"Some residents perceived the height and thickness of vegetation to be as much or greater of an issue than structures and expressed their concern that vegetation would go unaddressed," she said.
But balancing the rights of one property owner versus another is a difficult matter when tackling vegetation issues, City Planner Michael Forbes said.
"What a lot of cities have done is — rather than trying to find a way to create regulations to zone your way out of that challenge — to just put a mediation type of process in place," he said.
"Each case is going to be a little different. The way that the needs of the property owner versus the needs of neighboring property owners to have a view — the way that that gets balanced is going to be a little bit different in any case."
Presently, the city has no policy regarding disputes between neighbors over the size of vegetation, he said. If residents cannot resolve disputes privately, civil litigation is the only option, he said.
That fact was voiced in council chambers Tuesday as some Hillside residents urged the council to put measures in place that would protect views in the Hillside District.
"Burbank is a city with beautiful views of the hills from the valley and views of the valleys from the hills … as it stands, there is nothing protecting those views," Hillside resident Dave Hansen said.
During community meetings in April and June 2006, which attracted between 30 and 45 residents, planning staffers heard concerns from residents that it is difficult to define and prioritize one view against another, Steinkruger said. In addition, many residents felt that disputes should be confronted on a case-by-case basis, rather than applying stringent, universal standards, she said.
But residents indicated support for establishing a mediation process, which would be mostly paid for by the person making a complaint regarding a property, she said. Residents were also behind the notion of a "Good Neighbor Guide," which would be distributed to inform homeowners about options for remedying disputes and obstructions, she said.
CHRIS WIEBE covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at chris.wiebelatimes.com.