This very moment I’m sitting in reception area of an arbitration office in downtown Los Angeles waiting to be called as an expert witness. Being a Malibu real estate agent and professional photographer can lead you to interesting places when a dispute arrises between two neighbors about ocean views. I’m hear to talk about some images I took over the course of a year for a client who had another neighbors trees blocking their ocean view. The City of Malibu has always has some guidelines and codes about vegetation and views but it wasn’t until recent that Malibu decided to deal with the issue with a view ordinance.
From the Malibu Times
The ordinance allows residential and commercial property owners to reclaim one 180-degree “primary view” that has been obstructed by foliage growth within a 1,000-foot radius of their property. To qualify under the ordinance, the view must have been unobstructed when the property was purchased or at the time of the city’s incorporation in 1991, whichever is later. The staff report defines a “primary view” as “visually impressive scenes of the Pacific Ocean, offshore islands, the Santa Monica Mountains, canyons, valleys, or ravines.”
A property owner claiming a view obstruction must first consult with the owner of the obstructing foliage or trees informally to try to reach an agreement. If those discussions are unsuccessful, the city would pay for a mediator for up to three hours to help the two sides reach an agreement; a neutral third party who would act as a negotiator.
As a Malibu real estate agent I can tell you with certainty that the amount of ocean view can affect the price of a home in the millions of dollars. It’s not uncommon to hear someone boast that their house is worth far more because they have 50% more view than the house down the street.
This reminds me of something I saw last week on agent caravan. There is a house for sale right now on Point Dume that is a great buy at $2,800,000. When I went up to the second floor to have a look at the ocean view I noticed that there were tons of trees blocking about 40%of the ocean view. Imagine the value if the next buyer could go in and get the trees trimmed! A far better investment than any remodel. $20,000 spent on tree trimming might yield a $150,000 increase in property value!
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