Couple ordered to trim trees to improve neighbour's view

Sunrise Beach vista, from Captains Court.
Sunrise Beach vista, from Captains Court.

A SUNRISE Beach couple has been ordered to trim a stand of Lilly Pillys by 1m and prune an avocado tree, because they're blocking their neighbour's view of the ocean.

Rosina and Vincent Laing, of Southern Cross Parade, were taken to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal by their neighbours Helen and George Kokkinos, after the trees inside their fence grew up to block the view from their deck.

The Tribunal was left to decide if the trees caused "substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with Mr and Mrs Kokkinos' use and enjoyment of their land".

Mr and Mrs Laing argued that the trees were necessary to provide privacy for their pool area in light of a past extension of their neighbour's deck; however, Mr and Mrs Kokkinos claimed that the avocado tree was only 1m higher than the 1.5m high fence at the time they moved in, and the Lilly Pillys were planted in 2007 only after a previous dispute between the neighbours.

The avocado tree had since grown to 5m high and the five Lilly Pillys to about 4m, and were now blocking around 50% of their previous view of the ocean.

Mr and Mrs Kikkinos told a tree assessor that they wanted the trees trimmed back to 2.5m high, but the assessor advised that, while that would restore the view, it would also leave Mr and Mrs Laing with no privacy screening.

The assessor instead suggested that the trees be trimmed back to 3.8m, which the Tribunal noted would have negligible impact on the current predicament.

The Tribunal ruled that the trees be cut back to 3m high, which would "restore the view" as well as "maintaining a reasonable level of privacy screening to the Laings' back yard and pool".

It also ruled that the trees be trimmed annually to ensure they remained at the stipulated height. If the avocado tree won't survive such a pruning, it is to be removed and replaced by a Lilly Pilly.

Topics:  council law sunrise beach views

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