Nuisance Neighbor Leaf blowing

demetrysDecember 9, 2007

Our neighbor wanted us to contribute in the beautification of a natural tributary (which the builder had designed and H.O.A. had approved but our neighbor was not satisfied with the original design)He simply wanted to straighten out the "creek bed" and put in rocks to make it "beautiful" and wanted us to go in 1/2 with him (Mind you this is on our property) My husband and I declined and this started the beginning of the "nuisance neighbor" He sent us emails stating that this would be the "HatfieldÂs and McCoyÂs" and we refused to response. We contacted the H.O.A. to make sure we were within our rights. Now we find he blows his leaves EVERYDAY and have noticed in the creek a line of his deposit of leaves. What legal rights, or what avenue should we pursue since with his erratic behavior we don't want to confront him?

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You need a legal forum not a design forum.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 6:12PM
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Your scenario is exactly why my husband hasn't moved into a neighborhood! My guess is you have plenty of rights. I know that it is our responsibility to keep the creek on our property clear of debris to prevent blockage and/or contamination. To deliberately be depositing his leaves there is not only infringing on your property, it might be infringing on land protection laws. Have you spoken with the HOA?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 6:23PM
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I'd agree the HOA is the first place to pursue any kind of grievance. Most don't take any too kindly to anyone stepping outside the bounds. And "straightening out" a natural watercourse is typically frowned upon by a state's department of natural resources or equivalent agency. I might inquire with them also.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 6:38PM
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Actually, the HOA probably has a legal team, and you could get access to the legal team through the board. Tampering with the creek might be in violation of the covenants. Document your findings - a camera is your best tool for photographing the leaf debris in the creek and your neighbor blowing them into the creek. The powers that be have to be convinced right off this isn't simply a personal squabble.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 6:40PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

to play devil's advocate here, exactly what harm is blowing a few leaves in teh creek? my house is on a corner lot, and the ditch in front and the one to the side BOTH get a healthy dose of leaves from my trees this time of year. it actually adds to their appearance, making them more natural looking. luckily for me i don't have to deal with an HOA.

the only thing the law can do about the leaf blowing every day is IF your area has a noise ordinace that prescribes certain times you cannot use OPE, and then IF he is using it outside those set times, then and ONLY then can they do anythign to him for using it daily.

funny thing around here. the city won't say a word if your leaves are scattered about at random. but if you put up piles of leaves and limbs, they will ticket you for debris.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 2:36PM
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I agree with you 100% and normally this would not have been an issue but our neighbor is trying to incite a confrontation and makes sure we see him blowing the leaves on the property. (By the way itÂs about 3 feet high as of yesterday) He has threatened to sue us to force us to change the "creek bed" and to contact the HOA of which we have told him that is his choice to pursue.(We have contacted the HOA and there is noting in the C&RÂs which address this) Believe me I would much rather be concentrating on what I enjoy opposed to having a dispute with my neighbor. This incident has opened our eyes to residing within a HOA community (of which we have for 20 years lived in various HOA communities and never had this neighbor issue)We were planning to move in about 1 year we are now looking for property with at least 10 acres and no HOA.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 7:01AM
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The guy sounds like he's one fry short of a happy meal. The area in question is on your property, right? On what grounds can he sue? I'd be concerned what he might do once the leaves are gone. Leaves might seem harmless, but blowing them into your yard every day is an aggressive act.

Discuss this with the HOA immediately.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 6:29AM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

send him a registered letter stating he is to cease and desist putting his rubbish on your property or you will call the cops. mail a copy of this letter to yourself, but do not open it. keep this copy for just in case you do end up in court, though that is unlikely. get video of his acts of pettiness. if he continues after your warning, then call the cops and have him arrested for improperly disposing of his yard waste on your property.

or take the high road and totally ignore him.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:37AM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

You now have a ready supply of compostable material. I try not to let any organic matter leave my property. I am trying to turn what is a negative into a positive. Not all people look at composting as a workable approach but for many it saves money, provides physical activity, and helps any plant, tree, veggie grow better.
Hope this give a perspective that may not be thought of already.
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 9:03AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

It seems neighborhoods with HOAs encourage the scorched earth policy, enforced tidiness being part of the appeal of living in one. While letting that awful messy garden rubbish (spent plant parts) accumulate to form a litter layer as in the woods definitely encourages the growth of adapted trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants there will be horticultural reasons for not leaving it around other kinds - anything with a pest or disease problem that overwinters in fallen leaves or petals, for instance, or small herbaceous plants native to or derived from those native to open places in nature where they do not have to cope with growing in a substantial mat of debris.

Likewise the significance of material accumulating in the stream depends on the specific circumstances. Here placing logs etc. across tamed streams to slow down flow and make them once again suitable for fish and other wildlife, reduce the siltation of ponds and other collection points has been promoted by state agents. But certainly nobody would want to do anything to cause destructive flooding of adjacent property, it seems good knowledge of what was involved would have to be employed.

