View, interrupted: It's unneighborly to start a row

Oh, you should have seen me. It was a double-take right out of vaudeville. (Had I been drinking from my water bottle, I guarantee it would have been a spit-take.) As I skidded to a flailing stop on my Nikes, all I could think was: What the hell? Why are they doing this?

I’d been blissfully running along Wesley Chapel Road in Albemarle County. It’s a gorgeous place to walk or run or drive– or live. Gorgeous, thanks to the views of our graceful rural landscape.

Locals and tourists alike know the feeling: You’re moving down the road, past rolling farmland dotted with cows, or hay bales, or horses, thinking how lovely it all is, when you round a curve and suddenly there’s that blue backdrop, our famous Blue Ridge Mountains.

I’ve been here for twenty years, and it still makes me gasp. Farmland, foothills, the Blue Ridge: Central Virginia is a feast for the eyes.

Those views are a big part of our sense of place, our quality of life– and our property values. Those long vistas are the gems that enticed my husband and me to uproot our family from suburban Baltimore all those years ago. It was an irrational decision, based only on our attraction to the beauty of Albemarle County.

And lately, with snow on the mountains, the view is so spectacular, you could lose your mind.

But a few weeks ago, as I happily trotted along Wesley Chapel, anticipating the view of snow-blanketed mountains, I came upon a dreadful sight:

All along the edge of the street, a line of newly-planted cedar trees stood, like a phalanx of guards, between me and the mountain view. Of course, these trees are still small, and you can peer between them to find the view. But they are planted close together and the intent is obvious: To prevent anyone from seeing past those damned trees.

Why are they doing this? A few days later, when I drove by to count the trees–there are more than sixty cedars in this particular row–I saw a couple of landscapers planting more trees.

I was glad they had the work, but wished they were doing something less damaging to the quality of life around here. I asked them why the owners were engaged in this viewshed-blocking activity. The answer was “privacy.”

Privacy? Really? Having fled from the suburbs, I understand the craving for privacy. Our house in Maryland was a mere eleven feet from our neighbor’s.

But when a house is set well back from a rural road, and surrounded by a great many acres (dozens? hundreds?), it’s hard to understand the need for additional layers of privacy.

I passed about 40 trees in this row of sentinels before arriving at a point where I could see the house. What sort of privacy is required for acres and acres of fields? Perhaps a nudist colony is in the works.

If this were the only spot where such a thing had happened, it might not be so alarming.

But it’s not. There’s another vast tract of land in Free Union (one formerly owned by Edgar Bronfman) where the same thing has been done. From the road, you can enjoy the sight of lovely rolling fields, with mountains in the distance.

Well, you can see that now, because the cedars were planted just a couple of months ago. But soon, yet another vista that makes your heart soar will slowly disappear behind a wall of view-blocking trees.

Whenever I drive past, I wonder why they would do this to us: take away what we most cherish about living out here.

I also wonder whether they have a clue about how they're perceived by their neighbors.

When newcomers buy property, it’s only natural to want to modify it in some way, to personalize it. I like to think that, if they knew how alienating it is to their neighbors, they wouldn’t choose to accomplish this by screening their property – and the mountains beyond – from public view.

Do they want to be a part of the community, or do they want to wall it out?

In a few years, if this keeps up, our excursions through the countryside will consist of driving through opaque corridors of cedars.

The next time you’re driving around in Central Virginia, notice those rows of trees. They are all over the place.

Usually, they’re cedars. As they age, in addition to efficiently blocking the view, they become shaggy and unattractive. Beyond them lie views you didn’t even know you were missing.

I am not anti-tree. I’d be happy to see those same cedar root balls sunk into the ground at some spot away from the road, and not in a defensive line.

Meanwhile, if you should see me in my running togs, sprawled on a street in Albemarle County, you’ll know I’ve come upon the loss of yet another spectacular view. Double-takes while running are downright dangerous.

Read more on: janis jaquith


The other problem with the cedars is the masses of pollen dust they put out in the spring, another risk to joggers.....


Janis I agree that this north west part of the County is by far the most beautiful however this article of yours disturbs me. Why should you be able to dictate how owners landscape their properties? Why didn't you buy the property when it came to market so you could make sure you got the street scape you wanted? When the property was originally cleared would you have also complained about the destruction of virgin forest? This sort of whining about what people do on properties they own is insidious in the County and needs to stop.

