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Author Topic: Street Safety & Property Boundaries  (Read 4146 times)

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Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« on: July 15, 2013, 10:06:19 AM »
Hi folks,

I have two questions for you today about neighborhood issues. I know that there is a potential legal aspect, but I hope we can keep the discussion on the etiquette issues only. :)

Issue 1: My next door neighbors. DH and I feel that there is a fairly obvious line between our two properties. Their fence is on the line in the backyard, and it's easy to visually follow the line and see where the line is in the front yard. In the front yard, their side of the line is very small, a strip of maybe 2-3 feet. My issue is that the neighbors NEVER mow or trim or tend this strip. DH wouldn't normally have a problem just mowing it, but it's a steep incline, and with our riding lawnmower it would really be more trouble than it's worth.

Right now the grass/weeds there are about 2.5 feet high! There's a very obvious line where our grass is cut and their strip is just completely overgrown.

It's just an irritant. They mow the rest of their yard. We mow our yard. But there's this ugly little overgrown strip right there. DH and I worry that they are somehow blind to the fact that it's their yard and think that it's our responsibility. Is there a polite way to say, "Hey, I'm not sure if you realized, but that's actually your yard there."? Or is this something better let go?

For the record, we are friendly (we wave when we see each other) but virtual strangers; we've only had maybe 2 conversations in the 3 years they've lived there.

Second Issue:

To get out of our neighborhood, we go three blocks north, where our street intersects Big Main Road. As you approach the intersection, there is one last house and then a tiny office. So this house is just south of the intersection.

The people in this house seem to think that the road is an extension of their yard. They actively refuse to yield to cars until they're good and ready. So if they're playing basketball in the street and a car approaches, they wait until the person with the ball has shot to move. If they're standing around in the street and a car approaches, they'll finish their conversation and then scoot so there's juuuuust enough room for a car to get by. There are also lots of children around who do this stuff. As a person, I'm genuinely worried that someone will get hurt. As a driver, I'm terrified that one of these ill-trained kids are going to step out in front of my car while it's moving.

It is my intention to call the police and discuss this with them. My etiquette question is whether I owe it to the family to talk to them first, before calling the police. I've never met the family and don't live near enough to them to have ever interacted with them aside from this street issue.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2013, 10:13:17 AM »
In the first scenario, annoying as it may be, Id let it go. Eventually the town, city, HOA, or someone may notice its overgrown, and either contact you or the neighbors, or both. You can then say, well, its not on our property, but theirs. If it were easy to mow, Id say let your DH just do it, but since it sounds like its not, Id let it go  Even though it would irk me as well.

In the second one, you dont owe anything to the neighbors blocking the street. They are creating a hazard, and Id simply call the police, and let them handle it. You dont know how the owners will react; this may be an assumption on my part, but if they are unwilling to let cars by until they are done with whatever, they may not be receptive to someone asking/telling them about it. Id simply call the police, explain the situation and your concerns, and let them handle it. I suspect if they come out and say weve had people who are concerned about this and that, it might carry more weight than if you did.


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2013, 10:16:49 AM »
if it's so bad, and it's in the front, I'd think they'd be mowing it if it was theirs. Of course, it's on a steep incline for THEM as well, so they probably don't want to do it very often, but it surprises me a lot to think that they'd let it get that bad.

I wonder if they think (or know) that it's yours and are wishing that *you* would cut it.

So you need some facts--like, is that really their yard? That means you need to find the surveyor's marks or get a survey yourself.

If it is, then you say, "We wanted to ask you to please mow that section of your yard that's on the incline. We'd do it, but with the riding mower we're afraid we'd tip over. I think it would be less dangerous with your push mower. And it looks bad for both of us."

If you don't want to pay for the surveyor, you say, "Hey, is this strip yours? We always thought it was, but you never mow it, either. Whose is it?" Then you proceed to the first.

If it's not their lawn, then you'll have to mow it. 

In the second situation, no, you don't owe it to them to tell them that you're siccing the police on them. If they have half a brain at all, they know they're rude at the least and endangered as well.

If they were people you knew, I would say that you sort of owe it to them (plus it might be more effective) to say, "I've noticed you and your family and friends don't move out of the road promptly, which is really frustrating for me as a driver, and I would imagine other people as well. And I'm scared for your kids, to be honest." And THEN call. But in this case, feel free to call.


