Monday, March 27, 2006

‘Viewsheds’ And The Arrogance of Homeownership

Link To This Post.

Although American homeowners have always displayed a particular arrogance when it comes to their "rights," it seems that they've become particularly emboldened by the Housing Bubble. NIMBYism has become an acceptable reaction to proposals to build anything anywhere near anyone. Owning a home now means that you believe you have a right to regulate the traffic flows on main streets in your neighborhood, to redesignate roadways, and, my favorite, to protect your VIEW!

Consider this Associated Press story about the removal of more than 550 tree tops between a man's home and his view of the mountains and the Las Vegas Strip.

His wife said he did it. The position of the trees between aforementioned house and aforementioned view suggest same. However, the man says he's too feeble to have possibly done it.

The idea that property rights extend to a "viewshed" is beyond arrogance. But, to make it worse, some courts have ruled in favor of those who make the viewshed argument.

Banging my head on the keyboard again...

From the Associated Press, dateline Las Vegas:
A Henderson man accused of chopping down more than 550 trees to preserve his view of the Las Vegas Valley is scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday in Henderson Justice Court.

Douglas Hoffman, 58, faces 10 charges of allegedly chopping down the trees worth nearly $250,000.

Hoffman's wife, Debbie, told Henderson Police he chopped off the tops of trees next to their home in Sun City Anthem to retain their view of the Las Vegas Valley.

"I think that's the reasonable interpretation from the evidence and the location of the trees chopped down," said District Attorney David Roger.

Hoffman denies the allegations, according to his attorney James Leavitt, who maintains his client is too feeble to have committed the vandalism.

The unusual case highlights the premium that many Las Vegas Valley residents place on a panorama of the Strip and mountains.

Homeowners who maintain they paid for a view when they bought their house have sued neighbors and developers over losing it. And local governments have heard pleas of homeowners about projects tarnishing their view of the Strip or mountains.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble