View and Tree Policy drafts





  • To implement directives set forth in the PVHA CC&R’s (list passages that apply, see introductory summary and page 36, section 7)
  • To provide guidelines for the evaluation and resolution of view disputes
  • To implement a clear process to residents for managing view issues
  • To document outcomes effectively for future evaluation


  • The type of scenic views may vary considerably from one property to another. Our community was intentionally designed to embrace a variety of features referenced by topography and orientation of lots. Public vistas from roadways and parks are also an important factor of neighborhood character.
  • Note that per PVHA CC&R”s any tree over 20’ tall requires PVHA approval for trimming or removal.
  • For residential view restoration purposes, the main viewing area should be defined and documented.
  • Existing neighborhood character should be considered when altering the treescape.
  • Neighbor’s privacy needs should be balanced with any remedial view measures.
  • Safety may also play into a decision for the type of remediation requested. Branches overhanging a neighbor’s property, roots escaping to a neighbor’s yard and clogging plumbing or compromising foundations, the possibility of structural failure of an aged or diseased tree, should also be considered.
  • Designated trees, those specified on approved plans, grandfathered trees that enhance beauty, and historical trees should be given special consideration as they were intentionally selected for particular attributes.
  • Refer to PVHA Tree Policy


  • “Scenic View” shall mean a view of the community and its special features such as landscapes, ocean, city lights, canyons, golf courses, parkland, architecture, and greenery. This visually impressive scenic vista is to be evaluated from the established “Main Viewing Area” of the residence.
  • “Main Viewing Area” shall mean the primary living area of a residential structure. A “Secondary Viewing Area” may be considered for view remediation pending lot orientation and architectural layout.
  • “Designated Tree” shall refer to a tree specified on an approved plan, a grandfathered tree that adds beauty and function (shade, screening) to the landscape, or a historically significant tree.
  • “Nuisance Tree” shall refer to a tree that is causing safety problems, a tree that is not properly maintained causing a disfigured appearance, or a tree causing a significant view obstruction.
  • “Significant View Obstruction” should be evaluated by the following criteria:
  1.      The extent of obstruction into the scenic view, current and future. Include notation on the age/lifespan of the tree, and natural growth habit of the tree.
  2.      Consideration should be given to the composition of the view as one would look at a painting. Look for proportion and a harmonious blending of features in keeping with the overall vista.
  3.      The quality of the scenic view being obstructed in terms of special features (see definitions of scenic view)
  4.      The extent to which the view has been diminished by factors other than growth of the obstructing tree or vegetation. This may include new additions, residences, trees and landscape beyond the scope of the application.
  5.      The extent to which the view contributes to the enjoyment and economic value of the Applicant’s property.
  6.      The extent to which alteration of the vegetation affects neighboring properties and the overall neighborhood character.


  • Residents who are unable to resolve a view issue in an informal neighborly manner may elect to take the next step to mediation, arbitration or litigation, in ascending order.
  • The goal would be to reach a practical solution within the guidelines set forth by PVHA.


Step 1:

  • Document discussion between neighbors. Provide a plan, photographs and fill out the application form.

Step 2:

  • Select an independent mediator, arbitrator or litigator to address the dispute. In order to be valid, a legal contract between parties must be in agreement with the policies and guidelines of PVHA.

Step 3:

  • Submit a copy of the resolution agreement for review and addition to the property file.
  • Sign off application, close issue.




  1. Trimming of trees and shrubs should conform to ANSI standards* and be performed by an ASI certified tree trimmer or licensed arborisT.
  2. Topping and severe pruning are not permitted.
  3. In order of preference the following techniques* may be employed for view restoration:

a. Lacing

b. Vista Pruning

c. Crown reduction

d. Crown raising

e. Stand thinning

f. Heading back permitted only for hedging

g. Removal and replacement

*an addendum containing visual descriptions is pending

  1. Trimming should be scheduled for the dormant winter months.
  2. Timing of trimming should also conform to the California Department of Fish and Game Code designated under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Nesting birds are not to be disturbed.  Visit
  3. Where trimming is required for view preservation, a maintenance schedule for trimming based on the individual species of tree is to be included in the agreement.
  4. LA County Fuel Modification standards also apply to Palos Verdes Estates, restricting tree placement and limiting the height of hedging depending upon their distance from structures.  Additional information can be obtained from the Los Angeles County Fire Department website:

Comments from PVHA members are welcome.  Email:

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