Wednesday on The Daily Weekly we noted the Clyde Hill battle between former Mariner John Olerud and his neighbors, who have a couple trees -- including one Chinese pine -- that block the Olerud family's westerly view. Things like this tend to get contentious in Clyde Hill, because, as an appraisal commissioned by the Oleruds notes, the trees knock $255,000 off the value of the family's $4 million home. Using the Clyde Hill "view obstruction and tree removal" ordinance of 1991, the Oleruds have been fighting for some time for the removal of the trees.
*See Also: Best Mariner 2012: Felix Hernandez
Wednesday night Olerud took his case to the Clyde Hill Board of Adjustment, which held its second meeting on the matter. And as KOMO reports, Olerud eventually prevailed -- with the board ordering the trees chopped down and replaced with smaller shrubbery at Olerud's expense.
According to KOMO's report, the board sided with Olerud because the trees "had some infestation issues and clearly blocked Olerud's view." Clyde Hill City Administrator Mitch Wasserman tells Seattle Weekly the infestation stems from aphids, and that the board's 3-2 vote in favor of tree removal came after a lengthy process.
The board's vote undoubtedly represents good news for the Oleruds and their bottom line, as their appraisal indicates that once the trees are hacked the family's 12-room, 6,680-square-foot abode will be worth $4.3 million. As it stands, the home is worth a paltry $4.045.
The decision is also of note because it's the first time Clyde Hill's "view obstruction and tree removal" ordinance has ever resulted in a tree actually being removed. Since the ordinance was enacted in 1991, Wasserman says "there have been many people in the community who have used it," but only two other cases have actually been formally considered by the board -- with neither resulting in tree removal. The first complaint was withdrawn late in the process after the neighbors involved reached a resolution on their own accord. In the second case, the board decided the tree in question did not unreasonable obstruct the complainant's view.
The decision by the Clyde Hill Board of Adjustment came as the end of a lengthy saga. Wasserman says the first step in the process that led to Wednesday night's board vote is to try to get residents to work the matter out in a "neighborly" fashion. If that doesn't work, the disputing parties are sent to the King County Dispute Resolution Center in hopes of reaching an agreement. But if none of that results in an agreement between the neighbors, as was the case in Oleruds v. Big-Ass-Trees, then the board can step in and make a decision. Along the way, other considerations come in to play, like whether or not the tree predates the city's incorporation -- which would classify it as a "historic tree," and thus make it exempt from the ordinance.
This concludes today's lesson in rich people problems.