Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Difficult cases with trees

The view to Downtown LA through the chopped pines. Picture by Myriam B. Mahiques
This year, I participated in a Court issue about trees that blocked the beautiful view of a hill side house in Los Angeles. The problem, lots of old pines that grew in the neighbor´s yard below. It was a real problem that was ¨resolved¨ after two years in Court. 3 Parties were involved: the affected property´s owners, who said the loss of the view dropped the value of the house; the neighbor, who said the pines were really old and by chopping them they would be ruined, his own view would be affected; the Neighbors Association who had their own Code, the trees were exceeding the maximum height but who´d dared to chop the great trees?
A very difficult case indeed, where everybody seemed to have a good reason  to defend. We were like a fourth party, supervising the works after the Judge said they had to be trimmed up to the maximum height, which would allow to rescue the view to Downtown LA and surroundings.
I can tell you, nobody was happy with the resolution, because it was not a real solution, you have the view, but the landscape is somehow spoilt.
Today, I was reading about another hard case, again, a huge tree blocking views. What is incredible, it takes so long years to resolve. The article is posted at
Picture from
¨It is probably safe to assume that David Alvand likes his privacy. Firstly the civil engineer spent 12 years fighting a court battle over a 3.6-metre (12ft) concrete wall which he erected without planning permission around his back garden.
It was finally dismantled just before the case reached the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Now it is the front of Alvand's suburban semi-detached house in Plymouth, Devon, which has agitated the neighbours.
They have launched a formal complaint under antisocial behaviour legislation to force him to cut back the vast leyland cypress trees completely filling the front garden.
Planted in 1991, shortly after the 66-year-old moved into the area, the famously fast-growing trees – better known as leylandii and the source of countless previous neighbourly disputes, some turning violent – are now more than 10 metres tall.
As well as completely obscuring the front of Alvand's home, their higher branches overhang his neighbours' roofs, as well as the pavement.¨
Read the full article:


  1. It happens a lot here in NZ too. We also have protected trees (there are certain parameters which automatically make them protected according to the planning of the city). But two years! That is a lot of wasted resources.

    I like your blog by the way! Please feel free to check out my blog too, it is about creative things, including architecture, urban, art.

  2. Dear Bobby, thank you so much for your comment. Yes, there are lots of cases like this, but this one in UK is incredible, it took soooooooo long.
    I know for my case, the expenses for lawyers fees, etc, was more than U$S 20000
    Best regards,



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