San Clemente property rights debate

As my focus this week is on property rights, and not seeing a recent post on the current debate in San Clemente, I thought I would open this topic up for discussion.

Before buying our home in Mission Viejo last century we checked out a new housing tract in Anaheim Hills that was my first education on “location, location, location.” In this case I refer to views. The identical model on one side of the street had a great view and had a premium added to the base price while the exact same model across the street backed up to a slope and was thousands of dollars cheaper.

As the costs were a little steep for us we later selected Mission Viejo. In our looking at various resales in Mission the Realtors had mixed messages on view corridors. Some might have told us we were GUARANTEED the same view (of Saddleback Mountain) within the side to side dimensions of our home. Others did not volunteer what the future plans were for the immediate area such as the forthcoming 241 toll roads. As such the burden truly falls on the buyers to ask the questions and do your best to get the answers in writing that can be later used should a discrepancy arise. Ask if CC&R’s exist for the property than make sure to read them even though you might need a high power magnifying glass to do so. Another complication was when our community became a city in 1988 in which the new city, and it’s Planning Commission, created it’s owns rules and Ordinances some of which may conflict with property rights that existed when we were under the jurisdiction of the County government. Prior to their being annexed, one area of Mission permitted leaving motor homes in front of your house. After the take-over this right was removed (after a grace period) leading to multiple citations being issued to residents who did not move their vehicles to the storage yard at El Toro.

Fast forward to those fortunate enough to buy homes with views of the Pacific Ocean in southern CA. These property owners paid some big bucks to look out and watch the sunset over Catalina. Now we enter the courthouse. In the Shorecliffs area of San Clemente we read of bickering between neighbors, some of which desire to add second story additions to their single family homes. The only problem is those less fortunate, whose homes are not located in the front row with unobstructed views, argue that said additions by neighbors in front of them will block their views. The applicant for the addition makes some good points such as the desire to expand their homes to make place for family growth rather than moving.
The real issue relates to their CC&R’s which I believe existed at one time. Did that association continue to function and what does their documentation say with regard to views? Is the text of the CC&R’s legal in our courts?

For the moment let’s set aside the emotion of this issue and focus on the legal rights of ALL parties.
As Rodney King said a few years ago. “Can we all get along?”

Easy to say but truly a challenge to accomplish.

Although we do not live in this area perhaps Juice readers can provide some possible solutions before shots are heard in this neighborhood.

About Larry Gilbert