View Preservation is for property owners who have a Primary View Determination documented by the City, and provides a process to work with foliage owners in order to preserve this view.
UPDATE - Woolsey Fire
On September 9, 2019, the City approved Ordinance 450 to protect victims of disasters from having primary view corridors established over their properties that would unfairly limit the size and/or location of future replacement structures or replacement landscaping damaged or destroyed by a disaster. Please review Chapter 17.45.150 of the Municipal Code for expiration of prohibition information and timelines. If you have additional questions after reading that section, call the City Planning Hotline at 310-456-2489, extension 485.
MMC Section 17.45.060 defines this procedure. Note: For clarification of any terms found in this procedure, refer to the Definitions page.
The following is an overview of the main steps of the process:
Step 1: Primary View Determination
If a Primary View Determination has already been established, the view owner continues to Step 2.
Step 2: Informal Discussion
If foliage has grown into the primary view corridor, as documented by the Primary View Determination, a resident must attempt to get in touch with the neighbor who owns the foliage to reach a mutually satisfactory solution. The intent of this step is to encourage property owners to talk to each other, and come to an agreement that works for both owners.
- The view owner must send a letter by registered or certified mail, with a return receipt, informing the foliage owner of their concerns. The foliage owner’s mailing address shall be obtained from the ownership records on file with the Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor, as this may or may not be the street address of the property. The owner’s mailing address may be different from the street address of the property.
- The foliage owner has no more than 60 calendar days from the date the letter is received (as indicated on the return receipt) to respond to the view owner’s concerns.
- Failure of a foliage owner to respond in writing with a return receipt within this 60-day period will be deemed as a refusal for informal discussion.
- If Step 2 is successful, the view owner should consider filing for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Director.
- If the attempts to contact the foliage owner to resolve the issue do not result in an agreement, the view owner continues to Step 3
Step 3: Mediation
If Step 1 does not provide a resolution, the view owner invites the foliage owner to participate in mediation, where a neutral third party (mediator) is hired to facilitate a mutually satisfactory solution to a view dispute. A mediator can provide an objective expert perspective on the matter, which will inform the parties of the legal issues involved, and the likely outcomes if an agreement cannot be reached, but the mediator will not make a binding decision on the matter.
- A request to participate in mediation shall be made in writing and sent by registered or certified mail to the foliage owner’s mailing address, with a return receipt requested.
- The foliage owner has no more than 60 calendar days from the date the letter is received (as indicated on the return receipt) to accept or reject the offer of mediation.
- Failure of a foliage owner to respond in writing with a return receipt within this 60-day period will be deemed as a refusal of mediation.
- Acceptance of mediation is voluntary, and both owners shall mutually agree upon a mediator with all mediation costs covered by the view owner unless the parties involved agree otherwise.
- Mediation shall be conducted within 60 calendar days of acceptance by the foliage owner, either formally or informally.
- The mediator has no power to issue binding orders for restorative actions, but will work with both parties to resolve the dispute with a written agreement.
- If attempts at mediation are unsuccessful or the foliage owner refuses mediation, the view owner continues to Step 4.
- If Step 3 is successful, the view owner should consider filing for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Director.
Step 4: Binding Arbitration
If Steps 2 and 3 are attempted and unsuccessful, the view owner shall provide the foliage owner with a proposal for binding arbitration. Arbitration is a voluntary legal procedure for settling disputes and providing a determination of the rights of parties. It usually consists of a hearing before an arbitrator, where all relevant evidence may be freely admitted and the formal rules of evidence usually do not apply. In short, a neutral third party hears both sides and makes a decision on the matter.
- A view owner must propose binding arbitration in writing and have the proposal delivered by registered or certified mail to the foliage owner’s mailing address, with a return receipt requested.
- The foliage owner shall have 60 calendar days to accept or reject an offer of arbitration.
- A foliage owner’s failure to respond in writing with a return receipt within 60 calendar days shall be deemed as a refusal of arbitration.
- Acceptance of arbitration is voluntary, and the two parties shall mutually agree upon an arbitrator with all arbitration costs borne by the view owner unless the parties involved agree otherwise.
- Arbitration shall be conducted within 60 calendar days of acceptance by the foliage owner.
- An arbitrator’s written decision shall be provided to both parties, as well as to the City (see Step 5), with the decision being binding and enforceable pursuant to the provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1280 et seq.
- If Step 4 is successful, the view owner should consider filing for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Director.
- If a request for binding arbitration is refused or unsuccessful, the view owner may proceed with an application for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Commission.