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Garden Mood Killers

Posted by enailes MD (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 8:19

I took the time to have my home professionally landscaped and the last think on my to-do list was to either install a screened-in porch or patio off the back of my home. I finally went with a blue fieldstone patio. I love it, I finally got the chance to sit out and enjoy my garden, the wildlife and the quiet.

Nothing lasts long, within a week or two of my patio installation, my next door neighbor, installed a 14' trampoline with cage, just on the other side of my 6' privacy fence. Of course the prime use times are early morning and late evening when I sit out.

I guess my interpretation on the use of out-door space is quite different from my neighbor's, but in the end, it is his interpretation that wins.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Garden Mood Killers

earplugs for now and maybe even a pair of roll up shades

there are worse things in life than kiddy laughter .
but you do have my empathy.


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The good thing is that, once the novelty wears off, trampolines are used less and less. Then you will be able to reclaim your enjoyment :)

On the down side, whilst they can be great fun, backyard trampolines are incredibly perilous magnets to all the neighbourhood kids. I'm a nurse and let me tell you - a net is not an effective safety device and, even with the best parental supervision, it's not a question of if an accident happens but when. Every day, emergency rooms see abrasions, knocked out teeth, torn ligaments, broken bones, head injuries and even deaths from these supposed toys. I don't know why people will refuse to have bunk beds or a swimming pool in their homes but will blithely buy this dangerous sports equipment to entertain their children and friends. Build 'em a fort or other play structure instead!

Sorry, rant over. Taking off my metaphorical white cap now...


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Thank you! I believe the "intent" for amusement coincided with my patio being built. I believe it was a response to my 6' privacy fence.

I didn't know that trampolines raise insurance rates more than a swimming pool in a back yard.

Yes, the magnet is working... Besides being ugly, unless you are a gymnist wanna be, I don't get them in a back yard.
I'm really hoping for a large wind swell that lifts it up and away.


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I had to LOL because we put up a large trampoline w/cage at Christmas and I can totally understand the feeling of privacy-loss. Ours faces the street (we're on a corner lot) so hopefully it didn't ruin anyone's garden mood.

Here's what I think ruins the mood: dogs that aggressively bark through the fence as you trim vines/pull weeds. Or the owners of said-dogs screaming profanities at their kids while I'm outside playing quietly/nicely with my own kids.


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If you have the space and inclination you might find that planting a small tree or a hedge infront of your fence will give you a bit more privacy and absorb a tiny amount of sound.

We're installing a canopy hedge today for a client whose neighbor built a second floor deck that looks directly into my clients bedroom.
A dense evergreen canopy of Italian buckthorn ( northern cal climate -Rhamnus alaternus ) is being installed as I type.
We bought some 'immediate gratification size ' along with a few smaller infills.


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Thank you. When the property was landscaped, they planted 5' hemlocks on the inside of my fence line on that side. I will be super-feeding and fertilizing those trees now.

No offense to those with trampolines, I just happen to live in a subdivision with half-acre lots; really what one neighbor does can adversely impact someone else. If I had more space, it wouldn't be an issue. They could have put the trampoline on the other side of their yard, as those neighbor's never come out, but I guess what would be the point, trampolines are to be seen and heard.

Yes, barking dogs, and hoops would round out my list too. My mistake was buying in a subdivision. Lesson has been learned.


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RE: Garden Mood Killers

  • Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 17:59

I think it's not a response to your fence but a response to it being summer and school being out of session. They'll stop being noisy in the mornings when they go back to school.

Perhaps you'd be happier in a townhouse with no yard neighbors? Or in a neighborhood where people can't afford toys for their kids?


