View ordinance are laws designed to protect a property's view from obstructions. Such ordinances may encompass and regulate a variety of property features, but commonly address trees and vegetation. View ordinances can also be enforced to protect a range of features, from sunlight to views of cities. Furthermore, these ordinances provide a right to action for property owners who suffer losses (e.g., reduced property value) to either demand for the removal of the obstruction or monetary damages.
While view ordinances and zoning ordinances both regulate the use of property, they are distinct in that the latter controls how property in specific geographic zones is used. Additionally, other city-planning ordinances, like those limiting fence or building height, can serve the same purpose as view ordinances.
Like zoning ordinances, view ordinances have been recognized as a valid exercise of a municipality's policing power. For example, California courts have held that such ordinances are tied to legitimate interests in public welfare and aesthetic considerations.
[Last updated in September of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]