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REAL PROPERTY, Obstruction of view, Spite fence

SETTLEMENT RESULT: Defendants agree to remove certain trees and reduce the height of other trees and vegetation so as to preserve Plaintiffs' defined view corridor as set forth in the agreement. The settlement agreement also contained provisions for biannual tree maintenance so as to preserve the view corridor on an ongoing basis. Mediator was Joel P. Franciosa, Esq.

CASE: I.D. Confidential

SETTLEMENT DATE: July 3, 2007

ATTORNEYS: Plaintiffs- Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendants - Hussein Saffouri (Ramsey Law Group, Lafayette)

EXPERTS: Plaintiff- Louie Brunn, Marin County Arborists, San Rafael

FACTS & CONTENTIONS: Plaintiffs bought their Tiburon home in 1998, at which time they enjoyed unobstructed panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, the bridges, and surrounding hills and landmarks. Plaintiffs began planning a project to build their new dream home on the site, and exercised extreme concern for their neighbors while making plans. Plaintiffs disclosed their plans to all neighbors, and made modifications according to their concerns. Plaintiffs’ down-slope neighbors, the Defendants, were the only ones who did not endorse the building plans, even though Plaintiffs modified their plans to accommodate the Defendants by making provisions to lower the roof of their new home and to install dense shrubbery as a privacy screen.

Despite Defendants’ unwillingness to amicably cooperate, the Tiburon Design Board unanimously approved Plaintiffs’ building plans, and construction began. Shortly after Plaintiffs began construction, they noticed a new landscape project on the Defendants’ property. They later ascertained that Defendants’ project included plans for installment of a row of fig laurel trees which were expected to reach heights of 30 feet. Despite Plaintiffs’ efforts to come to a solution, and even to engage in mediation, Defendants would not cooperate. The new trees grew rapidly in their first year, enough to obstruct Plaintiffs’ views in violation of the Tiburon View Ordinance.

Plaintiffs sought Injunctive and Declaratory relief requiring Defendants to comply with Tiburon Municipal Code and to remove and/or lower the height of trees which constituted a nuisance, as well as a spite fence.

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