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We all have this ideal dream environment in our minds and often work very hard to achieve it. It's a bummer when that doesn't actually pan out the way we had intended. I too can empathize but as D-D points out, there's a great deal of delight in kids' laughter. I have this drop-dead, spectacular beachfront setting, all manner of wildlife to enjoy and constant birdsong but any neighbors are remote and at times in winter, nonexistant. Hearing kids' voices and laughter coming up from the beach on summer weekends is a very welcome interruption in my at-home solitude :-)

Sometimes we just need to recognize the little blessings.


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One of my garden buddies has created a beautiful garden on a small lot in town. The house next door was for rent, and a family with 8, no kidding, kids moved in (there actually may be more, that was our best count so far). We were sitting in their garden, enjoying a glass of wine, when all of a sudden the kids bring out, not one, but two trampolines with NO sides. We were laughing at the time about how the situation of having 8 kids next to this peaceful tranquil garden just went from bad to worse. Ironically, both my friend and his wife work in jobs that are all about protecting kids, so this was truly a horror for them while it lasted. Imagine sitting in your garden watching these children jump from one to another, multiple children on the trampolines at one time, when you are a child advocate.

Luckily for my friend, the landlord told them no trampolines - so the horror only lasted for a few days.

Maybe your neighbors insurance company will put an end to it. You have my sympathy; i have the hilarious image in my head of you sitting in your peaceful garden with a neighbor child bouncing up and appearing over the fence. Hopefully it will get old for them quickly.


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Thank you to those who understand. :)

I'm going to write a new book called the "Secret Garden and the Trampoline Next Door."


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We have a trampoline too, but with one rule - it gets installed only when school is over in June, and dismantled in the fall. By that time, its popularity has declined quite a bit, and also declines with each year. The kids often use it as a "sofa" where they sit and socialize, and they are less noisy then. It also got quieter when other neighbors installed trampolines so the roaming bands of kids had many to choose from!
It sounds like talking to your neighbor is not an option, or could you try?


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RE: Garden Mood Killers

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 15:34

I get the buzz kill, but things could be much worse. You could be on 1/8 of an acre and your neighbor could build a 3-story addition that looks directly into your back patio. It's an odd feeling to exit your garage into your back garden, arms filled with groceries, and look up to see five adults in sunglasses staring at you from the top deck next door.


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timbu, I must admit, my neighor's and I had a falling out several years ago, we don't gel; right before I had the patio built, the neighbor told me that one of my tree branches was hanging over my fence into his backyard where he wanted to plant a rosebush. I of course told him I would take care of it and paid $400 to have the tree pruned (out of season). The next think I see is the Trampoline on the other side of the fence, but no rose bush.

catkim, LOL, I think you should give them something to talk about.

I was thinking of installing a clothes line and hanging super-sized undies on it. But I know that wouldn't be nice and is quite tacky. Welcome to the Burbs.


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  • Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 16:06

Maybe your neighbor wouldn't mind if you planted a tall extra prickly rose bush on your side. Something that could hang over the trampoline, giving him the rose he wanted.

Maybe the trampoline was located there out of spite, or maybe they just didn't have a better place for it. Just look forward to school starting. Or you could casually mention to the parents how it's nice that they aren't worried about stunting the growth of their children with the trampoline jumping (I knew people who actually believed that).


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I feel your pain. Try living next to someone who lets their three big dogs poop right next to the entrance of the yard. That's where their poop pen is. I'm putting up some arborvitaes to screen it.


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I've got one for you:

A new neighbor moved in next door after the house was foreclosed upon.

An appraiser stopped before hand, to "evaluate" its appropriateness for a religious facility. Huh?

I asked the new neighbor if he was putting in a church. He looked shocked and (lied to my face) said, "We might have some prayer meetings here. Nothing large, since we have a storefront facility in Crofton."

Next thing I know is that next door to me, without permits, with him as the architect, up went a three thousand square foot "attached garage". Complete with joists that were loaded with a crane, suitable for supporting a steeple. Plumbing, sprinkler system, his and her bathrooms, and THREE doors on the front. Oh, where the entrance is 6' higher than the driveway. Try driving into THAT.

I'm in a protected area, where National Capitol Parks and Planning cover our zoning. Our country, winding, 1.5 lane road cannot support the "prayer meeting traffic".

Now I have band and choir practices, traffic, screaming and yelling while people come and go from "the garage", Hallelujahs, Praise the Lords, along with the microphoned sermons from the sanctimonious, lying SOB who built 12' from my property line.

Yes, we've been thru all the procedures to get this stopped, but in my county? It's just ridiculous. As he preaches, "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."

I doubt they're going to get tired of it like a trampoline. But I live and breathe Karmic justice. And I have faith it'll come around.


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CE, I think you beat us. Wow! That is awful. I really feel for you.

I so prayed that I would have good neighbors when I bought this house. They're all great except for one. Even the family with the dogs I love. I can screen the poop pen.

After I moved in I decided to cut down a tree. It was a silver maple that was growing 2 feet away from my house. When it was inspected the guy told me I should take it down and plant something else. The people who lived here before me didn't take care of the yard at all. There were trees growning out of the gutter and the grass was always a foot high so I hear. Well, the neighbor who meets the back of my yard came over and begged me not to cut it down while the work was in progress. She told me I was taking away $30,000 from the property value. I told her I was going to plant more trees and landscape my yard but that didn't make her happy. She actually walked around the block and came over 3 times to try to convince me not to cut down the tree. At one point she was crying! OMG, I was so stressed out. The tree came down and I landscaped the yard. The other day she gave me some roses and told me my yard looked beautiful. :-)


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These are some serious downers here.

One afternoon after I had just completed erecting an arbour I prepared a soft spot then went out and bought a bottle of rose that I chilled along with the strawberries and cream. She was away and coming back this day I called her cell phone to say that I was waiting for her in in the garden. So there's me, Tommy Bahama shirt, chilled wine, chairs that lay back and she comes down in her gardening kit, thick gloves, silly hat and rubber boots so don't talk to me about "garden mood killers".


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Inkognito-she was ready to work, you were ready to play. Very funny.


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Lol, Inkognito, too funny.

Fori, Thank you, I love the idea of a climbing rose, that would work.

Susie, Yes, there's nothing quite like the smell of roasting dog poop in 90-100 degree termperature like we've been having in MD lately. Silver Maples are always on my hit list.

CEFreeman, I just want to weep after reading your story. You are so right about it being easier to ask "foregiveness than permission", that seems to be the wave of things now where I live too. Of course I complained to my HOA, but once someone does it, they pretty much leave it alone. The only action they take is if someone is delinquent on HOA payments. You are very wise, and I agree, down the road, it will come back to them and you may very well see it.


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enailes, I'm in MD.
Doesn't that say it all? PG County is so focused on destroying anything nature, that they could care less. If it might generate some tax revenue, they're for it. And we have R. Baker bringing casinos to the National Harbor. [sigh]

"Roasting dog poop." OMG! I'm so very sorry I know what that smells like. But it gave me a good belly laugh!

There's always something, isn't there?


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Yes, roasting dog poop. Isn't that grand! LOL Ah, at least I can laugh about it.


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Update:
I can hear power tools happening over there in the church. I mean garage. What DO I mean!? but oh, please no.


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CEFreeman, I live in Anne Arundel County, not much better. I specifically bought in this community because I was told the HOA would enforce all the covenants. After the builder left, and the community took over, they pretty much threw everything out and people are doing exactly as they please. A neighbor across the street had a port-a-potty in her backyard for a weekend party, keep in mind these are not large lots. I guess she'll be gearing up for the 4th. If I'm a guest and can't use indoor plumbing, not sure I would stay for the event.

Yes, if it isn't one thing it is another.


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OMG.
At least the church hypocrite put in plumbing for his congregation!

