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Problematic Neighbor

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So, I need some advice, and since ya'all have shown yourselves to be intelligent and thoughtful people, I thought I would take a chance and use this forum to describe this situation and ask "What would you do?"

Been living here near 29 years. The lot to the west of me used to be my vacant lot, but I sold it in 1992. It's changed hands twice. The current neighbor is in his 20's, just moved here from Alaska, and has built what could best be described as a retaining wall fortress. It is so ugly, and nothing exists like it anywhere I've ever seen including this neighborhood which is fenceless, and tends towards naturalism.

It is tiered, like a Peruvian mountainside garden plot. He just put in a 45' Flagpole. He has 8 different types of fence in this yard, including 6' chain link fence, 3' chain link, 6' wooden plank fence that is stained walnut, 42" plastic Home Depot fence, chicken wire fence, white picket fence, cedar fence, cross thatch fence, and many of the fences have cement footings that stick out 1 1/2 feet total from the epicenter of the fence, but the city said he couldn't put anymore "impervious surfaces" in the yard, so he used 2 x 4's to line the extension of the 42" fence and filled it with rocks. He built it right smack dab upto the property line, and then put a gate on it that opens onto my yard. It isn't even clear whether he has actually built it on my property as the buried metal posts were put in by the guy I bought these properties from 29 years ago, and he assured me that he would not guarantee that they were acurate. I told this to the city, and to this new neighbor, but they didn't listen.

It would cost me $1000 to have the lot surveyed. That is one option.

But in the meantime, when I was mowing my grass, he comes up to rag on me about "not shooting grass clippings into his yard". I've told him for the 5-6 years he's lived there, that I can only mow one direction because of the hillside, and that I was planning on putting shrubs there along the property line and that would solve the problem.

SO, monday night, he brings his lawnmower onto my side of his fence and starts mowing 4' feet of my property up to his fence. The property line is 180' long~!

The gall of this guy. He also has animal heads adorning every available wall space in his home. A moose head that is bigger than me, and I'm a big guy!

What would you do? I'm thinking of sending him a registered letter making it clear that he neither has explicit or implicit permission to tresspass on my property again, and that includes his friends who park on the side street to the east of me, and then walk nonchalantly across my property to get to his house. That is one reason for the gate! The other reason for the gate is so he can come onto my property to access my side of his fence. Most people offset the fence from the property line rather than assume that the neighbor will grant them free access to the other side of the fence.

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts. If I am out of line, I'm sure you'll let me know. If not, thanks for your suggestions!

doc
post #2 of 19
start a petition in your neighborhood.
I've heard of certain neighboorhoods where you cant put up fences or ride motorcycles or have loud stereo systems in your car. this was dont by the community coming together on with a petition to create an ordinance for their neighborhood.
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection" - Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #3 of 19
Time to talk to the alderman.

He may have infringed on some zoning laws you're not aware of. Do you have covenants in your neighborhood? I'm thinking of some we have in our subdivision. One example is that people can't park a boat, trailor or RV for more than a few days; no outbuildings are allowed; etc.
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post #4 of 19
Codes and covenants in the subdivision is one thing. There may also be laws about fences being uniform, of certain heights, fill and such, just as there was about the impervious surfaces.

Most also include maximum heights on flag poles.

You should also check into the permit issue. Doesn't sound like he filed a permit for any of these construction activities and a good many of them may require a permit. It's a public record and you should be able to check with your city/county offices about it. If so, he'll likely be forced to remove the "improvements" or at least drastically amend them.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 19
......what everyone above said. go down to city hall and start looking. two short cut ideas:
1. call the information desk at the public library and ask if they have the ordinances for this stuff in their hard reference.
2.do you have any friends in the real estate biz? they usually have the skinny on all the neiborhood covenants and such; or at least they have streamlined access to such.
even my tiny, itsy, bitsy, microscopic flyspeck on the map has an 'unsightliness' ordinance and boy do they enforce it! but first you have to complain. sounds like its time to make your (justified) unhappiness a matter of public record.
if you have to get country on their a**, private message me and we'll confab!
post #6 of 19
easements are nothing to laugh at. He can, and will, own your land if you don't have it surveyed and set this straight now.
post #7 of 19
Being a real estate attorney, I would suggest that you retain an attorney and get a consultation in this matter. Laws - esp. real estate laws- are vastly different from state to state. A boundary survey is what will give you the exact boundary lines and show whether his fences encroach on your property. HOwever, even if they do encroach, has your problem really been solved if he simply complies and moves his fences off your property? It sounds like your real complaint is nuisance - that his atrocities on his yard ruin your enjoyment of your own property. Check out rules & regs if you are in a subdivision, and check out local ordinances enacted by the town/village/city where you live. Fences have nothing to do with zoning. Zoning concerns the use of land. If he uses the land as residential property, then there's no zoning violation. What you are looking for is a local ordinance or code violation.

