Court Reverses Decision on Ocean View Dispute

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

Marquez Knolls residents are worried about the value of their homes after an appeals court ruled in favor of a resident who wished to add an air conditioner on his roof that would block their neighbors’ view and potentially give way to similar projects.

A legal dispute spanning several years between two neighbors on Lachman Lane came to an end in June after a court of appeals reversed an earlier decision ruling that the Marquez Knolls home was building too high and in violation of view protection laws.

The Eisen family originally filed suit against the neighboring Tavangarians in 2013, who had bought the property with intent to remodel and sell it, alleging that the remodel of their home on Lachman Lane was violating local laws that prohibited “the erection of any ‘structures’ that would unreasonably obstruct or detract” from the view from their property. 

Shortly after, a court ruled in favor of the Eiseins, ordering the Tavangarians to remove the additions that blocked their view and awarded them $39,000 in “interim damages.” 

But the dispute was far from over, as the Tavangarians appealed the decision, claiming the court had misinterpreted the covenants, conditions and restrictions—or CC&Rs—that the initial ruling claimed they had violated. 

After the back and forth argument to determine the complex legalese stated in the restrictions and arguing what was defined as a “structure,” the decision was reversed in favor of the Tavangarians, allowing them to install a “multi-ton air conditioner” on the roof of the existing home and setting the precedent that height restrictions do not equally apply to non-structural additions. 

“Property values for some in the Marquez Knolls just took a deep dive today,” said one concerned resident after the ruling was published. “What happens when all those nine-foot homes go up to the height allowed by the City of LA? Since alterations of your residence are not governed by the deed restrictions does everyone get a rooftop deck? Elevator that goes up? 

“The case also implies that current two-story homeowners can do whatever they want.”

Opposed to the reversal, the Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association wrote a letter to the court of appeals requesting they rehear the case but were denied. The MKPOA now intends to “hire council and get a better understanding of the interpretation,” according to Haldis Toppel, a board member on the MKPOA.