Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Neighbor's Mess

These are pictures of a neighbor's property - two 100x100 foot lots to the south of our acreage. The owner doesn't live on the premises but has used it as a dumping ground for various projects that are never started let alone finished. This past week he's been there a lot either hauling more junk in, sorting through it or moving it around. And once again the neighbors have exasperated themselves trying to "get it through his head" that he needs to clean the eyesore up.

He's been described as eccentric, lazy, dumb-witted, ignorant, a few choice expletives, and just a plain pain in the behind. So I wasn't sure how to handle him as I trudged through our woods, camera in hand, to talk to him. I had a little speech flowing through my mind and the camera to take pictures with a promise to "send them to the township."

The guy's really quite friendly, was nice enough, not confrontational or threatening when I point blank said, "Excuse me, I'm your new neighbor. I'm here to ask you to move your stuff off our land. And, by the way, there's a blight ordinance in this township. Are you aware of that?"

Got the words out quickly so he couldn't interrupt. He listened, then extended his hand and said, "Oh, nice to meet you." After various attempts to keep the conversation on his mess while he asked irrelevant questions, I said, "Come on. I'll show you the survey stakes that mark our boundary." He followed like a puppy.

Boundary stakes are something he takes seriously. Forty five minutes later he had moved all the stray boards, bricks, stone, and junk parts back onto his land. Later that afternoon I was picking blueberries along the road when he pulled up. He thanked me for pointing out the survey stakes (which would be hard to spot amongst all his stuff) and apologized for crossing onto our land.

The neighbors are wondering how I managed to get him to act and I'm plotting how to convince him to clean up the rest of the place.


Anonymous said...

Hi, looks like he may have some things you guys could use. Maybe you neighbors could haul away what you want to use and he can then get rid of the rest. Or maybe someone could buy him out. See if he wants to sell?

Did it MY way said...

I'm glad he moved his stuff off your property, and you were happy. However whats on HIS land, and is not a health hazard is non of your business. Code bullshit is what leads to the loss of personal freedoms. That's why some people move to the sticks to avoid just that. perhaps since you and he had no problems on the first meeting you could encourage a clean or straightn up campaign.

Township ordances should only be used for health reasons.

Just my two cents worth.

treesong said...

Thanks Anonymous and Did It My Way for stopping by.

While there is likely stuff at the neighbor's that we might use, I think we've got our hands full at the moment. As for the code business - I guess I should have written more about this property. First, there have been three small fires at this sight, all contained by neighbors on either side who didn't want their homes to go up in smoke. Second, some of the stuff is rotting and full of carpenter ants which have begun to migrate to the west into a neighbor's shed. So the day I was visiting the MESS, the other neighbor was fumigating his shed,; tore off a couple boards and replaced them and then hauled the shed to the other side of his lot. The pictures I posted don't do justice to what a mess it is and the strange thing is the place has been hit twice by lightening. Furthermore, the owner claims it under the Homestead exemption despite not living there, receiving his mail there or registered to vote in this township - all which are illegal according to the county treasurer. I did walk by there last night while picking berries on our land and noticed he had installed some of the MANY panels of wooden fence he has in one corner. So next time I see him I'm going to encourage that effort because it would quiet the complaints if no one had to look at it. Also, two properties are for sale on this same road and have not sold because people don't want to look at the dump next door - that's verbatim from the realtor who has them listed. And many people have offered to buy out the owner to no avail.