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New Neighbors Sue Couple Over Trees To Gain View

TEMECULA ( — A heartbroken couple had to have eight trees on their property cut down after their new neighbors successfully sued, claiming the trees were obstructing the view of the valley below.

The trees, which were chainsawed down Tuesday, were the subject of a lawsuit by the recent residents, who said the trees obstructed the view from their new home.

Leonie Whitehead, 87, and her husband, 89, have lived in their home in Temecula for over three decades and say the ordeal makes them sick.

Isabelle and Christophe Bach, who moved into their home in 2011, demanded the Whiteheads trim or prune their trees, claiming their view of the picturesque valley below was being blocked.

"He says, 'I want your trees out, and if you don't do it, I'll sue ya,' " Leonie Whitehead said.

That is precisely what the Bachs did, suing both the Whiteheads and the neighborhood association, claiming the trees were in violation of HOA restrictions, which say trees cannot unduly impede views.

The Whiteheads, who say they didn't have the energy or the money to go to court, had no choice but to comply.

"You know, you go to court, you don't know what will happen," Leonie said. "If you lose, it just costs so much money."

The eight trees cut down Tuesday ranged in height from 20 feet to 40 feet.

Christophe Bach declined to comment on the matter, but in their complaint, they alleged that the previous owners had also complained about the trees.

Now, with the Whiteheads losing their trees, and with the Bachs gaining their view, the elderly couple remains in disbelief.

"I do not understand that the law works that way," Whitehead said.

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