Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Tale of Two Neighbors

Not much blogging the last few days. Painting isn’t exciting but complaining to the city about your neighbors has the potential to be exciting. That is, if you think poorly written made-for-TV-movies are exciting. Maybe some of you will remember that last October I gave my neighbor an ultimatum. Get rid of the construction business and get all the crap off the street, or I’ll complain again to the city. They didn’t do squat so I’m left with the unenviable task of having to cash a check that my butt really didn’t want to write in the first place. Yesterday was phase one. I made a complaint to the Planning Dept. at City Hall.

My neighbor, the woman who owns the property, is not a bad person. She is a divorced, mother of 2, school teacher in her early 50s. Her 2 sons are the problem. They have basically been coddled their whole lives and have grown up to be arrogant pricks. The father is sort of a bottom dweller in the construction business and has made a nitch of building chain link fences and clearing debris. It is hard for me to criticize anyone who earns an honest living, but it’s just the way they all act. Let’s just say they have a little more self esteem than they should.

The sons think they are very important and others should be expected to deal with their crap because their lives are just so important. They built an illegal Mother-in-law unit, a garage, and a carport in the Mom’s backyard and the sons sort of take turns living there. They have basically taken over the Dad’s business and are running it out of the Mom’s backyard. So I have this 25ish year old guy, living in his Mom’s backyard, and running his Dad’s business. This is a business that is basically the lowest rung in the profession, and he thinks he is more important than people who have had to get a real job, buy a house, make a place for themselves in the world. It’s tough to take.

I did battle with the other son when I first moved in. He had crap parked – make that dumped - up and down the street. My house is on a corner and on the long frontage on the side there was a trailer with 6 lawnmowers, a dune buggy, a beat up mini van with 3 flat tires, and a flat bed dodge from the 1960s. And that was just what was next to my house. The rest of the street was similar. This stuff rarely moved. I asked if he could move a few things so I could have two parking spaces for future tenants of the apartments over my garage. He hemmed and hawed and reluctantly moved the mini van. Soon enough something else showed up to takes it’s place. We went back and forth like this for about 9 months and I eventually had had enough.

I went down to City Hall and found out that all the out buildings they had built were done without permit and did not meet code. I complained to the Planning Department about the junk in the alley and they were cited for operating a junkyard. That was a warning shot across the bow. I wrote a letter to the Mom that I wanted all the crap off the street next to my house or I would go to back to The City again. This time I would pull no punches. I would go to the building department about the un-permitted buildings, the parking control about the junk on the street, and the planning department about the business.

The son accused me of being un-neighborly and I told him to go to hell. A few months later he packed up and moved out lock, stock and junk. The Mom rented the MIL unit to a nice young couple and everything was fine for more than a year. Then the younger son got out of the Army and she gave the young couple the boot and he moved in. The Mom assured me this son was much better than the other son and the problems would not come back. I was skeptical but what could I do. I reminded her of our agreement: No junk on the street next to my house.

I’ll stop here for now. Tune in tomrrow for part 2.


Ms. P in Jackson said...

It's hard to know where to draw the line sometimes. Being the person that likes to do what I can by myself, I can't stand neighbors whose noses are so big they feel the need to call the city at the first sound of a hammer. However, one trashy-ass neighbor can ruin an entire block. Too many cars, broken-down cars, trash, old appliances and let's not forget Christmas blights. I'm sorry you are having so much trouble with these people, I hope it gets settled once and for all.

Also, if a structure has already been built (even if without permit), isn't it hard to go backward and have it torn down?

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Arrrgggh! This reminds me of my Crazy Sudanese neighbor post. I need to get it out there in the next few days, but I haven't had time to take a pic yet of what I will be ranting about and whenever I edit the post I just get so mad that I want to break something.

Looking forward to hearing how yours turned out.

Gary said...

To the sound of banjo music from the movie "Deliverance".
Be a "Good" neighbor! Steal their pig! Invite them over for pork roast. Leave them some left-overs in the refridgerator in their front yard and give them a one-way ticket to "Dollywood".

Anonymous said...

You are brave. I'm worried if I ever say anything to my neighbors, that I'll come home from the grocery store to find my house burned to the ground.
And all I want is to put up a fence so my dog can run around. My neighbor doesn't like that idea, because his backyard is consumed by a HUGE garage, and his dogs use my backyard for their bathroom. Of course he'll be upset when I put a fence up, because where will his dogs relieve themselves?
I wish sometimes I lived in the middle of nowhere. Dealing with people is a pain in the !@#!.

StuccoHouse said...

Nothing is more frustrating. I feel your pain.

Just keep telling yourself....he is 25 and lives with his mother....he is 25 and he lives with his mother.

I'd say go for the jugular. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Jenny said...

Wow that would be so tough to take. You have way more patience than I think I would in the same situation.

I can't wait to find out what happens next.