I'm somewhat of a Pollyanna.
1) I do believe in Kharma and have been blessed to see it in action.
2) He built a 250 ft fence along our property line, preempting county objections.
3) This lets me take my small, 25' courtesy fence down and use the weathered wood for my porch ceiling.
4) The privacy I have from people coming down the road is amazing. My yard is almost invisible.

If they were just a little quieter. Actually, if they'd at least been honest, I think I can live with the noise!


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 3, 12 at 21:33

Maybe they'll start asking to use your bathroom during the bigger meetings.

If somebody plugs the toilet during one of these times, think of it as being due to overflow traffic.


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Im not alone!!!lol I waited patiently while the neighbor's kids grew out of the yelling screaming bloody murder and fire fire constantly. Waited out the inflated water slide with the motor running to keep it inflated. I simply turned up my radio to the classic music station. Oh and the tendency for the boy to pee outside against the tree. This is what I expected some noise from time to time from different homes at different times. But then a few years ago the most inconsiderate people well next to the church but not a church folk moved onto the block. They have all night long parties outside. The music blaring day and night, a trampoline, a pool, and endless friends who come and go all day and not one of them seems to recognize how loud they are or if they do they don't care. There was an all day all night long party where the adults were drinking and woo whoing laughing and carrying on like jackles, then even though the kids had been screaming and crying all day the kids started a screaming contest this was when they finally said stop the neighbor's! I couldn't help it I spoke and said now you think about the neighbor's. Keeping in mind these lots are small the fact they fit all that in is crazy. The only time our block gets any peace is first thing in the morning before they wake up. Mentioned before I shouldn't have moved into a subdivision but around here I couldn't touch the price of a country home. It is such a shame that one house can supersede the rights of everyone else. They decide if I'm allowed any kind of enjoyment of my yard. I dream they will move far far away, also fantasize and wonder how hard it would be to make a stink bomb usually at 3 in the morning when their music and party is still going. (never would just wish they were better people) Thanks for letting me rant! helps really does to know there are others who feel the same.


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Frogged, Yes, it definitely helps to vent and know you aren't alone. These types of neighbor's cross all socio-economic lines and what I've noticed after time is that they are never the ones to move. I think the builders who started subdivisions on these small plots of land should all be rounded up and forced to live in one. Knowing what I know now, I would rather have an old house with acreage than a new home with a small lot. Lately, it's been in the 100's here, so nothing is moving outdoors now. A heatwave really does the trick...:D


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I've been reading these 'mood killer' stories and they have my complete empathy.
But I think I should win the grand prize - a new house far out in the country.

For the past 12 years I have been amicably trying to solve a major garbage problem with my commercial property owning neighbors and the City of Novato CA.

Today was the last straw and I am going public -

some torrid background : I live in down town Novato in a cute little neighborhood that borders the commercial district of charming bistros, banks, hair dressing salons .... ect...
Behind my house is an alley that services the charming bistros, hair salon and carpet store. They have two giant dumpsters that they choose to place up against my fence, as far away from their building as possible.

Unfortunately these shop owners don't know how to lift a lid and put garbage IN the dumpster. There is garbage all over the ground and because it is in front and center view of the down town street other people come and drop off and scavenge threw the garbage 24/7.
These lovely dumpsters are 15 feet from my bedroom .

I have a binder that is 7 inches thick of complaints that basically have been ignored.

Today was the breaking point. I sent yet another code compliance fax to the city of Novato and they said " You need to complain to the Fire Department, we don't handle garbage that is flammable"
So I contacted the fire dept and they said, " this garbage doesn't look flammable to us - case closed.

There are oil soaked cardboard boxes and wooden pallets piling up against my fence. California Fire code says this is a fire code violation.
I have a letter from a fire inspector from 2002 that says that wood paletts are combustible and should not be piled up against the fence, so why are these same exact conditions different in 2012 ? - curious.

