Friday, September 19, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Bad Fences, Not So Much.

After I sent a letter to my neighbor asking her to call me if she thought I had her mail, instead of illegally rifling through my mailbox, I got a letter from the village yesterday. It said they had received a complaint about my fence falling down, which is a violation of some municipal code. I was commanded to fix the problem and told they would be by to make sure I complied.

I went out into my backyard. All the fences looked like they were standing. Even the oldest one that borders the mailbox lady's property. At least from what I could see. What were they talking about? So I walked that fence from the front of the yard to the back.

Way in the back corner there is a clump of trees and bushes. I walked along the fence until the bushes got so thick I couldn't go any farther. When I bent over and peered through the underbrush, I could see part of the fence lying on its side, completely hidden by all the foliage.

So I stopped by my neighbor's house last night to apologize for not knowing there was any part of my fence down. I said it was hidden by my bushes and I couldn't see it unless I walked all the way back, stooped over and looked for it.

I wondered out loud why she didn't just call me if she thought there was a problem. Ever since the mailbox episode she has had my phone number. Why did she have to call the village and complain [as if I didn't know payback when I smelled it.]

"The village wrote me a letter saying someone had complained."

"Well, we didn't know whose fence it was, yours or ours."

"You could have asked me."

"Well, uh. I never see you."

"You have my phone number."

'Yes, I do."

Yeah. Fark you too.

My turn to pull her chain. "Again, I apologize for not knowing the fence was down. I'll see if I can get the guys that mow my lawn to take out the broken section tomorrow.  [So it's no longer an eyesore for anybody who's sitting under the bushes in the back of the yard.]

"I can even get a price to take out the whole fence and put up a new one. In fact, maybe I'll just take the whole thing down so there's no fence." [A look of no no don't do that crossed her face.]

"You don't have to do that. The rest of the fence is just fine."

"We'll see. By the way, if I take out the old fence, you should know that it's over a foot off the property line into my yard. That's because I wasn't here when it was installed and they erred on the side of safety. So this time I will make sure the new one is back on the property line, which means you will lose some of your yard.  [And you can kiss those tomatoes goodbye.]

"Oh, really, there's no reason to replace it."

I am really in a mood to take the whole thing down so she has NO fence on that side of her yard. The cedar would make great firewood, since it hasn't been treated. Then she'll have to put up her own fence.

Also the village could have said there was a concern and remind me of the ordinance, instead of calling it a complaint and ordering me to do something or else. Unless my neighbor really did complain. I have put in a call to the regulatory bureaucrat who sent me the letter so I can find out.

On Monday I meet with the village to find out whether the new construction behind me has the required sewers dug into the back of the property for water runoff. Considering all the yards on my side of the block that flooded last weekend, I don't think so.

I can't wait to tete a tete with that neighbor.


mosie1944 said...

You are making me so happy I live in the country, even with the Hatfields and McCoys living on either side of me.

emmapeeldallas said...

Oh, I hate those damned muni code violation warnings.  When my house burned and the crooked contractor made off with my insurance money and I went after him, suddenly I received a bunch of code violation notices from the city, all addressed to "Jan H".  Uh-huh.  The contractor could never get my name right and always called me Jan.  What a coincidence!  The one that irritated me the most was a cite for not having proper window caulk. At that point, I could stand in my kitchen and look straight into the attic because all the sheetrock on the ceiling was gone, but the city was worried about my "inadequate window caulk" and threatened to fine me unless I recaulked.  I recaulked but I haven't forgotten the sheer stupidity of the whole thing.


screaminremo303 said...

That's funny. I don't have those problems with my neighbors. I guess it has something to do with having the most firearms in the neighborhood.

gaboatman said...

I really like the option where you take down the fence that borders the neighbor's property.  Let her pay to replace it and make darn sure that whatever she puts up is on her own side of the REAL property line.  I'm not suggesting being mean here, but people need to think about the consequences their actions may have.

suzypwr said...

You have some good options available. If they have a dog, you don't want to rip it all down. Just do what works best for YOU. This probably includes pictures for the village people. (pun intended)