Two more Mosmanites fail to lop their neighbour's trees

Two more Mosmanites have sued their neighbour over trees blocking their views, but neither complaint was successful in this week’s judgements, adding to the very poor batting rate of Mosman tree view court cases.

Two separate owners in a Mosman apartment block sought to convince the New South Wales Land and Environment Court to order the removal or pruning of their neighbour’s kaffir plum, jacaranda and hackberry trees.

The court dismissed both cases.

The first applicant in a second-floor apartment said the trees belonging to noted archictect Stan Symonds (pictured above and below) obscured views of the sky and the district to the south, while the second applicant on the ground floor said he previously had a triangular view of Mosman Bay and its surrounds before the trees ruined everything.

Commissioner Judy Fakes found that while there was an obstruction of a view for the first applicant she would not order the removal of the trees.

“In the absence of the kaffir plums, the very narrow view … along the southern boundary fence to the SSW would be obscured by other trees not subject to the court's jurisdiction and therefore, any interference with the trees is unlikely to open up the desired view,” she said.

“The nominated room is a bedroom and not a living room and therefore it is reasonable to expect that limited time would be spent in that room looking out the window.”

She added that applicant’s “living room has the desired views of Mosman Bay”.

She was also unconvinced about the ground-floor applicant’s argument.

“Even if I were satisfied of a severe obstruction, the discretionary matters discussed in relation to the [upstairs] property would apply.

“However, the view from … the property is not so obstructed.”

Commissioner Judy Fakes had also heard an earlier case that the two kaffir plum trees and a camphor tree had damaged the neighbour’s 13-metre brick wall, concrete paving, sewer and a sandstone retaining wall.

In regards to the sewer commissioner Fakes found that “absent any actual problems with the sewer and no evidence of any roots, there is no reason to suspect that the situation will change in the next 12 months”.

Speaking about the paving she found “the applicant was unable to produce evidence of any roots from any of the trees in the section of slab said to be damaged”.

With the retaining wall she found “there is no evidence that any part of any of the trees on the respondents' property have contributed to the displacement of one of the large blocks of sandstone.”

“I consider the removal of the tree to be disproportionate to the extent of the tree's contribution to the state of the wall and would be completely unreasonable on the evidence before me,” she said in her concluding statements.

Judges have found the residents of Mosman to be a little keen in their arboriculture objections, with eight of the 10 previous cases in Mosman dismissed.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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