Trees win in California solar panels vs. redwoods dispute
Trees have emerged victorious in a California dispute that pitted redwoods against solar panels. Six months ago, Silicon Valley residents Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett were criminally convicted because their redwoods shaded the 10-kilowatt solar system on neighbor Mark Vargas’ roof. Ultimately, Treanor and Bissett were forced to trim their trees and paid $37,000 in legal fees. To avert future disputes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed a new law that holds that if trees were planted before solar panels were installed, the solar-panel owner cannot force the trees to be trimmed or chopped. If the solar panels came first, a civil lawsuit can be filed, but the law disallows criminal prosecution of folks with foliage. The original incident ain’t over yet, though: Vargas has sued Treanor and Bissett again, alleging not only that their trees shade his solar panels, but that the trees’ roots damage an underground storm drain and that their row of redwoods violates state laws that disallow spite fences.