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Belvedere and homeowner in standoff over illegal olive trees

A pair of 48-inch box olive trees are seen flanking the driveway of a Golden Gate Avenue home in Belvedere, where 36-inch box trees were approved. Officials last August ordered the owners to remove the unapproved trees, which block the views of a neighbor and sit in the city’s right of way, but the owners have refused to do so, racking up thousands in fines. (Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark)

The city of Belvedere appears to be in a standoff with a Golden Gate Avenue homeowner who planted two view-blocking olive trees on city property flanking his driveway without approval, has refused orders to remove them and has racked up thousands of dollars in fines while seeking to rally support from neighbors. In a rare request, the owners sought a new hearing before the Planning Commission at its March 16 teleconference meeting, but the item was abruptly struck from the agenda that same day as officials decided “there were some issues that hadn’t been resolved,” according to Building and Planning Director Irene Borba. In an interview after the meeting, Planning Commission Chair Peter Mark said the city had determined the new request to keep the trees was not different than what the commission had presided over — and denied — last summer.

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