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November 7, 2017 — Local Elections
Local

City of Rolling Hills
Measure C - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

441 votes yes (59.35%)

302 votes no (40.65%)

100% of precincts reporting (1/1).

Repeal Amendments to City's View Preservation Ordinance
— undefined

Shall an ordinance be adopted repealing the March 2013 amendments made to the City's View Preservation Ordinance by Measure B?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Rolling Hills City Attorney

Ballot Measure C proposes adoption of an ordinance that would repeal Measure B, a ballot initiative approved in March 2013 that changed the City’s view preservation law. Measure C was placed on the ballot by the City Council.

In 1988 the City Council adopted an ordinance protecting views from private property from interference by trees and other vegetation. In 2013 Measure B changed then-existing view protection law by establishing a baseline view each time a property is acquired. Specifically, under Measure B, a property owner is only entitled to seek restoration of a view that existed at the time of acquisition of title to the property. Also, Measure B provided that vegetation that was already “mature” at the time of property acquisition would be exempt from any restorative actions. The terms “acquisition of title” and “mature” were not defined in Measure B. Measure B placed the burden of proof on the current property owner to demonstrate by “clear and convincing evidence” that the view to be restored existed on the date that the property was acquired. Restoration of a view would not be intended to create unobstructed views but instead would be limited to creating view corridors and views through trees. Measure B stated that it was to be applied retroactively to 1988, but did not elaborate how this retroactivity would apply to decisions rendered under the ordinance before 2013.

Because Measure B was adopted by the electorate as a ballot measure, it may only be repealed by a vote of the electorate. If Measure C is adopted, Measure B will be repealed and the City Council will be able to enact or amend view regulations.

A full copy of the ordinance repealing Measure B is printed in this pamphlet.

A “yes” vote is in favor of repealing Measure B; a “no” vote is against the repeal. A majority vote is required for Measure C to pass.

            MICHAEL JENKINS
            City Attorney

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Measure B must be repealed. The result of a 2013 initiative to amend the City’s 1988 View Preservation Ordinance, it contains ambiguous, confusing terms, prohibits restoration of panoramic views, and has a retroactivity clause challenging long-settled view cases. It has complicated all cases since its passage, caused acrimony among residents and significantly increased the City’s legal expenses.

The original View Preservation Ordinance was enacted to help residents preserve views that had become obstructed by tree growth. The vast majority of complaints were resolved directly between residents or with assistance from a mediator provided by the City. In the entire 25 years prior to Measure B the City itself adjudicated 11 view obstruction complaints and directed the removal of a total of 22 trees. Views were restored, not “created”. These are the facts. All proceedings and details are public record, available for review at City Hall.

When disappointed voters learned that Measure B’s exemptions and restrictions did not provide the “View you bought is the view you get” concept as represented, they joined the City, other residents and even some proponents of Measure B in seeking modifications. Under California law, once an initiative is passed it becomes binding law as written and cannot be modified in any way, except by another initiative and election. That process is cumbersome, costly and most importantly, restricts your city government’s ability to respond to residents’ needs.

The City and residents have been working together on these issues since September, 2016. The Planning Commission is holding Public Hearings on proposed changes to the existing View Ordinance, including concerns identified by Measure B. Repeal Measure B to allow change when needed.

Your vote is very important. Please vote based on facts, fiscal responsibility and fairness for yourself and your neighbors.

Please vote YES

          JAMES BLACK M.D.   
          Mayor

          LEAH MIRSCH
          Councilmember

          JEFF PIEPER
          Councilmember

          PAT WILSON
          Mayor Pro Tem

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Arguments AGAINST

On March 5, 2013, you, the voters, got it right and adopted Measure B, modifying the Rolling Hills Municipal Code. You did this in spite of the unanimous City Council urging you not to do it.

Measure B proponents have worked with members of both the City Council and Planning Commission to define mutually agreeable improvements to the Code and thought we had an agreement to produce a draft of revisions at the Planning Commission level and then have it sent on to the Council for public hearings and adoption, subject to repealing any portion of Measure B that was in conflict.

