View-Protecting Ordinances Remain Too Costly

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Probably one of the most understated letter titles ever “Hedge Height Policy is Cumbersome, Expensive” (Jan. 9 edition) was attached to Louis Lee’s fine letter last week about the city hedge ordinance.

The hedge height policy, like the view preservation ordinances (past and current) are not only cumbersome and expensive; they are the lawyers and bureaucrats dream of time consuming regulations, complexities, job creation, unnecessary costs, ending up as nearly useless. Determining if a view obstruction problem exists and the proper solution is an issue that even the most uninformed person should be able to evaluate. Using heavily biased arborists and arbitrators are a waste of time and money as are money wasting countless meetings. A blockage of a once beautiful view is a disaster whether caused by a structure or oversized excessive vegetation. (The city is tough on preventing structures from blocking views so why is vegetation getting a free pass to destroy views?)

It should be noted that long ago many citizens researched and prepared a fair, effective, economical, city enforced safety and view preservation ordinance; but it was fought and destroyed by overzealous groups who made silly claims such as all the trees in town would be removed. At least, as a fallout of all these meetings, former Council member Paul Freeman came up with the idea of a simple hedge ordinance based on the successful fence ordinances that most cities have.

Not surprisingly, the proposed simple hedge ordinance fell victim to the same opposition and bureaucrats and became unnecessarily costly and complex.

Since both the view preservation ordinance and the hedge ordinance that were finally enacted are both too complex and expensive for the average citizen, most people cannot afford the time and money to engage in the battle to save their views. The result is that once beautiful private and public view sheds have been, and are being, destroyed resulting in diminished property values. The city has lost a lot of tax dollars as property is being sold for tens of thousands of dollars less than it could bring if the views were intact.


Dave Connell, Laguna Beach

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