You could verbally warn him that he is trespassing by being on your property and mowing your lawn, and that if he does it again you will "take legal action."

Don't try to play lawyer by writing your own threatening letters. Hire a lawyer to do that for you so that you don't say something which is unenforceable or which could get you into trouble.

Disclaimer: I do not represent you as your attorney and you should not rely on my opinion. Check it out with an attorney in your state.
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"If even lowly bacteria - who are at the bottom of the food chain - won't eat trans fats, then why do humans?"
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post #8 of 19
Doc,
Having lived in Alaska and having known many of these type of people I know the house and I know the mentality. It's an everyman for himself type attitude. I do what I want because it's what I want to do.
Try talking (and believe me I know this is tough) but try having a beer with him and asking him about Alaska. Find out where he lived and what the area was like. Chances are either his neighbors weren't close, or they lived like him. There's a reason they call it the "last frontier". Many people who are on the fringes of society live there because they can live like him and get away with it.
Get along with him and gently remind him that although the weather is similar, you ain't in Alaska, and that you all really need to get along. If you can make him feel like you understand where he is coming from, perhaps you can get him to change just enough to get along with him. I know this sounds really "touchy feely" and considering he's in his 20's it's unlikely he'll listen, but hey you never know. If all else fails, do what they do to each other in Alaska...Shoot him :D
Disclaimer: I do not actually mean for you to go out and shoot anyone, and you should not rely on my opinion. Check it out with a hit man in your state.
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #9 of 19
chrose, i agree with what you are saying. making a little extra effort to befriend him before going to war might be the best move. i would have a bbq and invite him over for a good steak and a beer. then spell out your concerns.

it definitely sounds like he is crossing the line in a number of ways and that should be resolved, but i have to say that i really dislike when communities start making laws that demand of others that all of the fences must match, or that they cannot park a boat on their property, or they cannot ride motorcycles or they cannot paint their house certian colors, etc. oops, didn't mean to jump on a soapbox their.

anyhow, deltadoc, i hope you get all your greivence resolved and i hope that you and the neighbor get to better friends.
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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post #10 of 19
Last year we put up a fence, to keep our dogs in. Learned a few things when doing it. Here in Fond du Lac, WI we had to have a building permit to put up the fence. Also we were told to set it back from the boundry line so that there was no way that we would be encrouching on our neighbors property. Even if the fence is exactly on the property line chances are that the footings, then cross over it. It seems you do have some legal issues on your side. I would definately have your land surveyed. I can't believe that it will cost you $1000. Check with the city and see if they will do the survey. They probably have it already, somewhere in their files, if you are within the city limits. I would try talking to the guy first, as others have said. It is the safest approach. I have seen these neighbor issues turn into full blown battles, and in that case, even if you win, no one wins. They can get really ugly.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Man, do I love you guys!

Ok, here is some more detail.

The comments about Alaskan mentality really describes this guy! Although I found out he is originally from the Twin Cities and moved back about 5-6 years ago!

He was originally going to put up the fence without a permit, but I cautioned him that our city would notice and make him take it down. I was hoping if the permit was drawn the city would do something about it. Well, they did. They came out and congratulated him on digging up the buried marker posts, even though I told him and the city that the surveyor from whom I bought the properties said he wouldn't guarantee they were accurate. They were done in 1972. Also, the people who owned the property before him told me that they had the lot surveyed and indeed, as I suspected, the actual lot line was further west (away from me) than my survey maps had shown. I told the neighbor and the city this also, and they both ignored me. The only positive thing to come out of his drawing the permit was the city at least put a crimp on his mad desire to pour cement everywhere. (He happens to be a construction company cement foreman pouring cement for a living).

We have no subdivision, these are unplatted lands with abstracts. There are no covenants. Only the local zoning ordinances and a building inspector to reel things in. The city rolls its eyes (off the record of course) and told me that there is nothing they can do about it. The county planning commissioner (after they redid the highway out in front for 4 cities long) rolled his eyes and said "This guy's property is the only eyesore along the entire corridor". I quoted him, and he recanted. Apparently they got on his case for his candor.

I've composed a letter informing him that he has no explicit or implied consent from me to egress my property for any purpose, and that I am under no legal obligation or personal inclination to grant him egress onto my property, and that he should have thought of that before he put the fence in right up to the property line as defined by the out-of-date marker posts.

