Belmont, or beautiful mountain (beau mont)–for which this blog is also named– is one of the most unique and charming cities on the peninsula. It’s heavily forested hillsides and undulating hills make for a delightful backdrop against the busy peninsula transportation arteries.

Belmont offers impressive views of San Francisco and the open space around Sugarloaf Mountain, the San Francisco Bay, and on any clear day Mt. Tamalpias, Mt. Diablo and Mt. Hamilton.

Belmont’s attributes are many but its highly coveted views are among the top reason people choose to live in Belmont.

Belmont_old_3The hills of Belmont weren’t always so heavily wooded as suggested by this rendering–published in “Heritage of the Wooded Hills”A Belmont History, by Ria Elena MacCrisken and available at the Belmont Historical Society. As Belmont neighborhoods developed tress were planted which forever changed the natural foliage into forested hillsides (one needs to look no further than the Watershed open space to see what Belmont’s hills probably looked like before it was populated).

Ironically, Belmont has no view or tree ordinance which regulates whether or not a tree can obstruct the view of a homeowner; one can’t build a structure to block a view but there’s nothing to regulate allowing a tree to grow unchecked into what once was someone’s impressive vista.

Many of the trees in Belmont which grow unattended such as eucalyptus are not indigenous to Belmont and in fact are not protected under Belmont’s existing tree ordinance–yet those are some of the most offensive trees in terms of obstructing views (and they’re pretty messy too).

When living in a society where our existence impacts others it’s essential to have ordinances to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. We currently have ordinances to protect the quality of life and Belmont should seriously consider adding a view ordinance which will allow for the responsible ownership of trees.

Balancing the rights of a homeowner to maintain their view against that of a nearby property owner to plant and grow trees where they wish is difficult as property ownership rights are always held in high regard–as they should be. Like anything else though, views must be preserved and a balance must be struck between the property ownership rights of both parties.

Are trimming trees counterproductive to living green? Absolutely not. The International Society of Arboriculture not only recommends tree ordinances they go so far as to suggest how to structure one. Furthermore many adjacent towns which benefit from similar views already have such ordinances in place. Cities such as Tiburon and Berkeley, both where property values are substantially affected by their views, have adopted view ordinances to cope with urban tree growth and should serve as a guide to Belmont to act to preserve our declining views.


Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 20 years experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at

You can find them on Facebook at and also find them on Twitter @

The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.

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