Tree View Ordinance
Adopted in 1984, the County’s Tree Obstruction View ordinance includes a process to resolve the loss of a view (due to tree growth) that existed at the time a property owner purchased their home. Recently draft amendments have been made to the ordinance with the input of a steering committee of Kensington residents, including two Directors of the KPOA. The committee was convened by Supervisor John Gioia and his staff after years of hearing from residents that the current ordinance was not providing sufficient methods for resolving tree view obstruction between neighbors and resulted in sometimes costly civil lawsuits.
Major changes included in the amendments to the ordinance are:
- Opportunity for voluntary mediation to resolve disputes between neighbors.
- Creation of a Tree Arbitration Board by the County to issue decisions on tree obstruction for advisory fact finding and/or binding arbitration.
- Establishing fact finding advisory decisions by the Tree Arbitration Board when requested by a Kensington resident.
The ordinance does not give enforcement power to any County department, however it is expected that the various options to resolve disputes provided in the ordinance will help reduce the costs of legal resolution of tree view blockage. The ordinance includes standards for reviewing view claims by neighbors and the Tree Arbitration Board, including the view character, obstruction character and benefits and burdens of the view obstruction, all defined in the ordinance.
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