But that is just the tip of it, the big problems is RATS and a decomposing stench that is so bad I can not work in my garden.
There are RATS everwhere .
Rats feeding off of the open garbage 15 feet from my house.
Rats climbing down the toilet and heater vents into the house. Rats climbing into the clothes dryer vents. Rats in the attic, Rats in the crawl space, Rats in the BBQ, Rats in the greenhouse
Rats that have EATEN threw base boards in the kitchen and had to be replaced twice. And Rat Abatement bills that could put a young child threw college for a year. I think my entire house must be wrapped in 1/4 inch wire by now.

It is the grossest thing that anybody could possibly live with and the City of Novato won't do a damn thing to curtail the accumulation of garbage or site a violation to the commercial property owners.

Here is a link that might be useful: garbage


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d-d, this may be a situation where calling in the state will get you somewhere. Where does the stormwater go from the alley way? The SWRCB may be interested in run off from oil soaked cardboard. Additionally, if the odor is that bad, the regional air resources board can be called. A few of those regional divisions can be real sticklers for the rules.


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Thanks tanowicki,
I appreciate the info. - Yes the storm water from alley goes into the public street - there is often a 'slime' on the street side from the grease drums that they have piled up directly against my neighbors fence.
10 years ago an ethnic meat cutter moved into one of the buildings for a couple of months . He was 'brewing' some kind of exotic meat concoction out in the parking lot in plastic garbage cans .
Brown and red blood ran down the alley and the smell was awful.
My local Novato CA city health department didn't do a darn thing but someone ( I wish I was the smart one who thought about this ) called the USDA and they shut the business down.


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Wow. Just wow. You poor thing...

Would there be any local ombudsman and/or public media outlet that you could enlist who would be willing to "name and shame"
the City of Novato for failing to enforce their own health & safety ordinances?


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And I thought it was bad when my son put his baseball cleats on the porch. So sorry.

Since you probably haven't done landscaping for the mob, who could 'talk' to the garbage company for you, my other thought would be to print signs to hang in the neighborhood targeting the businesses that are 'disrespecting' the neighborhood that supports them. Before I hung them, I would go chat with the businesses to see if they would like to address the situation before I hung them up.

ugh, so sorry you are dealing with this.


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errr ummm, I have done work for the..... hummmmm...... and they own the competing garbage company.
You giveth me an idea.

I'm off to S.E Asia soon, will follow up with you guys later.

Enjoy your gardens and for those who can smell the roses without the stench of rotting garbage, go for it !


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  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 22:02

D-D, I live in a very dense beach community, and that alley space is YOUR parking! Start parking your car there. Post "No Parking or your Car (or dumpster!) Will Be Towed" signs. Check ordinances first, but I think if it's in your alley behind your house, you may have some rights.

Bali? Have a great time!


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I wish it was part of my property but it is not. - thanks for the thought though !
Not Bali this time around, Singapore and Borneo.


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Michelle -
If these little bistros and banks and salons have Facebook pages, post pictures to their page in a public naming and shaming. Heck, make a page for the alley.

Especially if you can get a shot of the rats. Nothing says elegant bistro like a rat-infested alley.


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Deviant-Deziner, That is awful! I agree about putting signs on the dumpsters! What about flyers around town showing the dumpsters and what good neighbor's these businesses are, definitely to include pics of rats. The legal route never seems to be the way to go for reasonable people! I'd almost have to torch it myself, Novato should be shamed for this!
If it is any consolation, you do win...


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DD, truly an awful situation. I thank the Lord for the quality of the work done by the Code Enforcement Officers in my town. And for the Planning Department that establishes the code. Hope you report that this is resolved to your satisfaction SOON!

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA


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I'm taking it to the state level.
Just filled out the paper work/ application form for the State Fire marshall to review and now working on state health dept. paperwork

I have a 20 hour flight to Singapore and had thought about doing a letter and photo campaign , but the 7 inch thick file that I have is so dense it would be considered as major pc. of carry on luggage, so I will just wait for that phase for when I get home.

