Let’s be better neighbors


By Richard Levak and Linda Rock

We are writing in response to the recent publicity surrounding the Pickens/Gaylord view blockage conflict. Over the past 25 years we’ve lived in three separate Old Del Mar communities. In each, we quickly became aware of lingering neighbor conflicts and resentments, almost always associated with view blockage issues. Even though Del Mar is a beautiful community, rancor diminishes it.

We have found in our current neighborhood that working together as neighbors to improve almost everyone’s view is achievable. Every three to four years a group of about 15 families gets together to plan a neighborhood tree trimming. People on top of the hill pay for the trimming of trees below them, and so on, down the hill. If one tree affects a number of neighbors’ views, they share in the cost of trimming that tree. We often celebrate a successful trimming with a neighborhood party.

The natural human tendency to feel like you’re giving more than you’re getting does occur, but the community is generally able to resolve these issues for the benefit of the greater good. The whole process is done delicately, because people can respond emotionally if they feel criticized or as though unfair demands are being made of them.

In any relationship, whether a friendship, work setting or among neighbors, there is inevitably a give and take. Having the discipline not to act on an impulse pays off by having a neighbor look out for you when you need it. When we went on vacation recently, leaving our garage door open, our neighbors came over and closed it for us.

Del Mar would be an even more wonderful place to live if everyone could give a little more to their neighbors and the wider community. It will pay off.

Richard Levak and Linda Rock are Del Mar residents.