View Restoration is for property owners who:
- Do not have a Primary View Determination; and/or
- Want to restore a pre-existing view that has been significantly obstructed by foliage located within 1,000 feet of the point of the main viewing area of the view owner’s primary view corridor.
The following 4-step process, established in Malibu Municipal Code (MMC) Section 17.45.110, is for residents who have pictures they wish to use as the basis for restoring their view:
Step 1: Informal Discussion
If foliage has grown into a property's primary view corridor, the view property owner must first make attempts 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 Office of the Los Angeles County Assessor, as this may or may not be 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 discussions.
If the attempts to contact the foliage owner to resolve the issue do not result in an agreement, the view owner continues to Step 2.
If an agreement is reached, the view owner should consider filing for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Director.
When foliage trimming as determined in the private agreement has been completed, the view owner must apply for a Primary View Determination to document the restored view.
Step 2: Mediation
If Step 1 does not provide a resolution, the view owner should invite 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 delivered 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 borne 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, continue to Step 3.
- If the mediation is successful, the view owner should consider filing for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Director of the decision.
- When foliage trimming, as agreed upon in the mediation agreement, has been completed, the view owner should apply for a new Primary View Determination to document the restored view.
Step 3: 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, which is a voluntary legal procedure for settling disputes and providing a determination of the rights of parties. Arbitration 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 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 through a request for a View Preservation Permit from the Planning Director, with the decision being binding and enforceable pursuant to the provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1280 et seq.
When foliage trimming has occurred according to decision, the view owner should apply for a Primary View Determination to document the restored view.
Step 4: Written Advisory Opinion
If Steps 1 through Step 3 are exhausted and do not produce a satisfactory result, the view owner may request that the Planning Director assess the matter and issue a Written Advisory Opinion on the view dispute. A request to the Planning Director must be made in writing as described below within 30 days after binding arbitration is refused or deemed refused.
The Planning Director may assist the parties in resolving the view equity dispute, but can also choose to decline the request. While the Planning Director’s opinion is not binding on the parties, it may be used as evidence in a civil action against the foliage owner.
How to Request a Written Advisory Opinion by the Planning Director
- Uniform Application completed and submitted by the applicant/view owner (Claimant), providing contact information and signing the back of the application
- Pay application fee of $604
- Provide names of the foliage owner(s) and the address(es) and/or Assessor Parcel Numbers (APN) of the property where the foliage is located
- Submit a letter identifying:
- The current view (providing photos, as necessary);
- The trees and foliage impacting the view, and the address of the property(ies) where they are located
- Restorative measures the claimant is requesting for each tree or foliage, specifying the amount of trimming or other methods that should be employed to improve the view
- Any actions or agreements the claimant is willing to undertake
If the Planning Director declines the request, the fee and application materials will be returned to the Claimant with documentation indicating that the request was declined.
Step 5: Court Action
If a view owner has completed these steps, but has not reached an agreement or resolution with the foliage owner, the view owner may initiate a civil action through the courts to restore the view pursuant to the provisions of MMC Chapter 17.45.