TREASURE ISLAND — Residents may find landscaping their waterfront back yards a little tougher if city officials move ahead on a proposal to restrict the height of trees and other vegetation.
The City Commission talked Tuesday about adding a stipulation to a current ordinance that would require that all vegetation, not just hedges, within the seawall setback be no taller than 30 inches. Currently, the ordinance addresses hedges only.
"Some people are planting things that impede the views of their neighbors," said Commissioner Phil Collins, who is proposing the wording addition. "I think the intention of the ordinance was to protect everyone's view."
Collins said the new requirement would affect only new landscaping. Old landscaping would be grandfathered in.
Community Improvement Director Paula Cohen said seawall setback "changes by street and avenue" in each neighborhood. The city's Land Development Code spells out the setback in each area, she said.
There are a variety of trees aside from palms that can grow bushy and restrict views, she said. Code enforcement officials handle complaints about too-high hedges but are allowed in back yards only with the owner's permission, Cohen said.
"There are a lot of people that have this (restricted-view) problem," Collins said.
But Mitchell Shenkman, an Isle of Palms resident, objected to what he called Big Brother actions in dictating a height for backyard landscaping.
"I don't see the purpose," Shenk- man said, adding that he doesn't have a problem with his neighbor's higher trees. He questioned Collins about how many complaints he had received. Collins said four.
Commissioner Julian Fant said he doesn't like the idea of obstructing views but doesn't think many residents would bring complaints against their neighbors in that situation. Fant said he is concerned that professional landscapers and tree trimmers don't always haul away their debris, as required by the ordinance.
Since the issue is a land development regulation, Cohen said that any changes should go through the city's Local Planning Agency. She plans to bring the issue before the board at its next meeting.