Calling for straighting the stream out into a ditch is just a childish insistence on a personal aesthetic preference being catered to, as is blowing the leaves off his place daily. Lots of people in our culture see natural elements as dirty, have a preference for geometry etc. He wants the stream to conform to his idea of proper symmetry and since that part of it is on your place he wants you to conform to his ideas. If you weren't leaving soon you could think about asking the HOA to let you fence him out. Hard to blow leaves through a wood fence and it would at least partly block his view of the stream.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 2:01PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

If the creek is natural tributary regulatory laws almost certainly prohibit "straightening" it. I know they do here! I'd call the town hall planning department and find out what the zoning/laws ACTUALLY are. Then you can e-mail your neighbor and point out that what he wants is unrealistic/impossible. If things have really escalated,then it probably won't make any difference...but it never hurts to try.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:30AM
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I agree with hitexplanter. I would be getting those leaves, mulching them with my mower once I got them in my yard and using them as mulch or composting them. I compost everything I can, as I have to take my garbage to town to dispose of it. We recycle and compost a lot of it and the rest goes. He has to run out of leaves sometimes. Yes, it is annoying, but I have noticed from past problems with bad neighbors that the people who are supposed to make sure laws are being obeyed take their sweet time unless they are personally being attacked. (dont get me started on animal control and my last neighbors poor dog, I really hate the animal control people in my last town)
Take pictures and get him for harassment if you can. Keep any nasty e mails from him and dont send any nasty ones back that can be used against you. Maybe a mediation or something can be done. I hope you find a solution. I know how tough nasty neighbors can be. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 8:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Leaf blowers are a personal pet-peeve of mine....

My advice, document the behavior (if you haven't already).

And good luck!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 6:49PM
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Ignoring him is taking the high road but some people don't like to be ignored when they are trying to cause drama because they are looking for a reaction after all.

I say kill him with kindness. The leaves will not fall many more months and they will mulch down to nothing eventually.

You could show appreciation for all his hard work by starting a compost pile like someone said. Make sure there is a hefty amount of manure in it. oh wait it is on your property right? LOL forget the manure... Hopefully the jerk will not escalate to something else to get your attention.

Even if you take the high road I would still document everything and make sure he is not breaking any environmental laws. How sweet it would be if you could get someone to slap a hefty fine on him for his devilment. If he made any threats beyond calling this an official feud I would make an informational report to the police. You can walk into the station to do that rather than calling them to the house. If you do that insist on a report number so you have proof.

I personally would not give him the satisfaction of any verbal response.

Last resort take him to Judge Milean. LOL maybe she will embarrass him enough to stop. They were saying just today to call if you have a dispute with a neighbor.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 12:23AM
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At this point I'm not sure to whom I am responding, but I noted that the OP described a creek or creek bed. So depending on that situation or a hypothetical situation of leaves being blown into a dry creek bed lined with rock, or a creek runoff bed that needed to function for drainage, and perhaps large leaves that don't break down easily, and large amounts at a time, in amounts that exceeded the usual deposits from creek-owner's own trees, then there could be considerable maintenance nightmare/hassle created in which the homeowner would have to hand-clear the leaves at regular intervals. You wouldn't necessarily be able to leave them, mow them or compost them.

It is still a major choice, as to whether to just deal with the leaves quietly vs. go after the neighbor, because many times no matter how "right" you are, it is actually easier on you to not take the adversarial legal route; I'm just pointing out, as well as being interested in what is the actual situation, that large volumes of leaves, UNnaturally driven into the wrong place on one's property, can be destructive and not easy to deal with.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:18AM
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Do you have a county or city ode enforcement division? if so, report his you know what. And I would contact your insurance company. Why? He could be creating a flood hazard to your home and I'm sure your insurance company would love to see who was truly responsible for the eventual damage to your home. Insurance companies have a much larger stable of lawyers than an HOA.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 4:43PM
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sc_gardener(zone 5)

If he is only doing something to you and not other neighbors it IS considered harassment. I would get a videotape of him blowing the leaves or it will be a "he said - they said" scenario. And sounds like he is the type of person who will lie to save his skin.

And after I had the video, you may want to involve a lawyer but if you are moving in a year, don't even bother to pursue it.

And yes if you move into an unincorporated area make sure you have acreage between you and the neighbor. In our experience, unincorporated areas tend to attract "problems" so don't think you will escape them there. Just make sure you have a good fence put around the entire property and have a buffer zone.

Yes - hate leaf blowers so much - my BP goes up when I even hear one now.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:42AM
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No really, that's my response both as landscape and people advice.

Position the hedge so he can't see your not-perfectly-straight creek, and so you can't see him childishly stomping around with a leaf-blower. If it takes more than one hedge, so be it (although I'd install the one blocking your sight of him first.)

Seriously, hedges are great for disguising unsightly views, and I would certainly count your neighbor as one.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 7:55PM
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