August 26, 2015

Washington Appellate Court Affirms Enforcement of View Easement

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's decision that a recorded view easement protects views of the Olympic Mountains from the main floor of a home in rural King County and requires maintenance of vegetation on an adjacent property to the extent that it exceeds the top of certain foothills and obstructs the view of the mountains which appears above them.  The view easement at issue was intended to "protect the reasonable expectation of landowners to have and protect such views as they exist on the date of the making of this agreement" and provided that the properties shall have a "reasonable unencumbered view of the Olympic Mountains."  A beautiful (and valuable) view of the mountains was thus preserved through the judicial process.

The Pacific Northwest abounds in stunning scenery, and owners of property in this region are often interested in preserving views.  Recording a view easement in conjunction with neighboring properties is the legal way to accomplish that goal.  If such an easement does not exist, then a property owner can not force his or her neighbor or homeowners association to preserve or restore a treasured view.