Trees were massive when VBs bought home in 2004. VBs offered to top their trees before lawsuit. At issue is how much to top them down to. Current offer is 15-20 feet. Alma Spreckels Coleman asked prior owner in 1971 to top trees. and owner said no. This photo was taken shortly after house was built in late 1950s.http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/r5/hb7x0nb4r5/files/hb7x0nb4r5-FID23.jpg
Many in the neighborhood believe that Ellison has filed this frivolous lawsuit to retaliate against the von Bothmers for not selling him their house. Talk about a bully...
The market clearly demonstrates that a property's value is not determined just by the amount of land involved, but also by the amenities associated with the property. Thus property rights do include things such as views, because people pay real money for these amenities.Ellison is correct in asking that a court adjudicate the neighbor's property right to privacy versus his property right to a pre-existing view.
Logic tells me that Ellison's view of the SF Bay (having been in several houses in that neighborhood, it is stunning) should be valued more than the newer neighbor's privacy to the rear. You have to admit that the trees in the posted picture punch a big hole right in the center of that view. There are many privacy solutions including screens and dense shrubs that that grow only high enough to provide that "screen" effect, or put in a screen and put the shrubs in front of them for that more natural look. That said, I'm surprised the Save the Redwoods foundation hasn't stepped in to stop anything that would damage those trees!