Just out of curiosity, did you reach out to your new neighbors and tell them personally how disappointed you were that they spoiled "your" view, or did you think that calling them out in the local paper would be less "alienating"?

AMEN, ML. I couldn't have said it better.

ML, You said it perfectly. I could not have said it better.

A few years ago, Monticello fought wih developers to keep the "viewshed" from the mountain open and clear so that the view from Mr. Jefferson's house would be the same as it was when he lived there.

Not sure how that all turned out, but, perhaps, someone from the TJF could shed light on how things went.

A question in my mind, and a potential bonanza for all the local legal types, is what about a class action suit to prevent views from being blocked? After all, who owns the views? Who created all this beauty? And why do some swells have the right to block views they don't even own.

I HATE CEDAR TREES! My ex-wife filled the back of our yard with them to block the view of our back deck and hot tub. The trees, in turn, blocked the view of the mountains to the east. Many of these ugly trees turned a bronze color and I spent hours with the local nursery folks to find out that I could spend big bucks on a toxic solution that turned the trees back to green. So much for environmental concerns!

So, let's get the lawyers on this matter quickly before all the views are gone.

Sounds to me like you are the new comer here and are not familiar with property owners rights. Yes people do not want the PUBLIC peering onto PRIVATE PROPERTY. Plenty of beautiful PUBLIC places to enjoy the view but beware those shaggy cedars are everywhere. This is the most unknowing moronic essay I have ever read in my life.

Most of you are probably confusing cedar trees with leyland cypress. And if an evergreen turns yellow it's dead so I'm curious to know what toxic solution turned them green again Spraypaint? How dare people plant trees on their own property! Outrageous!

The same people who think the jogger is selfish and that the landowners have every right to plant view-blocking cedars would be apoplectic if a neighbor built a structure that blocked the landowners' view. It cuts both ways. I think we can agree that we all enjoy the beautiful vistas and that it is kinder to the community if those seeking privacy balance their privacy needs with making a little effort to maintain the views from the roads.

Leyland cypress is a cheap solution, and a foolish one, because the roots are shallow, and the trees tend to topple in high-wind situations. How about planting some lovely white oaks? They take longer to grow, but they yield beautiful results.

You're right, Janis, to call these schmucks on their ugly and ineffectual hedgerows. These newcomers all have hundreds, if not thousands of feet between the roads and their homes and private spaces, but like the degenerate local, "property rights" nuts, haven't a clue as to how to block their view of neighbors or the neighbors' intrusive peeking.
What an ugly joke, the way those newcomers on Millington followed their fenceline right down into a gully instead of planting screening on the high ground closer to their house. They made a fragile eyesore and maintenance problem that may never block their view of the neighbors.
Maybe a housewarming gift of bagworm cases.

This is the first time I've ever seen someone complaining about environmental degradation because someone planted trees!
Reading down I thought I'd come to something about where a lovely woods had been cut down for some new development project, or that there was an ugly sign up, or something.
There are still plenty of lovely views of the mountains left. There are a lot worse things happening to the landscape than this.
Where I live there are some trees in the foreground that partially block my view of Old Rag Mountain. But it does not make me upset.
I agree with others here who have written about what is the point of this essay.

@matt dolan ... i really hope you're being sarcastic.

of course on the other side of the coin... with so many views to see in this area having some trees planted makes the others more precious and breathtaking.... kind of like Marylin Monroes famous skirt scene drawing more attnetion than 100 women walking on the beach in bikinis.

Or the Albemarle Review boards insistence that every new Store Bank, Outhouse and Doghouse look like Monticello making Monticello have zero impact ona twelve years olds field trip as he says " wow this looks just like Trader Joes"

@ Mighty Horse - Well, maybe a little sarcastic. I am not a big fan of lawyers. There are way too many lawyers in Cville for my taste. As to the type of tree, it is possible that they were Leland Cypress. With regard to the spray to get rid of the brown, you'd have to check with a local nursery. I tried the green paint and it just didn't work! Only kidding.

I support the comment about not wanting a view blocked. NIMBY's are everywhere. As long as a matter doesn't effect their lifestyle, NIMBY's just don't care.

Still would like to hear from the TJF staff about the view shed issue.

I've been around here for a long time and believe that we need to plant things that are native to the area. The proliferation of fences and bushes used as fences doesn't make for good neighbors.

