Imagine spending months or years searching for an affordable home in Laguna Beach with a beautiful ocean view. You invite family and friends to enjoy your little piece of paradise, and wake up in awe every morning over this gift.
A few years go by. One day you notice that foliage is beginning to grow into your beautiful view. Imagine that these overgrown trees and bushes are in back of someone’s property who themselves have a fully unobstructed view.
You bolster all your confidence and knock on their door or write, volunteering to pay to trim their vegetation so you can enjoy the same view they enjoy.
Imagine that they either ignore your request or refuse to accommodate you altogether.
Well this is what has been happening for years in Laguna Beach. That is why the citizens of this town, who have been so patient while watching their views disappear and property values plummet, have spent the last year and a half working tirelessly to get the city of Laguna to finally enforce their own view preservation ordinance.
We do not wish to raze the town of its trees and shrubs. We wish only to retain or recover the views lost during the period when the city didn’t enforce its own ordinance.
Losing your view to a big tree is no different than losing it to a big house. The city certainly doesn’t allow that. Why is an overgrown tree any different? None of the trees along the coast of Laguna are indigenous. All were planted without consideration of how they would one day impact views. If the city had enforced its own ordinance years ago, the vegetation would never have gotten this out of control.
As it is, the new ordinance requires the complainant to pay all the costs to begin the mediation and restoration process. That’s where the money will come from. The city stands to earn more revenue when homes sell for more money once views are restored.
It all comes down to this. If people were willing to work together, we wouldn’t need a view ordinance, but unfortunately that just has not been the case.
Marsha Bianchi, Laguna Beach