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Neighbors must now take additional steps to resolve view blockages from trees

The Tiburon Town Council has agreed to tweak rules governing neighbor disputes when trees grow to block views and sunlight in an effort to make them fairer to both parties. However, one group of residents says it wants the town to go even further and appoint a citizen task force to undertake a complete overhaul of the policy.

Under the changes approved April 20 by the Town Council, the neighbor with the complaint must first notify the tree owner in writing about their concern. That initial letter must describe the nature and extent of the obstruction, the location of all trees alleged to cause the obstruction and the restorative action the complaining party is proposing to resolve the problem.

If there is no agreement, the complaining party may propose mediation no sooner than 30 days after the first written notice was sent.

Participation in mediation is voluntary, but the town will now pay for one hour of a professional mediator’s time to help resolve disputes; the parties will be referred to a list of professional mediators to choose from.

In cases where mediation is declined by either party or fails, the complaining party can pursue civil action.

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