Sunday, February 8, 2009

Neighborhood Nutshell

  We like all of our neighbors a lot.  It's quite a mixed lot down here in the old Azalea District.  Crack dealer to doctors.  Saying we like all our neighbors is NOT saying we think them all good or wise, but that we like them, sometimes just for the entertainment value.  There are some fairly spectacular characters lurking about.  We make a point not to hold ill will.
  The guy on one side is a yard fanatic.  Always got a project and will work late into the evening pruning and edging.  He doesn't seem to have any hobbies, though we wonder about his sports car and the handcuffs hanging over the rear view mirror of his work car.  He and his wife work hard and make a living.  They have a charming chihuahua.
  My approach to yard work is casual.  I mow, mulch, chop the brush, toss twigs in the creek pull cherry laurel volunteers up by the root and plant a replacement dogwood now and then but that's about it.
  He (and she) had to rebuild the side of their garage, driveway and storm drain to handle water drainage and did a good job.  The houses down here were all built back in the late 30s by a builder who was casual about the property lines, so when he rebuilt I lost three feet of space on our side of a retaining wall and several trees we liked.  Had to move the mailboxes.  That's just the way it was, no complaints, its THEIR property.  But when he finished, he started leveling the ground next to my driveway and I had to go ask why.  Turns out he intended to put in some azaleas and build a flowerbed along the side of his garage next to where we park.  I had to kindly but firmly point out that on his side of the now clearly defined property line, he could do anything he wanted.  Bamboo, naked statuary, fountains spouting fire, et, but on MY side he needed to leave it alone and let me handle it.  Further, he shouldn't build anything on HIS side that needed depended on access from MY side to maintain.  I might build a wall or a carport, or some future owner might, but the basic reason is: it's private property.
  He was quite crestfallen.  He couldn't understand my objections to a wonderful flowerbed and box-cut azalea hedge that only took another foot of my land to complete.  He repeatedly told me how he had planned it and how nice it would look, and how he couldn't execute this landscaping without a bit of our lot.
   Very insulting and disrespectful, (though I maintained a civil tone) that he would assume he could just peel off a strip of my yard to do whatever he wanted.
   I don't think he or his wife are speaking to us now.  
  That's the difference between conservatives and liberals.  Conservatives want you to leave them and their property alone.  Liberals want to do wonderful things and don't see the harm in taking private property to do them.
  This will play out one way or another, but I think I did myself and future property owners on both sides of the line a big favor yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Good for you. Clear boundaries early on prevent growing hard feelings later.

Farm.Dad said...

Just feel good that it was a neighbor rather than the .gov . I am still having trespass discussions with the local town. They threatened emminate domain ( with the cravat that should i donate said property they would name the street after me ) until i pointed out that they had an issue of prior trespass which might well run into criminal . Where we stand now is that they are not happy , they fenced folks off my land ( at their expense ) and we still have not settled on the easement trespass ( they plowed all utility phone, and cable company lines across my ground that had run overhead ). I do have easements , but only for the business next door , not for anyone else . When they looked it up it seems that even what services that are there ( the sewer line i use , the power line i use , ect.. is in place totally illegally ) . Now in the next year or so ill put up private property signs just to keep that pesky " common use " clause from kicking in and making it elgable for seizure . However i have all the " city dads " as well as the county commissioners pouting now , and i have not yet told them to get their junk ( overflow from " landscaping and leveling " ) off my property yet . I am just contrair enough to enjoy keeping them in trouble .

Robert Langham said...

It sure seems simple if you keep it simple.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kilgore. Good for you. Just be sure to remain the civil one. When I was a child in the 60's the neighborhood was maturing to the point that people were putting in fences between back yards. Our neighbor put a chain link fence around his property and for some unknown reason put a gate on our side at the extreme alley end of the property. His was the corner lot and he evidently did not want the gate on the sidewalk side. My Dad told him he planned to put in a raised cement block flowerbed in that corner next to the garage, and it would block passage through the gate. He did not mention that he objected to Mr. Silva passing over our property to access the alley, but that was the unspoken motivation. Silva put in the gate, and we put in the flowerbed, and the other neighbor's Grandmother told us later that she thought what we did was really good as it put Silva in his place.
A small issue, but when you pay a lot for a little, small issues matter more.
It was all handled politely, but then you seemed to be handling it well, too.

Anonymous said...

I have mostly agreed with the sentiment that good fences make good neighbors. However one of our neighbors sold to a guy who put 'deferred maintenance' in the dictionary. As a result one or more dead pine trees (his) took out our fence during the 1 hr windstorm that was Hurricane Ike.Hit in a couple of places and costing some amount of money to replace. He has more dead trees one of which could reach my kids playhouse. I am thinking that shouldnt be.

Old NFO said...

Most probably BF... Those things tend to spiral out of control if not stopped up front. I actually traded my neighbor back yard area for front yard area (we were in a curve) and it worked to everyone's satisfaction, but there again, we had agreed ahead of time too.