VIEW RESTORATION, VIEW PRESERVATION,
AND CITY TREE REVIEW PERMITS
In November 1989 the voters in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes passed Proposition M, a View Preservation and Restoration Ordinance (herein the "Ordinance"). The Ordinance establishes two view recovery procedures; one to "Restore" a view that existed at the time the affected view lot was legally created and the other procedure, to "Preserve" views which existed at the time or since the Ordinance became effective (November 17, 1989). The Ordinance was codified as RPV Municipal Code Section 17.02.040.
The City tree policy was not originally part of the Proposition M. However, in consideration of the Ordinance, the City Council adopted Resolution 89-119 in 1989. This resolution made the City accountable to the spirit of the view Ordinance by implementing the City Tree Review Permit policy as a procedure to be used by residents to have view-impairing City trees trimmed or removed. The City Tree Review Permit policy was codified into the RPV Municipal Code as Municipal Code Section 17.76.100.
For additional information regarding how residents could implement the View Restoration and Preservation permit procedures, residents can refer to the “Guidelines and Procedures for Restoration of Views Where Foliage Is Involved (View Restoration Permits) And Preservation of Views Where Foliage Is Involved”, also known as the “View Restoration Guidelines”.
For additional information regarding the City Tree Review Permit policy, please see RPV Municipal Code Section 17.76.100.
QUESTION: What can I do if my neighbor’s trees/bushes/foliage significantly impair my view?
ANSWER: As described above, there are two permits by which a resident can restore or preserve their protected view as defined by Section 17.02.040.A of the Municipal Code. These are a View Restoration Permit and a View Preservation Permit. Please see a description of these permits and their associated steps below.
VIEW RESTORATION PERMIT PROCESS
View Restoration Step #1- In order to initiate the application, the City asks that you make an attempt to work out the issue with the foliage owner. The person who wishes to restore their view shall send a certified letter to the foliage owner(s). Said letter to a foliage owner should identify the foliage in question, should clearly state what the method and amount of trimming is being requested, and provide a name and contact information so that the foliage owner could respond to the written request. Keep copies of all correspondence mailed and received.
View Restoration Step #2- If the foliage owner fails to respond to the certified letter or the issue cannot be privately resolved, then a completed "Notice of Intent to File an Application for View Restoration" form may be submitted to the City, with three dates selected for a potential mediation meeting. Staff then sends a notice to the foliage owner, requesting that they attend a pre-application/mediation meeting to attempt to resolve the issues between the parties.
View Restoration Step #3- If a private agreement cannot be reached in mediation, or the foliage owners have not responded to the City within the specified time frame, a formal application for a View Restoration Permit may be submitted with a non-refundable fee of $5,106.00. Thereafter, a public hearing before the Planning Commission will be held and a written staff recommendation with an analysis of six criteria called View Restoration findings will be provided for the Planning Commission’s consideration. These findings are described in Section 17.02.040(C)(2)(c) of the Municipal Code and in the View Restoration Guidelines Section V. If the Planning Commission approves the permit request, then the applicant will be required to pay the initial costs of performing the required trimming, removal and/or planting replacement foliage. The foliage owner is responsible for all subsequent trimming maintenance.
VIEW PRESERVATION PERMIT PROCESS
View Preservation Step #1- Same as for View Restoration.
View Preservation Step #2- If the foliage owner fails to respond to the certified letter or the issue could not be privately resolved, then a completed "Notice of Intent to File An Application For View Preservation" form can be submitted to the City, along with a photo (which must meet several specific criteria) that shows the view before the foliage obstructed the view.
If Staff can make all five required findings, particularly that the foliage in question did not impair the view on or after November 1989, and that the foliage in question exceeds 16 feet and/or the roofline of the foliage owner’s house and significantly impairs the view, Staff will send a letter to the foliage owner, asking him/her to voluntarily trim the foliage within a 30 day time period as described in Section VIII-B of the View Restoration Guidelines.
View Preservation Step #3- If the foliage owner does not trim the view-impairing foliage within the 30-day time period, a formal application for a View Preservation Permit may then be submitted to the Community Development Director. If the permit is approved by the Director, the foliage owners are required to trim the view-impairing foliage within a 90 day time period.
CITY TREE REVIEW PERMIT PROCESS
QUESTION: What can I do if trees/bushes/foliage in the public right-of-way (on City-owned property) significantly impair my view?
ANSWER: If the foliage that is significantly impairing your view is located on City-owned property, you may call View Restoration Staff at (310) 544-5228 to schedule a site visit to your property. Staff will assess the view and make a recommendation whether or not there is a significant view impairment caused by the City-owned foliage. If there is a significant view impairment, a completed "City Tree Review Permit Application For View Restoration" may then be submitted to the City. A non-refundable fee of $688 is due at the time of the application submittal. Pursuant to Section 17.76.100 of the City's Development Code, you should also be aware that the Community Development Director shall only grant the City Tree Review Permit if it is determined that the City-owned foliage significantly impairs a view from a City defined viewing area. If the permit application is approved by the Community Development Director, then the City shall pay for the tree removal costs. Please see Municipal Code Section 17.76.100 for more information.