Of course, I won't send the letter until I have an attorney re-write it. Funny thing is, I used to work with this guy's sister, and didn't know it until just months before I lost that job in February. She's just the opposite and we were good friends as co-workers. She told me that her brother was a "hot head" and he thinks "everybody should see things exactly the way he sees them" and that "he pretty much does what he wants". She assured me that he "wouldnt' shoot you".

Well, she may be biased....

Next I'm going to contact the County Records office and see if the previous survey commissioned by the previous owners is on record and I'm also going to contact the local chapter of licensed surveyors to see if every survey has to include buried metal posts. If so, those posts should be locatable.

Any more thoughts, I look forward to seeing them!

thanks, guys,
doc
post #12 of 19
This guy is obviously paranoid and mentally ill. I agree with Chrose. Shoot him. Shoot him before he menaces other innocent people in society or worse yet, propagates and creates another generation of psychos.

No disclaimer. Just shoot him. Wrap the body in plastic and dump it near his old neighborhood in Alaska. It'll take the suspicion off you.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #13 of 19
sounds like you have the next unibomber living next door. :mad:

you should hire a welder and have him weld the gate shut, or at least put up your own fence that spans the width of his gate. :p

good luck!
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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pierre
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post #14 of 19
Man does that sound like a complete nightmare and I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with that. We (my wife (the attorney who replied above actually) and I) have from time to time discussed moving to a new home and I always come back to the same point (how can we leave our neighbors?). Seriously we have the best neighbors in the world we actually spend time together having BBQ watching each others homes etc.

If I were in your situation I would probably have an ulcer but what I have found can really change things in this type of situation is kindness. It really can have an effect on a normally hostile person. Often, to quickly people want to seek revenge or cause the other person the same amount of anguish, but it just makes matters worse and you have to live next to this person. Find out what your rights are and then just try to work with the guy. I agree with what was said previously that he doesn't sound like he is all there.

Hope it works out for you.

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Thanks,

Nicko 
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Bacon (I made)
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post #15 of 19
My attempt at being clever by rewriting Colleens disclaimer may have crossed the line a bit. I really wanted to make the comment about shooting the guy as a joke. But honestly the thought crossed my mind that god forbid someone would actually do that and then come back and bring me into it drove me to use Colleens disclaimer in my own way. Yes I was tring to be clever, but there was a real reason way back in my mind (and that's where most things reside in my mind....way back!)
Anyway Colleens disclaimer is necessary as an Attorney to protect herself and I used it in making light of a situation. So I would like to apologize to Colleen for appropriating a serious comment and using it for my own benefit.
Chrose :o
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #16 of 19
Move, to Golden Valley. ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist!
post #17 of 19
Chrose is too nice.

Shoot the whacko and blame me.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
My wife has a great idea! We have large lilac bushes that line our east property line that are like 25-35 feet high. She has all kinds of little shoots coming out that need to be dug up. She suggests we line the west property line with lilac bushes. Eventually they will tower over his fence, his 2x4's his tiered retaining walls, maybe even his 40' flag pole. They are impenetrable, I dare him to try to squeeze his lawnmower though those thickets!

Perhaps I should consult a landscaper and see if they would like, you know, survey the land for me at a more reasonable cost, and make suggestions on how to improve my property (besides hiding the neighbor's nightmare wacko property) at the same time?

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of "Neighbor from Alaska"...

doc
post #19 of 19
chrose-it was obvious as humor to me and i lmao!!!
markv-rotflmao !!!!!! you sound like one who knows. i'm maried to an x-'kan.

true, honey will get you farther than vinegar....our nearest next-doors (across an empty lot) are certifiable, cat collecting, yelling-gibberish-at-2:am nutjobs. ive gone out of my way to be friendly, bring them extra veggies, return their lost or deceased cats (not kidding here) say howdy in the store and lend them my lawntractor....the very first year the weirdness abruptly subsided and they cleaned up on MY side of their property. the other side is still an overgrown wasteland of pallets used as fence, heaps, of cat litter, dying trees and deceased kittens. people have remarked on it, too. invite homeboy over for a pig roast and a half-rack. ask him about his tattoos.
heres another suggestion....and it works. plant a row of TALL barberry hedge between your lots. Barberry is pretty, grows fast, and has evil, long poison-tipped needles (which break off under the skin and cause a terrible infected allergic reaction) covering the plant from the roots to the tips. wire the branches together from bush to bush when the plants are small and in another year you will have a barrier that will block the view and cause a great deal of damage to man or beast daring to cross it. rambler roses work too but arent as hardy. and as always, if you need to get country on his *****.........
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