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Pacific Heights: Birds Gotta Fly, Trees Gotta Grow, Rich People Fight*

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A view to sue for? Apparently the trees have grown since. [Credit: BHouse]

Saying that "views are important" in San Francisco is an understatement. Those forty-foot height limits are the cheekbones from which our very (urban) body hangs, with view-vigilantes lurking on every hill, defending the charming aspects of tumbling pastel houses and bright blue waters. Up in Pacific Heights, it's no different on Billionaires Row, that stretch of Broadway that runs along the edge of Pacific Heights high above Cow Hollow. Which is where we find billionaire Larry Ellison suing his millionaire downhill neighbors Jane and Bernard von Bothmer over some runaway redwoods and an acacia that have been accused of growing upwards- perhaps too vigorously- and blocking Ellison's north views of the bay. According to the initial complaint, the dispute's been going on since 2008, and accuses the von Bothmers of less-than-enthusiastic pruning, loss of enjoyment, loss of value, and loss of sunlight. Will the trees come down, or will they endure a serious shave off the top? Probably not any time soon- there's still potentially two years of arborial brinksmanship before the A-Cup trials start. The Curbed SF theory? Anne and Gordon Getty live next door to Ellison, and the fertilizer-and-water runoff from their compound has made the von Bothmer's redwoods way too happy.
· Ellison vs. Von Bothmer [.pdf] [Superior Court of California]

*with sincerest apologies to Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern