Court struggle ends tree dispute in the expensive San Francisco area


San Francisco (AP) —Tall trees are worshiped throughout California, according to this week’s Court of Appeals, but without one Monterey Pine towering in the heart of a fierce controversy in San Francisco’s wealthiest areas. I can’t.

On Wednesday, the State Court of Appeals ordered a couple in the Pacific Heights district on the hill to remove trees that were at least 32 feet (10 meters) high. Neighbors claimed that trees obstructed her view of landmarks in San Francisco Bay and other cities, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

My neighbor is an 81-year-old woman who moved to a San Francisco home with her husband, who died in 1976. “When they saw the spectacular scenery, they were sold,” said female lawyer Bali Bonaparte.

“I could see from Marin Headlands to the Pacific Ocean to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, Sausalito, Belvedere, Tiburon and Angel Island,” said Bonaparte. She said she was afraid of being harassed and asked the client to refrain from her name.

The pine was planted by a former resident in 1999 and had grown tens of feet high on wide, thick-growing branches by the time the case was brought to trial in 2019. The proceedings were filed in 2018 after the mediation failed.

The woman “tried as much as she could to work with her neighbors to find a collaborative solution,” Bonaparte said. “Unfortunately, they were always resolute that they would never agree to restore her view unless ordered.”

Judge Jeff Ross of the High Court visited the scene before issuing a December 2019 ruling to remove the pine, citing the San Francisco Ordinance on Resolving the Tree Top Feud. He ruled that “the rapid growth of both height and width of trees hinders the landmarks and views that were once visible.”

In support of Ross’s order, the First District Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that the only feasible solution in this case was to remove the tree.

Pruning may have worked when the pine was small, but now it’s overgrown and can’t be thinned or placed on top in a way that restores visibility, Judge Ioanna Petrou said. Said in a 3-0 decision. She quoted a tree doctor’s testimony that trees provide little shade or privacy to homeowners and can be logged without disturbing the soil. Under the ordinance, both households will share the cost of the removal, which arborists estimate at $ 1,800.

Famous for its expensive mansions and breathtaking views, the upscale district of Pacific Heights is no wonder for tree conflicts.

Oracle Corp. Millionaire CEO Larry Ellison sued a downhill neighbor in 2011, saying he had blocked visibility into the bay seeking the removal of three redwoods and 80-year-old acacia. The proceedings were settled with an agreement to cut trees.