Another scintillating chapter in the harrowed life of Janis. Poor thing. Just when you got all juicered, jogged, electro-illuminated, gasoline commuted from the urban areas into a refuge where deer used to graze, and still smug about somehow being part of the environmental solution to be affronted by this. Shocking. But what a wonderful read; in light of all the real suffering out there it makes me happy to know that someone is perplexed by non-issues.

Bill Marshall if you think the new Trader Joe looks anything like Monticello I can see where you might might be confused

Sorry just had to get my snark on. I'm sure Janis knows there's a "Perils of Pauline" aspect to her writing. And it is pretty dang uncool to put a big screening tree row in. But really, in the grand scheme of things, unless you make your living off the land it's an egoistic, selfish thing to arrogate a bit of the countryside for a personal dwelling to which fuel burning vehicles commute and asphalt ribbons & ghastly utility lines run. Live in the city, ride bikes to the country or else there'll always be a more assertive newby stepping on your head for a better view.

As me mum said, "You'd complain if somebody hung you with a brand new rope." I think the author of the essay here was attempting to crystallize the generally self-important elitism of this area. She did so marvelously. I particularly love the "Why would they do this to us?" self-pitying sentence; sterling!

Gee, I suppose this drivel could be countered with one simple question (for those of us who still place any value in individual property rights): Are the trees planted on the homeowner's private property?

But that's not important here. We need to preserve the quality of life for those who fashionably thread their ponytails through their pink "Run for the Cure" caps, dress in their matching jogging suits, pull on their three-figure sneex, and bob up and down along the rural roads with their precious private supply of water.

R.I.P.: Jim Fixx

Oh the things those will dwell on simply to dwell.

I see nothing wrong with a homeowner planting trees to screen their private property from the roadway. Especially if the house was close to the road. Nothing wrong with wanting privacy from rubbernecking runners and motorists.
Trees are good . They are good for the atmosphere, for wildlife,providing shelter and food.
To paraphrase a great poet."good tree rows or hedgerows make good neighbors."

I wonder if the writer will be writing another essay in a few months when some other homewoner cuts down some beautiful trees so they can get a view, and exposes a McMansion with its gawdy attributes for a poor defensless jogger.

Just when I thought I had seen the pinnacle of self absorption... it goes to another level. Hey...the world is there for MY enjoyment and you are naughty if you you do something for YOUR enjoyment if it is not approved by ME.

Never thought I would hear some tree hugging liberal whining up a storm for someone planting trees.

It is such a sad, harrowing life of unimaginable privation this writer suffers.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the responses to this essay, make me laugh and laughter is good medicine. I would like to share my experience with neighbors and trees. I own 2 farms, one in Barboursville and one in Farmville. Both of my closest neighbors clear cut their entire properties, took out ever single tree and left the land looking like a war zone. They destroyed a forest habitat for multiple animals and polluted streams that I also share with them. I find it funny when they compliment my forests and the old growth I have worked hard to preserve.

As another person above pointed out, ( not that it matters to the author) these are mostly likely not "cedars" (the Virginia red cedar, a native, is actually a juniper) but more likely, Leyland Cypress or Arborvitae, both popular for use as screening rows. If so, then she just has to wait.... Leylands with their notoriously shallow roots blow over easily in winds, and arborvitae will be stripped and devoured by deer - one of their favorite meals, provided by US. I agree that the author is somewhat self-absorbed, but I also doubt that the property owner always wants to screen out "prying eyes". Sometimes they want to just screen out road noise. And yes, it does seem that she cannot comprehend that they can indeed do whatever they like, without considering her desires. I moved here from another part of Va where urban or packed-suburban refugees also moved out to "the country" and then proceeded to criticize everything about it that wasn't to their liking. Sorry Ms Jogger, you're just going to have to live with it.

I would surmise that your neighbors did this to you because they want a barrier between you and them. Your neighbor has kindly provided a subtle hint that says, "I dont like you, Janis."

Janis, you are an adult whose self absorbtion rivals only that of a cast member of Jersey Shore. Your belief that our community should shape to your desire is as backwards as it is disturbing. You will not be part of this community until you realize that we must choose to accept you. Consideration of your views is not something to which you are entitled; it's earned.

FYI - I've made my home on Wesley Chapel and I'm now in the market for the biggest cedar trees I can afford. Let them serve as yet another subtle evergreen reminder.

