City Council members approved the construction of a homeowner's backyard deck over neighbors' protests, fearing that a court decision would reverse them if they did otherwise.
"It would be very difficult to win" in court if the council rejected the deck plan, City Atty. Stanley Remelmeyer said. The homeowner, Jim D'Angelo of 153 Via Pascual, filed a lawsuit against the city when planning officials revoked his construction permit after neighbors objected to the plan. A judge refused to hear the case until all appeals in the municipal process had been exhausted.
Neighbors complained that the 738-square-foot deck, which extends over the backyard's slope, would cost them privacy, would be aesthetically unappealing and would set a bad precedent.
D'Angelo's plan meets the requirements of the city's hillside ordinance, which sets limits on home additions that may reduce neighbors' views. He said he would reduce the height of the deck and plant shrubbery to mitigate the visual impact and maintain neighbors' privacy.
"When our own attorney tells us that we'll lose in court . . . I see no compelling reason to spend $10,000 to $20,000 to lose a battle," said Councilman Dan Walker.