Tree and View Ordinance – final countdown?

Tomorrow’s Torrance City Council meeting (February 28 7:00PM) features another vote on the Tree and View ordinance, which recently was reviewed by the Planning Commission.  We think this will be the final approval.

The Planning Commission agreed with three suggestions that residents and Riviera Homeowners board members made to the draft ordinance:

1.)  Having a staff member come to the homes of the view seeker and the tree owner to make a decision about view obstruction is a very powerful and important element of this ordinance.  This is listed in the ordinances as “Advisory Opinion”. The Planning Commission would like to see “Advisory Opinion” by staff to  be mandatory, or at least recommended with the possibility to “opt out.”  We agree.  City staff currently has Advisory Opinion  as optional.

The Advisory Opinion from a staff member is very important, because if neighbors cannot agree and they ultimately go to court, then the Advisory Opinion is admissible as expert opinion in a court of law, and the court will agree with the city’s opinion.   If there is no Advisory Opinion, then the neighbors may go through mediation and arbitration sessions (which are very expensive) but if they cannot reach an agreement, the only path left is a court case.  Without an Advisory Opinion in a court case, the outcome depends wholly on the presentations of both sides and their attorneys–the result is up for grabs.

The view equity claim with the Advisory Opinion would cost $640.  The view equity claim without the Advisory Opinion would be $85 – the city’s cost to send a notice to your neighbors, BUT the view seeker would have to pay for mediation and arbitration fees. ( See 92.41.100 Advisory Opinion in the ordinance)

2.)  The Planning Commission considered the clause in the Rolling Hills Estates model that says that view seekers may petition to restore views from TWO locations of their home, not just ONE location. We agree that a view seeker should be able to propose two vantage points. (See definition of “View” in the ordinance)

3.)  Planning Commission and staff seemed willing to consider that a view can be from a bedroom or bedroom balcony (which is not in the RHE ordinance).

So the ordinance we get may or may not contain these items.

If having the city adopt this ordinance is important to you and your view, your enjoyment of your home, and your property value, please come on down one last time and voice your support for a tree and view ordinance that will do the job!

The Torrance City Council agenda and staff reports for the February 28, 2017 meeting are available (see Item 10A) at:

In addition, there will be a Workshop Regarding Torrance Refinery at the same City Council meeting (Item 6B) to discuss recent operational failures and the use of Modified Hydrogen Fluoride (MHF) at the refinery.  The Torrance Refinery has been the source of much concern in the Riviera as in other parts of Torrance and nearby municipalities.

February General Meeting out of this world

Featured speaker Jim Montgomery offered a detailed and super exciting talk about his experiences working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Curiosity rover way up there on Mars, covering the build, launch, and landing of the rover, and his efforts in guiding it through ancient water channels, sand dunes, and mountain slopes.  It was thrilling for all of us in the audience to be transported (virtually, of course) to another planet for an hour and to be able to ask our questions about the mission, and about the future 2020 launch of Jim’s (sorry, NASA’s) next Mars rover.

Jim Montgomery of JPL transports Riviera residents to another planet

Jim Montgomery of JPL transports Riviera residents to another planet

To learn more about these exciting explorations, Jim provided these links:

The meeting also offered a chance to learn the latest ‘developments” regarding Legado and Centercal — both are in Redondo Beach but have significant impacts in the Riviera as well.

RHA Scholarship applications due soon!

As in past years, the RHA is pleased to present scholarships to deserving high school seniors thanks to the membership dues collected from Riviera residents.  Please make sure your senior (or someone you know) doesn’t pass up this opportunity. Due date is March 13.  For details, click here.

Have you seen the signs?

To advertise our meetings, the RHA posts signs in visible spots around the Hollywood Riviera.  Recently some have gone missing.  If you know where any might be hiding, send an email to    No questions asked, we’ll come pick them up.


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