View law proposal goes nowhere

The view of the San Gabriel Mountains above La Cañada Flintridge can be striking, but a group of city commissioners don't think the scenery warrants any protection.

Members of the city's Planning Commission decided Tuesday night not to move forward with the development of a view preservation regulation, although some said they would like to study the issue in the future. Such a measure would protect hillside properties that offer views of the mountains from obstructions like trees and vegetation.

“I think it's a slippery slope,” said Commissioner Rick Gunter. “There's a point in which you can't regulate everything.”

Gunter and other commissioners agreed that the “view” in the city would be hard to define.

Ali Ghaneh, who lives on Sugar Loaf Drive, first presented the issue before the commission in August. He contended that his view was being compromised by a neighbor's tall trees and vegetation. Attempts to convince the neighbor to trim the greenery were fruitless, he said, even after he offered to pay for the service.

“Without an ordinance, people can abuse their rights,” he said, adding that one of the reasons he chose a home in the hills was for the view.

Commissioners Jeffrey McConnell and Arun Jain were in favor of studying the issue. But Gunter and Commissioners Herand Der Sarkissian and Terry Walker did not think the issue was significant enough to recommend to the City Council.

Sarkissian said view ordinances are difficult in cities without a definite viewpoint.

“Interestingly, the cities that have [a view ordinance] are the ones close to the ocean and the ocean is the driving force,” he said, “which is not our case. They have an object, which is the blue sky and the scenery.”

In other cities, he said, the argument that an ocean view is the reason for living in a home is more justified. In La Cañada, he said, that is harder to prove.

Walker said a view regulation could leave officials to decide if a view was more important than a neighbor's right to have trees. “I'm just not comfortable legislating that,” she said.


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.


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