View Restoration Division
View Restoration and View Preservation Process
When trees exceed 16 feet in height or they exceed the roofline of the foliage owner's residence and they significantly impair a view, there are 2 types of permit requests by which a resident may restore or preserve his or her view as defined by Section 17.02.040.A of the Municipal Code. These are a View Restoration Permit and a View Preservation Permit.
City Tree Review
When a city-owned tree impairs a view, a request could be made to the View Restoration Division to conduct a review to determine whether tree trimming is warranted.
Below you will find a summary of the permit steps.
- 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 (PDF) may be submitted to the city, with 3 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. Thereafter, a public hearing before the Planning Commission will be held and a written staff recommendation with an analysis of 6 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 Step 1
Before initiating a pre-application request, the city asks that you make an attempt to work out the issue with the foliage owner. The person who wishes to preserve his or her 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 Preservation Step 2
If the foliage owner fails to respond to the certified letter or the issue could not be privately resolved, then submit to the View Restoration Division a completed Documentation form accompanied by photographs of an unobstructed view taken from a viewing area taken on or after November 17, 1989. If staff verifies the documentation photos, then the pre-application request could be made by submitting a Notice of Intent to File An Application For View Preservation Form (PDF) to the city, along with documentation photos. See photo qualification criteria for View Preservation.
Thereafter, if staff can make all 5 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.
Although the Public Works Department manages and controls city-owned trees, View Restoration Division staff becomes involved with city-owned trees when they impair views.
If your view is impaired by a city tree, then you may contact View Restoration staff so that a visit to your viewing area could be scheduled to determine whether the foliage significantly impairs the view. City-owned foliage that causes a significant view impairment may be trimmed by the City's contracted tree service. Foliage that does not significantly impair the view may remain in the view frame.
The scheduling and coordination of city tree trimming is performed by the Maintenance Division, Public Works Department.