Completion of a new view ordinance is in sight.
Larry Nokes, chairman of the mayor's committee to revise the existing View Equity Ordinance, reported Tuesday that the committee is moving forward but still has issues to be resolved before a draft will be proposed to the council.
"It is very much a work in progress, but the issues are beginning to form up," Nokes said.
Still to be debated: the distance that blockage can be remediated — 100 feet, 1,000 feet or unlimited.
"Some people say any blockage must be removed. I am trying to get my head around that and keep it constitutional," said Nokes, an attorney.
Also undecided: the trigger date for a complaint — when the property was purchased, when the structure was built or when the lot on which it stands was created.
Realtor Bob Chapman, who was on the Planning Commission when the original ordinance was approved in 1997 — after five commission and four council hearings — said objective criteria is needed and factors such as time and distance must be considered.
A clear and vocal majority of people attending the committee meetings want the criteria to state that views take precedence over vegetation regardless of circumstances, unlike the 1997 ordinance, which stated that views and trees and other vegetation contribute to the aesthetic value, quality of life, ambience and economic value of properties.
"People moved here for the views," Dave Connell said at the meeting. "You can see trees any place."
Nokes said the goal is to come up with an enforceable ordinance that will reduce tension between neighbors and not change the character of the city.
Bryan Menne doesn't' think the direction the committee is taking will work as hoped.
"This ordinance will open the city to hostility," Menne said. "It should be voted on by the homeowners."
Councilman Steven Dicterow also voiced concern about community discord.
Nokes said the committee listens to all positions. However, little weight is given to those opinions, according to Liza Stewart.
Beautification Committee Chairman Ruben Flores suggested that both sides need to learn which trees are appropriate to plant and how they can enhance a view or in fact be the view.
For more information, visit lagunabeachcity.net and click on View Equity Committee.