Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking At The House Next Door, The Rules Aren't Made For Him

It's against the law to obstruct the sidewalk by parking across it but my nextdoor neighbor for the past two or three years thinks it's fine for him to do it. Everybody else parks on the grass between the sidewalk and the road. Not him! Even when we had strict watering restrictions during the recent drought he had his sprinklers going for hours every day.

He also thinks that it's OK for him to build without permits and build things that don't meet code. I'm on the city's Board of Adjustment and the city attorney says that I'm required tio report these transgressions. Things like building a too tall fence with no permit, raising roosters to awaken the neighborhood, hiring a well drilling company to put a well in his front yard with no permit (and the contractor beat the crap out of me when he saw me standing in the street photographing the scene!), putting in that circular drive with no permit, the list goes on. He even tried to get me to split the cost of cutting down a mature live oak tree, a protected species, on the property line.

His recently planted a ficus hedge along the chain link fence on the property line. I checked with the city. They said that first I should politely tell him that it'd be OK with me for him to go on my property to trim my side of his hedge. If he said "no" I'd be free to spray a defoliant (weed killer) on my side. This, of course, would kill the entire hedge. Last week I saw him outside trimming his side and told him that he could come in my yard to trim my side. He started cursing and screaming at me at the top of his lungs! He said it was my side and I should trim it. I told him how I planned on "trimming" it. He started coming towards me, holding the power trimmer. I retreated into my house.

I think his problem stems from the fact that he bought the house near the peak of "the real estate bubble", put a bunch of money into fixing up the house, stuck a For Sale sign out front, and the real estate market crashed. I doubt that he can sell the place without adding a hundred thousand dollars of his own money into paying off the mortgage and construction loans. The house won't bring anywhere near the money he's put into it, not in today's market. In the meantime he's paying fines and double permit fees to the city and lots of parking tickets to the county. The police chief says that he also has a neighbor like that. It's good to know that I'm not alone!

Any good news? Yup! It hasn't reached this neighborhood yet but all over South Florida something called "white fly" is infecting and killing off all the ficus trees and hedges. The infection gets under the bark. Spraying won't kill it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


As your neighbor suggested you trim the ficus hedge on your side, why not indulge in a bit of topiary?

There are many shapes you could use, but one of a raised middle finger facing your neighbor's house with the other fingers folded into the palm springs to mind!

8:59 AM  
Blogger Al Kaplan said...

What I am thinking of doing is putting a big "House For Sale ~ $13,500" sign in the front yard, and write SOLD in big red letters on it. Hey, it's true! The last time the house was sold (in 1967) that's what I paid for it...LOL

9:17 PM  

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