Tree/View Conflicts arise frequently around the greater Puget Sound area, where property owners are desirous of establishing or maximizing scenic views from their properties and trees or other vegetation get in the way. The offending vegetation often does not belong to the homeowner who wants the view, but to a neighbor. Regrettably, the homeowner is also someone's "neighbor"! and conflicts can arise over the right to have trees versus the right to a view, both of which are important in the Pacific Northwest.
Because these conflicts often occur in areas which are high water-front bluffs with steep, unstable slopes, destruction of vegetation can have serious and expensive consequences. Removal of excess vegetation on bluffs or steep slopes may affect slope stabilization and cause erosion or landslides.
A thorough knowledge of plant species, particularly native plants, and acceptable management practices can help resolve many of these conflicts. In some cases, removing the larger trees which are causing the conflict and replanting with smaller and lower-growing species, which are slow growing, may resolve the problem. However, on steep or unstable slopes, replacement plants should be well established before removing existing vegetation.
In other cases, appropriate pruning may provide an acceptable solution.
Well written view ordinances in communities can also be very beneficial, provided they are fair, workable and enforceable.
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