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View Law Mystery 1: Why compromise view protection by allowing 18 foot tall trees?

As crusaders for view protection and view restoration, WE continue to be amazed – and at times utterly baffled – by municipalities and associations that spend years creating a much-needed view law ordinance that they then cannot or will not fully enforce.

Malibu, for example, spent three years and some 40 public meetings to forge a view protection ordinance. Bravo! The long debate brought together many members of the community who were given a chance to share their ideas and voice their approval or objection.

The success felt rather hollow, though, when it came to light that the ordinance permits tree growth to a height of 18 feet. The 18 foot allowance makes no sense when you realize that even 10 or 12 foot high trees often substantially block primary views of the ocean or mountains.

By permitting trees to grow to 18 feet tall, Malibu effectively undercuts the entire purpose of the ordinance – view protection.

Similarly, Rancho Palos Verdes has a 16-foot-tall tree rule that also makes no sense in light of the view protection purpose of its ordinance. If vegetation significantly obstructs primary views, it should be trimmed down to the height required to restore the view, not to predetermined height levels that have no relation to the properties in question.

Who or what does Malibu and Ranchos Palos Verdes wish to protect? Is there a strong pro-tree lobby in these cities? I understand and appreciate the need to protect nature; greenery enriches the environment.

Even so, trees can be trimmed, re-arranged or replaced; million dollar views are irreplaceable. Artificial permitted tree height limits should be repealed and each case determined on its own merits.