Laguna Beach is a lovely community in Orange County, CA known for its picturesque views and stunning boulevards. However, during the last couple of years many residents have had their fabulous landscapes destroyed by the trees in the area
As a consequence, they lost their beautiful views and caused the prices for their properties to drop. A lot of people bought their houses in Laguna Beach especially for the splendid panorama, and they paid up to $2 million to benefit from the most incredible scenery; thus, when the change occurred and the trees started to grow, the residents were extremely annoyed by the situation
During a City Council meeting that took place on January 15, more than thirty inhabitants of Laguna Beach argued that the situation was unacceptable, and that they do not want to continue fighting for their ocean views. After several hours of discussions, it was officially decided that Mayor Kelly Boyd will form a special committee and take care of the issue within 90 days. The committee comprises of Roger McErlane, the representative of the Design Review Board, the Commissioner Ken Sadler, and other six people from the community
The majority of the dwellers in Laguna Beach decided to solve the tree problem on their own despite the fact that most communities with homeowners associations feature their own set of regulations; the rest of Laguna will have to face this kind of matter through a voluntary process, in which cooperation means everything
Throughout the last decade, the city proposed two alternatives for residents fighting the luxuriant vegetation. One of the solutions is the view preservation ordinance, and the other is the hedge height limitation ordinance; while the first option is voluntary, the second one is imposed by code enforcement
Likewise, all residents who feel that their views are obstructed have the possibility to file a view preservation claim with the city, and demand for mediation, which implies that the place needs to be reviewed by a certified arborist. In case this doesn’t prove to be a viable solution, they can pursue arbitration, and even civil action. Also, since most residents are reluctant at opting for the voluntary view preservation, they are recommended to elect the hedge height ordinance, in spite of the enforcement costs, the number of potential liability and claims
So far, a hedge height claim process has attached a fee of $630, there are approximately six open cases each year, and the code enforcement needs to spend around twenty hours for each claim. Likewise, the city has reported that there the cost related to the implementation of this ordinance have risen at $65 since it was introduced. Also, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, the city-enforced view preservation budgets reach about $350,000 every year, without the legal costs.