Hmm. If that was an ocean out there rather than mountains, it would be a whole different story. Neighbor's property values would be affected - then the lawsuits would begin.

Who is to say the view of mountains is less important. Block a waterview, your property value plummets. I think it applies to some people who feel their mountain view has value. Another person commented - "who owns the view". I think everyone does and things should protect people from losing that enjoyment. I agree with privacy, but there are other methods.

The planning and zoning people get all their information from books that are published with all manner of standards all laid out, among them the need for "landscaping". This is the main reason why every sidewalk is lined with newly planted saplings even in areas where trees grow like Kudzu in our semi tropical climate. So they plant all this crap by reflex and the trees thus planted grow into the rights of way and buckle adjacent pavement. Why they do this? It is writ in the manuals that define their professions. You do development, you plant. Then, if you have sense once the approvals are all in place, you cut all the stuff down so people can see around them. On a recent walk along the "greenway" trail, I noticed the usual plantings of crappy maple saplings along the trail, which of course goes through wooded areas full of naturally occurring trees... Most local govt. planning is all done based on commercially published manuals which have nothing to do with regional and local circumstances. "Planning and Zoning" is a stifling evil of our times.

Why are the comments here so vitriolic? Does everyone still have a post-holiday hangover? Lighten up. If you were all given the chance to write about what irks you, I'm sure we'd hear quite a few innane things. Janis is a really good and very entertaining writer. Me thinks I sniff out some jealousy in these comments.

Mrs. Jaquith is no better than the folks who "personalize" their properties. Why do you think she came from Maryland (God forbid) to bucolic Virginia? For the privacy. She wants it, but not for anyone else.

Privacy is one of the issues here that the writer does not understand. If your lifes work was culminated into a big beautiful farm in W Alb would you want Janis peering at you in the morning and sip your coffee on the front porch? Janis tells the reader that the land owner already has enough privacy based on her suburban experience. Maybe I do want to be naked on my farm you want to peek at ole Henry ma snake? Didnt think so he might bite ya. The tables turn when you worked all your life for a place and everyone else want to peer at you and yes people do use binoculars from their cars on the road. Everybody wants to peek nobody wants to be peeked upon. Most have never been in a position to live in such a beautiful place so you don't know what it is like to have your privacy picked at (daily) by folks like Janis who want to tell you what you can and can't do with your farm that you worked all your life for. I do smell some jealousy here...

Maybe they should have put up an 8ft privacy fence instead.

Yesterday I posted a comment I should apologize for.
I agreed with Janis' complaint about the apparent un-neighborliness of estate owners who carelessly throw up walls, an apparent in-your-face snub of their neighbors. I should not have called these newcomers "schmucks," however. Apparently they have no common sense of how to block their view of neighbors besides erecting walls right at the perimeter of their properties. Schmucks may be too harsh a term.

It's about bloody time! We've been putting up with this for years, and I hope this awareness causes people to think twice about walling off these views from the rest of us. Yes, the landowner has every right to do this. That's not the point! The point is that this area would be a better place if landowners took others into consideration when deciding what to do with their land. Drive around and have a look. More often than not, the houses are either far from the road, or not even able to be seen from the road, with or without the tree screens. It's meanspirited. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Janis, if a neighbor planting trees is all that you have going wrong in your life, consider yourself incredibly fortunate, and move on with your day. We have many in this community who are out of work, working two jobs, hungry, homeless, disabled, caring for the disabled, abused, chronically or terminally ill, etc, etc, through no fault of their own and you (oh you poor little thing!) find the time to whine about someone planting native trees (assuming you are correct in the tree i.d., which is doubtful) on their own property?
Why don't you find a bona fide cause to support and write about? Better yet, why not spend your free time helping others who are less fortunate, and put your life in perspective?

Liberlace wrote, "As me mum said, "You'd complain if somebody hung you with a brand new rope."

I thought that my mom was the only one who ever said that!

The (native plant) common red cedar (_Juniperus virginiana_) grows up along fence lines everywhere in our area, including the terrain Ms. Jaquith describes. I wouldn't describe them in negative terms, as they provide all sorts of habitat and food for wildlife.

I'm not sure the plants along Wesley Chapel are _Juniperus virginiana_, as they have too much of a blue cast to them. In any case, there were already trees there, and many of them diseased and unsightly (... as I recall, they were blighted dogwoods). I assume the new homeowners didn't want headlights in their bedroom windows.

