Board to Meet on Protecting Scenic Views

What is a view? How would a city protect and preserve a homeowner's view of the sunrise, sunset or mountain range? These are among the legal and philosophical questions the Planning Commission will consider tonight at 7:30.

Commissioner Joseph Rubin is one of several city officials who for years has urged that the city create an ordinance on views. By Rubin's definition, "the view envelope" goes up five degrees and down five degrees from the eye level of someone standing in the middle of his property. The five-degree standard, Rubin said, allows for a viewer in Monterey Park to take in the mountains of the San Gabriel Valley.

Rubin said there are cases in which a property owner may want to build a two-story house and in doing so would block his neighbors' view of the mountains or sunset. But, he said, if the base of the new house were lowered, for example, only three feet, the view would be protected.

"It starts to get complicated when we talk about how far does a view go out. How about a building in Alhambra? I'd say that's part of your view."

Rubin said he is just concerned about new construction on adjacent lots. "It's not something that is causing great turmoil," he said. "But it is very important to some individual homeowners."

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