John and Jaylene Zabrucky own a home in the exclusive Marquez Knolls area of Pacific Palisades, Calif. Their home is adjacent to one owned by Lloyd McAdams and Heather Baines who plan to construct an addition to their residence.

But the Zabruckys object because the addition will partially block their unobstructed view. They point to Paragraph 11 of the homeowner association CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions).

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

This provision says: “No tree, shrub or other landscaping shall be planted or any structures erected that may at present or in the future obstruct the view from any other lot.”

The Zabruckys sued their adjoining neighbors for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging the proposed addition violates the neighborhood CC&Rs by partially obstructing their view.

If you were the judge would you rule Paragraph 11 of the CC&Rs prohibits construction of the addition, which will partially obstruct the Zabruckys view?

The judge said no!

“It seems highly unlikely those who framed Paragraph 11 intended to limit its protections to ‘fences, hedges and landscaping’ and not to the erection of other kinds of structures that might significantly destroy the views and value of homes in the Marquez Knolls development,” the judge explained.

However, it would be unreasonable to interpret the word “structure” to prohibit all home additions and alterations, he continued.

Therefore, Paragraph 11 should be interpreted to mean any structure that will unreasonably obstruct the view from another lot, the judge emphasized. This CC&R shall be read to prohibit any structure that unreasonably blocks a view, such as a two-story addition, he noted.

The evidence shows the roofline of the proposed addition will be lower than the adjoining home’s existing roofline, the judge reported. Therefore, the home addition is reasonable, although it partially blocks the current unobstructed view of the Zabruckys, the judge ruled.

Based on the 2005 California Court of Appeals decision in Zabrucky v. McAdams, 28 Cal.Rptr.3d 592.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

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