.... photos of rats - no problem on that, as disgusting as it was to take that photo. I won't bother to post it but it is on the Picasa photo page that I am uploading the past 12 years of documents and images to as an onlline source.

Between my fairly well connected and affluent client base and networking with other resources at my disposal I am hoping to get this situation resolved.

It's been way too long and way too stinky , not to mention the fire hazard that all that oil soaked cardboard and wood pallets that are piled up against my wood fence, ... which by the way, Novato fire chief Bill Tyler does not find to be in violation of the CFC - which boldly stipulates that "waste accumulation is prohibited.

I'm not ready to plaster photos all over the neighborhood. I want to go about this as legally as systematically as possible in the advent that I hire an attorney and want to present the most compelling and level headed case.
Personally I think the past 12 years worth of photos and pathetic lack of documented response from the Novato City offices is pretty compelling and damaging evidence.


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12 years trying to legally fix this problem? You must be a saint.


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no saint, just cheap.
$ 5000.00 minimum deposit for attorney plus the actual fees - estimated to 15 to $ 20,000.00 ( that estimate was 7 years ago )
Each time I have saved up just enough dough, a trip to someplace wonderful comes along or major house repairs are needed ( like replacing floor boards + interior structual woodwork the rats have chewed threw and rat proofing every single vent and..... ... ) .
So I've been filing code compliance forms about 3 + times a month and getting the same pathetic non actionable response . I have a very impressive case *when* I get to court.... which seems very close on the horizon.


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I was reading this thinking how lucky we are to have neighbours on both sides that are quiet and respectful and then had the horrible realization that maybe WE are the problem neighbours. Neither of them have kids, but we have two. Last night I had to haul my 8 yr old into the house at 1030 when she started laughing so loud, I was sure it would wake the dead. No trampoline though.

I do sympathize with the OP. We have a cottage that we used to go to to get away from the city, but recently it seems that a small group of cottagers have decided that the best way to get away from the city is to bring it with you in the form of very small but very loud dirt bikes. Many of the neighbouring cottage areas have banned them, which means our area is, of course, abuzz with them.


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deviant-deziner, I really can't believe the fire commisioner allows that to continue. If, heaven forbid, there ever was a blaze, I would think you'd have good cause to sue the fire dept. for allowing that to continue.

Last summer, we had a spate of arson activity in back lanes and garages in our neighbourhood. Very scary, but they cracked down like crazy on anyone that let waste collect.

I doubt that this is an option for you, but we have the same backlane situation and when we built our back fence we set it into the yard the width of a car and we park there. If anyone were to set a dumpster there (which they haven't thank gawd) they'd be blocking access to our yard which here would definitely not be allowed. However, if they allow that gross mess to accumulate against your fence, your city may not care about the blocking access thing either. I agree, you are a saint. I'm sure I would have resorted to the mob tactic long ago if it were me.


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  • Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 13, 12 at 22:38

DD, if you haven't already, do see if your local vector control agency has any teeth.


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I would contact all city/county/state health depts. If at all financially feasible I would try to sue all the businesses together for all the repairs done on my house, showing all the things you have tried to do to get problem fixed, and for pain/suffering or whatever phrase they legally use. Good luck.


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  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 26, 12 at 14:41

To OP enailes ~~

~~drown out the sounds with portable fountains that gurgle & bubble over. We live at a year round camp & conference center so kid noise is constant.

We have 3 small ones purchased at end of season sales or yard sales. Our total cost for the 3 was less than $100 including replacement parts. One is a large basin with 3 spouting frogs (set on a table), another a 3 tier with light on top that appears like flickering flames especially at night (set upon concrete blocks with potted plants around, and the other is a large jar pondless fountain that we dug out part of the wood chip path and inserted the base. It's easy enough to drain the water from them & move into dry storage over winter.

Plus the fountains attract even more birds and their songs help drown out other sounds.


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