12.45.020 Definitions.

A.    For the purposes of this chapter, the meaning and construction of words and phrases hereinafter set forth shall apply:

1.    "Solar access" means the availability of sunlight to a property.

2.    "Views" mean a distant vista or panoramic range of sight of Berkeley, neighboring areas or the San Francisco Bay. Views include but are not limited to skylines, bridges, distant cities, geologic features, hillside terrains and wooded canyons or ridges.

3.    "Trees" means any woody perennial plant, usually with one or more major trunks attaining a height of at least fifteen feet at maturity.

4.    "Complaining party" means any property owner (or legal occupant without objection of property owner) who wishes to alter or remove a tree(s) on the property of another which creates an obstruction to their access to sunlight or view whether such access is gained from an original dwelling or any addition thereto used as a dwelling.

5.    "Tree owner" means any individual owning real property in Berkeley upon whose land is located a tree or trees alleged by a complaining party to cause an obstruction.

6.    "Obstruction" means any substantial blocking or diminishment of a view from a structure lawfully used as a dwelling or access to sunlight to the real property which is attributable to the growth, maintenance or location of tree(s).

7.    "Tree mediator or tree arbitrator" means any trained and experienced mediator or mediator/arbitrator acceptable to both complaining party and tree owner to mediate or arbitrate a tree dispute.

8.    "Restorative action" means any specific requirement to resolve a tree dispute.

9.    "Thinning" means the selective removal of entire branches from a tree so as to improve visibility through the tree and/or improve the tree’s structural condition.

10.    "Tree removal" means the elimination of any tree from its present location.

11.    "Trimming" means the selective removal of portions of branches from a tree so as to modify the tree(s) shape or profile or alter the tree’s appearance.

12.    "Topping" means removal of the top portion of a tree’s main leader stems, resulting in an overall reduction in the tree’s height and size.

13.    "Tree claim" means the written basis for arbitration or court action under the provisions of this article which includes all of the following:

a.    The nature and extent of the alleged obstruction, including pertinent and corroborating physical evidence. Evidence may include, but is not limited to photographic prints, negatives or slides. Such evidence must show absence of the obstruction at any documentable time during the tenure of the current property owner (or legal occupant without objection of property owner), hereinafter referred to as complaining party. Evidence to show date of acquisition must be included.

b.    The location of all trees alleged to cause the obstruction, the address of the property upon which the tree(s) are located, and the present tree owner’s name and address. This requirement may be satisfied by the inclusion of the tree location, property address, and tree owner information.

c.    Any mitigating actions proposed by the parties involved to resolve the tree claim.

d.    The failure of personal communication between the complaining party and the tree owner to resolve the alleged obstruction as set forth in Section 12.45.030 of this chapter. The complaining part must provide physical evidence that written attempts at conciliation have been made and failed. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, copies of and receipts for certified or registered mail correspondence. (Ord. 6286-NS § 1 (part), 1995: Ord. 6173-NS § 1 (part), 1993: Ord. 5817-NS § 1 (part), 1987)