The process seemed to be working well with mutual trust and respect until the Council meeting of June 26, when a majority -but not all- of the Council voted to place repeal of Measure B in its entirety on a special election ballot in November, a period of time insufficient to complete the adoption of any revisions. Measure B proponents were urged to wait to review the Planning Commission draft revisions and in the July 5 City Newsletter we were all assured that the…“DRAFT ordinance will be available for review at City Hall and on the City’s web site starting on Monday, July 10.” That also just happened to be the 5PM deadline to submit arguments for and against repeal.

Late Friday, July 7, we were advised that the DRAFT would not be available until some hours AFTER the filing Deadline on the 10th.

The Council members who voted for this scheme will have their personal ethics called into question should they choose to run for reelection, but the restoration of the old flawed Ordinance is an obvious mistake.

Don’t give up “the view you paid for is the view you get”.

Please vote NO.

          RICHARD COLYEAR|
          Measure B Proponent

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Replies to Arguments FOR

A majority of voters voted in 2013 to amend the view ordinance so that a property owner is entitled to “that view that existed from the date any current owner of a property acquired the property.” In other words, the view you purchased is the view that you get to keep. The prior ordinance allowed someone to buy a house with no view, priced accordingly, and then force their neighbors to cut their trees to give them the desired view.

The original 1986 view ordinance applied only to “maturing” vegetation, so Measure B exempted “mature” vegetation, “as defined by industry standards predominately accepted by arborists.” Proof that a view existed, including photographs and expert testimony, was required. The view committee and city council have chafed under and disregarded these reasonable requirements, in one case throwing out the expert testimony of their own certified arborist and substituting their own opinion regarding what is a mature tree. When a view seeker’s picture did not show that a view existed, they instead accepted testimony of friends and family.

After more than four years, City Council has not approved a replacement view ordinance. They want you to first repeal Measure B and then “trust them” to enact a fair new ordinance that balances property rights of view owners and vegetation owners. Repeal of Measure B would return the City to the prior unfair condition where neighbors are pitted against neighbors, triggering expensive lawsuits that include the City.

Don’t be bamboozled!

Please Vote NO

          RICHARD COLYEAR
          Measure B Proponent

          LYNN GILL
          Measure B Proponent

          MARION A. SCHARFFENBERGER
          Measure “B” Proponent

          NORM LA CAZE
          Measure “B” Proponent

          MARCIA D. SCHOETTLE
          Measure “B” Proponent

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Rolling Hills is a hillside community designed to take advantage of ocean and city views. Courts have repeatedly held that Cities have a constitutional right to order tree maintenance or removal in order to preserve and restore homeowner views.

Measure B passed in 2013 by a margin of 5 votes. It has proven to be unworkable due to retroactivity, language regarding “mature” trees, and establishment of “view corridors” even if homeowners initially had panoramic views. The concept “the view you bought is the view you keep” has not materialized.

Due to state law, once a ballot measure is passed, it can not be changed unless through the referendum process. Therefore City council members Jeff Pieper and Leah Mirsch have been working with the planning commission and supporters of Measure B in attempts to place a revised, workable initiative on the ballot for voters.

In the final proposal from Measure B proponents, city input has been downgraded to “advisory”, and city sponsored arbitration between residents “optional”. This negates the cities ability to intervene in view obstruction complaints, and guarantees costly and hostile litigation between residents as we have witnessed since the passage of Measure B. City staff and attorneys must be involved with each complaint and therefore attorney costs to the city have risen dramatically.

Please vote to repeal Measure B. Please vote YES and restore the values upon which our community was based by protecting every resident’s right to the views and trees that enhance our city.

          JAMES BLACK, MD
          Mayor, City of Rolling Hills

          LEAH MIRSCH
          Councilmember

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF ROLLING HILLS REPEALING MEASURE B BY AMENDING SUBSECTION (E) OF SECTION 17.26.050 AND REPEALING SECTION 17.26.090 OF THE ROLLING HILLS MUNICIPAL CODE

The People of the City of Rolling Hills do ordain as follows:

Section 1. Subsection (E) of Section 17.26.050 of the Rolling Hills Municipal Code is hereby amended by deleting the following sentence therefrom:

“Such order is not intended to create an unobstructed view for applicants. Instead it is intended to create view corridors and a view through trees.”

Section 2. Section 17.26.090 (“Preservation of views defined”) is hereby repealed in its entirety.

Section 3. The City Clerk shall certify to the passage of this ordinance and shall cause the same to be published as required by law.

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