views.” We value our trees, but recognize that vegetation must be managed to avoid wrongfully allowing it to block a neighbor’s views. We oppose limiting by any qualifier a property owner’s right to access remedies under the view ordinance process.
Following are our objectives for a fair, enforceable and effective ordinance:
Views take precedence over vegetation. The ordinance as envisioned by Mayor Boyd is to give property owners the right to a view, which takes precedence over the right to grow vegetation. Trees are wonderful aesthetically, for shade, privacy and bird habitat, but once the vegetation grows above the roofline of a property, that vegetation is deemed secondary to impacted views.
The ordinance must be enforceable and designed to survive legal challenges.
The ordinance should be available to all property owners. The date an applicant purchased their property should not be barrier to the view restoration process. It penalizes property owners who had no prior enforceable ordinance to rely on. Restoration shall have no date baseline or statute of limitations. Restricting any property owner relief through the ordinance is discriminatory and unfair.
Factors for determining “Significant View Obstruction” should be un-weighted. The ordinance should not attempt to rank or weight factors setting “significance” of the obstruction since these are highly site specific.
View area should include all view-obstructed areas. The ordinance should entitle relief from view obstruction in all viewing areas, not simply a “primary view area”. Different viewing areas from a property may require multiple restorative actions.
Views include ocean, coastline, islands, canyons, hillsides and mountains, city lights and various natural and manmade landmarks – all of these, near and far, are worthy of protection.
Distance from view obstruction is irrelevant. If a view is being obstructed, the ordinance should be available to all property owners and not limited by an arbitrary distance.
The vegetation owner should pay for compliance. If a property owner is unable to privately negotiate or mediate a solution with the vegetation owner, the property owner should only pay a reasonable and affordable one-time application and inspection fee. If the view permit is issued, the vegetation owner should pay all costs of compliance, including a refund of the applicant’s fees.
Heritage Trees do not take precedence over view rights. Registration of a tree as a Heritage Tree should not provide a means of circumventing the view ordinance.
City-owned or maintained trees should also be subject to the same view ordinance rules and procedures.
Under the ordinance, views from commercial properties and vacant lots shall be given the same access to a restoration process as views from residential properties.
We urge the View Equity Committee to revise the draft ordinance to include these features.
Steve Caporaso, Jeff Thornton, Doug Cortez, Wayne Phelps, Marianne Blume, Greg Gilroy