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 10:20:17 AM »
I say ignore the grass, especially because it would be hard for you to mow. If it really bothers you consider extending the fence from the backyard, add a hedge or put a strip of flowers along the property line.
For the second, say nothing to them and call the police non emergency number.


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2013, 10:22:59 AM »
I would plant something, or put up a small decorative fence.  But first I think you should just talk to them, and let them know you believe that section of the grass belongs to them, in case they were waiting for you to mow it.  Besides that, you can't mow it because you don't have the right kind of lawn mower slopes.

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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 11:01:24 AM »
For the grass strip, I would have the conversation with them.  They may think that since you have a riding mower, it isn't a big deal for you guys to just add on that strip.  Once you explain that there is a real possibility of the mower tipping over, they might be more inclined to mow it themselves.  And it will also clear any doubt about the ownership of said 'grass' strip.  If they then refuse to mow it, look into your local by-laws and see what they say.  If it is really annoying you, a call to by-law enforcement is in order.  If it isn't really bothering you, I'd just ignore it.

For the kids playing in the street?  I'd definitely call the police non-emergency number and let them handle it.  It would have much more impact coming from the police than coming from you, anyway.  And since these aren't your direct neighbours, it doesn't impact your neighbourly relations.  It would also be hard for them to connect the call to anyone specific since they are annoying everyone that comes in or out of the neighbourhood.  If that's a concern for you, make the call anytime, rather than after a specific incident.
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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2013, 12:06:10 PM »
For the first one, I would talk to the neighbors.  They may think it is yours.  I just got through a hedge dispute with my next door neighbor and if he would have taken the time to talk to me instead of going to the borough, he would have found out they are mine and that is why I cut them. 

For the second one, call the non emergency line of the police.  These people aren't clueless about a property line, they are rude SS's who think they own the road.  And if one of their kids gets hit, or worse, they will be screaming bloody murder about their little SS just playing in the road when the mean old car dared come down the road and hit their pwecious - about 3 months ago, a little boy here in my town, at dusk, was riding his skateboard on his stomach down the middle of his street that has a bend in it.  Tragically a woman hit and killed him, but she didn't see him until it was too late.  She wasn't speeding or impaired, cops said it was the kids fault, but the parents wanted blood! 


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2013, 12:42:15 PM »
For the first issue (and this is totally just something that my DH would do, certainly not the best option in every circumstance) is to go over one day, and say something along the lines of "Hey Neighbor...blah blah blah...I was wondering if I could cut that strip of grass for you? I only have a riding mower, so I can't do it on that, but if I can use your mower I'll take care of it for you!" This would only work because my DH wouldn't mind taking care of it a few times in the Summer. But the phrasing "for you" lets them know that it is indeed a favor, and it gives them an opening to possibly say "Oh! We thought that was your property!! Woops!"

For the second problem, I would go right to the authorities. In my experience, people who act like the street is theirs to begin with are not going to take kindly to you informing them that it isn't. :D


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2013, 02:41:58 PM »
For the unkempt strip of grass:  I wouldn't say anything, and I wouldn't mow it for them.

For the people playing in the street: I'd call the local police administrative/non-emergency line and ask that they have someone do an extra patrol through that area during whatever times you frequently see these people outside.  That way, the police can deal with that problem as they deem appropriate.


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2013, 03:03:36 PM »
So they've been living there for three years and never mowed it? So has it just remained overgrown and unkempt for the past three years? Or does your husband occasionally get fed up and just take care of it?

In my neighborhood, I'd probably just report it to the homeowners association and let them handle it. That way you don't have to get into any kind of conflict if they refuse to acknowledge ownership. Probably they just don't know it's theirs, especially if they've never mowed it in three years.

As far as the second problem, I agree with calling the police non-emergency number.


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2013, 03:07:36 PM »
For the first problem, I'd contact the city to make sure it is their land.  The plat should be able to tell you. 
If it is theirs, I'd call code enforcement without talking to them first. 


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Re: Street Safety & Property Boundaries
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2013, 03:20:55 PM »
I'd just talk to my neighbors about the unmowed strip.

The other accidents-waiting-to-happen -- I'd be calling the non-emergency police number every time I dealt with those fools.