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Real Estate & Property Law

Ex-Mariners Star’s Desire for ‘Amazing View’ Puts 20-Year-Old Tree Law in Center Court

Posted Sep 11, 2012 5:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A stately Chinese pine is at the center of a tree dispute that could be the first adjudicated under a Seattle suburb's 20-year-old law intended to help neighbors resolve such issues amicably.

It recognizes that neighbors have an interest in sunlight and scenic views that trees may block, the Seattle Times reports. But is it really appropriate to require Bruce and Linda Baker to remove the pine, which was already there when John Olerud and his wife had a custom home of more than 6,500 square feet built for $4 million?

Olerud, a former Seattle Mariners star who has offered to pay for the tree removal, told the Clyde Hill Board of Adjustment he's just trying to enjoy the same "amazing view" of the Seattle skyline, Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains that the Bakers can see. He has also pointed out that the Bakers have trimmed some smaller trees on their own property, although he declined to discuss the case with the newspaper.

"I'm trying to do the right thing," Bruce Baker told the Times. "Having protracted arguments with neighbors is not the right thing—I'm aware of that. And I hoped to avoid that. I also have other neighbors that I'm trying to be a neighbor to who value the surroundings here. They have trees and they don't want my trees taken down."

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