The new trees on Millington on part of the old Georgetown farm appear to be not cedars but deer-resistant 'Green Giant' arborvitae (_Thuja standishii x plicata_). Their planting strikes me as less strategic; while the servants quarters just built face the road, the new manor house to-be-built has an uncertain orientation.

Finally: Isn't England famous for its hedgerows? Normandy too.

Joltin' Janis Jaquith, thanks for stirring the pot. I like reading when people get on their high horses to pontificate. You made your point and did a good job doing it. Can't wait for your next missive so people can get their juices flowing. God knows they need it.

downtowner: well, I guess no one should write about anything but calamities. god forbid there should be commentary about sports or about barking-dog ordinances, or anything you deem unworthy. and of course, people like myself who write about and care about sports should spend our free time volunteering. because obviously, to you, if we turn our attention to what you think is unworthy, we surely must not volunteer or donate or time and resources to the less fortunate. your condescending attitude does not reflect well on you.

sports writer- you have misread my post, as I never said or implied that people should only write about calamities. However, should Ms Janis or other authors choose to write about their trials and tragedies, I recommend that it be something on the order of magnitude of a mosquito bite, or worse. This article was nothing but whining about her trivial loss of a viewshed to which she has no legal or moral claim, while chastising the landowners for exercising their rights to develop their property and establish their personally preferred view. How self-serving can you get?

Anyone who is defending cedars in landscaping should be shot. They are native but best kept in the woods not as landscaping. Most of them grow far too tall, cause more damage in storms and especially wind storms and near power lines they are ruthless.

Speaking of native cedars, what the hell happened along the eastbound side of Garth, around Ingleside? There's broken branches everywhere.

Why is it always the person not doing what you want that is ‘unneighborly?’ If you truly lived in this area awhile (forever) and had hunters tresspass and leave messes on your property, four wheelers and bicyclists coming to the outskirts of your yard before they realize there is no way to ‘sneak’ off your property after following a ‘path’ through it, and people who let their dogs run loose and scare the daylights out of your children in your yard, you would grow some boundaries, too. If you can’t see the deer from the road during the day, maybe you won’t get ideas that you can sneak in at night and hunt them. Maybe the truly unneighborly are those who want to encroach on others’ legal rights. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never had anyone complain I took away a ‘view’ despite my many plantings. What about all the views your house probably ruined when it was built? Can we get them back?

Janis I checked up on these people for you. It appears they made a fortune providing mail-order eyeglass frame prescriptions to people who didn't want to support their neighborhood businesses, so you're not going to convince them with any "take the high road" rhetoric. You might be able to send away for a cedar rust launcher kit on the internet though, since the markup's bound to be high at local businesses.

Dolemite: If you stay on the road they live on you end up in the mountains quickly, so they are on the high road. They don't need to be convinced. Maybe she could just plant a couple of apple trees, the other host needed for cedar-apple rust; the rust already abounds here because of the plantings of non natives who now wonder why their apple/crabapple trees don't do so well here.

We lost most of our row of leyland cypress in Hurricane Isabel (2003). The last two trees were ravaged by webworms. After the mighty hedge was gone, my neighbor and I developed a nice friendship!

Lemme drop a lil knowledge on the unknowing author of this laughable "essay:" I consulted the bible of trees and shrubs Michael Dirr's Manual of woody landscape plants. Anyone who knows anything about trees n shrubs knows this guy wrote the book. Page 523 Juniperus virginiana Landscape Value is defined: "An excellent speciman, grouping and screening plant." Flowers: "Female trees are lovely with the various colored cones some greenish blue to frosted blue often so abundant that the tree literally glows" So much for shaggy and unattractive. Does the author know anything about trees? Or does she just want to peer onto private property?


Well, come on out to Watts Passage and run. Last year the loggers cleared a couple thousand trees, and they just started on a new huge tract.

You'll have a great view.

Maybe you'll be able to see beyond your petty little self.

Way to go Hook. New heights in idiocy.

The only time I get mad about treed being planted is when they can fall and damage my property. I don't care if you want your privacy, you don't get to knock over my fences and crush my sheds for it.

If it's not your land, it's not your view. Mind your own business.

