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REAL PROPERTY, Nuisance – Obstruction of Views, Fire Hazard, Spite Fence

SETTLEMENT: Defendant agreed to lower the height of and/or remove trees and vegetation on his property according to the specifications set forth by Plaintiffs’ arborist, and to maintain them on an ongoing basis. Defendant agreed to install a row of shrubs to act as a privacy screen at his own expense, and also agreed to grant Plaintiffs the right to enter his property and perform tree and vegetation work as needed in order to comply with the specifications of the settlement agreement. Mediator was Gary T. Ragghianti, Esq.

CASE: Ellen Chiang and Stephen D. Pelletier v. Larry A. Bedard, Case No. CV 032814

SETTLEMENTT DATE: March 7, 2004

ATTORNEYS: Plaintiffs- Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendant- Terrell J. Mason (Riede, McCall, Mason & Mussallem, San Rafael)

EXPERTS: Plaintiff- Raymond Moritz, arborist, Moritz Arboricultural Consulting, San Rafael

FACTS & CONTENTIONS: Plaintiffs and Defendant are neighbors in Sausalito, CA. At the time of the purchase of their home, the Chiang/Pelletiers enjoyed relatively unobstructed panoramic views of the Bay. Defendant, who lives down-slope and adjacent to Plaintiffs, allowed his trees to grow to such excess that they significantly obstructed Plaintiffs’ views in violation of the Sausalito View Ordinance. In addition, many of the trees on Defendant’s property were highly flammable and posed a safety hazard to the Chiang/Pelletiers and their property. Plaintiffs attempted to enter into good faith negotiations and even offered to pay for the necessary tree work themselves, to no avail.  Plaintiffs then filed suit for an injunction requiring defendant to comply with Sausalito’s Municipal Code, and to remove the trees or maintain the height of all trees on the property at a level that would not block their views.

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