I was surprised at the first meeting for the view ordinance that people would be able to complain about tree roots in sewers; trees, palms, and shrubs being fire hazards; and insurance problems due to foliage too close to their homes. If this “View Ordinance Committee” is ever going to get to the best agreement for all involved, the need to keep that kind of complaining out of the meetings is a must. This isn’t going to be an easy task and not everyone is going to agree or be happy with the outcome. It is understandable that everyone should want to keep a view if they purchased their home with a view. Homeowners should also have the right to have the “freedom” to have foliage and trees as proper landscaping to enhance their homes, a place to hang their bird feeders, to watch birds make their nests, to supply shade, or to hang a swing for their children, and the very least to decorate during holiday seasons.
At one point someone said “We live here for the ocean; if you want to see trees live inland!” Once upon a time Laguna Beach was an “art colony”. Most of the famous artists from this area didn’t sit in their living room to paint the ocean; they went down to the shore to paint it, and most of the landscape paintings show eucalyptus, oaks, and sycamores trees in their paintings with the ocean in the back ground. When my grandmother painted from her home in the 1950s, the paintings were of hillside homes and trees. When she painted the ocean she was on the shore painting the view from that point. Not every home in Laguna Beach is going to have an unobstructed view of the ocean and houses purchased in canyons that have mature trees lining the streets shouldn’t mean these new homeowners have the right to get the trees removed just because it would improve their views. I hope the committee keeps all this in mind while going over this process.
Liza Interlandi Stewart, Laguna Beach