I am a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside Counties), and the California and National Associations of Realtors. Please permit me to assist.
What you are describing is not a prescriptive easement. The reason for this is that under California law, an exclusive prescriptive easement cannot be created in favor of a single individual, because to do so is to effectively permit adverse possession without the payment of property taxes for the five-year period. See Mehdizadeh v. Mincer (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1296, 1305 ("An easement that would divest the owner of the property from 'entering or making any use of their land' is not a prescriptive easement.")
Rather, what you describe is the alleged abandonment of a restrictive covenant by an association. See Alfaro v. Community Housing Improvement System & Planning Assn., Inc. (2009) 171 Cal. App. 4th 1356, 1380."The right to enforce a restrictive covenant may be deemed generally waived when there are 'a sufficient number of waivers so that the purpose of the general plan is undermined,' in other words, when 'substantially all of the landowners have acquiesced in a violation so as to indicate an abandonment.'")
Since the act of abandonment is effectively a waiver of the right to enforce the covenant, there is ordinarily no statute of limitations issue required. However, Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 336(b) does provide a statute of limitations beyond which an association (or anyone else) may enforce the violation of a restrictive covenant. Consequently, if it is proved that the tree has been blocking the view for more than five years, then it is likely to be impossible to obtain a court order to top or trim the tree so as to comply with the CC&Rs.
I hope I've answered your question. If you require further clarification, I ask only that you say, “THANK YOU,” when you ask your follow-up question – so that I know that you appreciate my efforts in your behalf.
Thanks again for using Justanswer!