Kensington Tree Obstruction of Views Ordinance

FAQ’s: Kensington Tree Obstructing Views (TOV) Ordinance

Ordinance No. 84-3 County Code Chapter 816.2

Link to the ordinance

What does the TOV ordinance do?

This ordinance outlines a private party way forward for resolving disputes between neighbors when a tree or trees grow over time to block someone's view from the time they first occupied or acquired their house.

I just moved into my house, does it help me deal with a neighbor’s tree blocking my view?

It does not apply to obstructed views that exist when someone first moves into or buys a house.

Who enforces this ordinance?

This ordinance is not a law that the County enforces. Instead, enforcement is up to residents through a civil process. The ordinance outlines a procedure for resolving view disputes. The first step is one or more informal meetings between tree owner and the neighbor. If this step does not result in an agreement, the next step is either binding arbitration (if both sides agree) or use of the civil court system (if the person whose view is blocked chooses this step).

Is this the same ordinance covering view blockage from a remodel, addition, or new construction?

This ordinance is totally different than the Kensington Overlay Planning Ordinance, (Code Chapter 84.74) which applies to view blockage from building construction. (More on Kens planning ordinance Planning (925) 674-7200)

Does this ordinance cover removal/protection of Oak, Redwood or other native trees?

This ordinance is totally different than the County's heritage tree ordinance, (Code Chapter 816-6) which states that permits are required for the removal of trees deemed heritage. (More on heritage trees Planning Division at (925) 674-7205)

I don’t live in Kensington. Does this ordinance apply to me?

The Kensington Tree Obstructing View ordinance applies only in unincorporated Kensington, and not in El Cerrito, Berkeley or anywhere else.