Same thing is happening along Garth Road in a couple-three places between Old Garth and Owensville Road. Sections that for years had sweeping vistas off toward Wintergreen or the Ragged Mountains have been planted with treerows along the property lines by the road. Perfectly fine trees, but the drive will be that much less interesting a few years from now where they've gone in.

The property on Garth Rd property you refer to was on the market 18 months ago.You should have purchased it if you wanted to protect your drive past views. Will you also whine when the new owner builds a house, on his/her property, that further diminishes your drive past view?

While we all must admit that at times we feel "disappointed" when things which we like change, things that are outside of our control, I would suggest that this type of lament is the type of thing we keep to ourselves. As in, for Ms.Jaquith, I understand that she may feel saddened that she can no longer see sweeping vistas at every turn of her run. But the road isn't built for joggers, and the properties along it aren't there for her desires, as has been pointed out numerous times above, including by me. I would suggest that she avoid publicly pronouncing such sweeping generalizations and invented motivations for the targeted homeowner such as: "I wonder why THEY would do this to US" and "I also wonder whether they have a clue about how they're perceived by their neighbors." and "Do they want to be a part of the community, or do they want to wall it out?" Because all of these comments only speak to who made them, the author, and seem an example of extreme narcissism. They describe someone whose sense of "community" is defined by " I get what I want, in the exact circumstance that I want it, and everybody else agrees with MeMeMe." I would like to sincerely suggest to Ms. Jaquith that if she indeed misses seeing the grandeur of fields, foothills and mountains, that she go out and find them. Take a drive out unexplored roads, get to know every inch or your new home county, or better yet, a hike in a public park, or in the mountains. There are plenty of opportunities for that here, and with a little effort, perhaps a self-centered disgruntled complaint can be turned into a new way to spend a weekend.

Silence, peons! If you don't like what the owners of 200 acre estates are doing to intentionally diminish your quality of rural life, then keep it to yourselves! If you aren't rich enough to buy up those open vistas, nobody wants to hear your opinion on the subject. How dare you, you narcissistic peasants!

I wasn't suggesting that she is a peon or peasant, or has no right to an opinion. I suggested she stop inventing motivations for these homeowners, or making large general assumptions and pronouncements about them, all because SHE is inconvenienced, during the... how many minutes it might take during her run past this particular house. Her complaint indeed IS all about Her and Her Desires, and that is the definition of narcissism. My suggestions to be creative and energetic and find ways to explore and enjoy the countryside were indeed sincere.

What she doesn't mention is that those trees are planted on the left side of Wesley Chapel Rd., where there is no view of the mountains because the mountains are on the right!! All those trees are blocking is her view of the owners house.

Warehol: That's not accurate. If you like, you could send me an email, and I'll send you a photograph of the view, with mountains.

Speaking of mountains on the left and right: There's a lovely view on Garth Road, as you drive away from Charlottesville, and pass Ingleside Farm. You're driving up Garth and BAM! there's the Blue Ridge ahead, and also on your right. It's a view that reinforces everyone's delight in living in this area, every time you pass it.

The thing is, back when we first fell in love with Albemarle County, and bought our land here -- in 1990 -- that view was a full 180-degree panorama. Mountains to the right, mountains straight ahead, and yes, mountains to the left.

When the Inglecress subdivision was built, the developers put a buffer of pine trees between the houses and the road. I understand the need for that. Those houses benefit from that buffer.

Nevertheless, a truly spectacular vista has been cut in half. I often wonder whether, with some judicious thinning and pruning, the buffer could be maintained while opening up part of the view.

I hate to think of something similar happening over on the right side of the road, where the Ingleside Farm is now. That Blue Ridge view could disappear altogether. I'd like to send a bouquet of roses to the owners of Ingleside every year, along with a thank-you note for their generosity of spirit for maintaining that beautiful view for every one of us to enjoy.

When I was a child, living on Profit Road, we lived on a farm on hill and you could see the beautiful Blue Ridge from our house. Over the years, some farmers let their fields and farming roads grow over and the view disappeared. Life happens. Who should have the right to control what a person can do with their property? It's not like we belong to a homeowners' association that we signed on for knowing the restrictions. Why are we owed the views we have today? The past views were beautiful, they were destroyed to make room for the houses you live in. You planted trees and you blocked something someone else liked seeing, probably. A view isn't an inalienable right. Someone, somewhere sees the mountains from a hundred different places in the county. If we freeze your mountain view, isn't it only fair we do it for everyone? And how about those who want their past views back?