July 27, 2008
Update on the Trees v. the Solar Panels
More than six months after two Santa Clara residents were convicted under a state nuisance law for letting their redwoods cast shade on a neighbor’s solar panels, the governor signed into law a bill that gives trees the right to grow as they please — as long as they predate any solar panels they might be shading. . . .
The new law is not retroactive; the original conviction stands. But the neighborhood fight is not over. Mr. Vargas has gone back to civil court, suing his neighbors in part because of the solar-panel issue, but also because he claimed the trees’ roots damage an underground storm drain and because they violate state laws prohibiting spite fences.
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