Thursday, the City Council held a meeting to present and discuss their latest version of a badly needed view preservation restoration ordinance. The meeting was well attended, mostly by citizens who have had their precious view sheds destroyed by neighbors with overgrown vegetation.
A show of hands, called for by Mayor Elizabeth Pearson, showed that nobody in the audience supported this version of the ordinance, but another show of hands disclosed that almost everyone wanted a better view ordinance.
The proposed ordinance had some good features but is far too complex and costly for the average citizens to use. Fortunately most of the City Council members recognized the excessive costs for both the city and the citizens and are taking corrective action.
It is obvious that a lot of the anticipated costs are due to the unnecessary complexity of the ordinance involving special city employees and outside specialists to evaluate the offending vegetation.
I summarized my comments by stating the ordinance does not have to be so complex and require special people. Any person with reasonable common sense can visit a home suffering with lost views and within a few minutes determine the extent of the view blockage and recommend what needs to be done to the excessive vegetation to restore the lost views. I noted that the city has been losing a lot of property tax money for many years because properties whose views have been destroyed sell for as much as $100,000 less than before. If you question that, just look at the real estate ads. If the subject property has a view, it is the first thing mentioned in the ad. Homes with views increase the property value of the entire neighborhood even if some homes don’t have a view of their own.
Dave Connell, Laguna Beach