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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 08:55 AM
Original message
When would you call the police on your neighbor?
Why am I so lucky? I have a reputation, albeit an outdated one, for being a community activist, which in this city is interpreted as a dissenter, troublemaker and suspect liberal or Democrat. Mostly, I now try to keep to myself, but no, that only magnifies the curse.

Here are the short notes: Good ole boy building next door. For reasons that I won't get into, our lives will be criss-crossing for at least the next few years, so ignoring him, like I ignore the other neighbor is going to be hard to do. At first we were off to a bad start because he tried to break a code, but once I protested, he seems to be abiding by the rules.

Now the problem: His construction guys didn't call ahead to the service that would locate cables. When they went to rip out trees that were along the border of our property, they took my sod and my phone cable with them. Phone company fixed the problem, but nicked another cable when they dug down. I'm in the process of getting that one fixed too.

Here's the dilemma: One of the cables runs between the property boundaries, so this could happen again. The construction company doesn't know the line is there because they never followed the proper procedure to get the cables located in the first place. The only way to call in the service as a secondary party, like me, is to first call the police and turn the construction company in.

It seems like a simple problem to have, but I'm afraid if I'm too quick to call, I'll only expand on a reputation which may cause a retaliation that could spread to family members.

In sum, I think this is a problem I should live with for now for the sake of "getting along." Obviously, if it happens again, there's no question that I will call. I have everything photographed and documented so there will be no additional effort on my part. I'm just wondering if I'm being too much of a milquetoast. How much would you put up with if a right-wing, new neighbor came along and tore up your property and pulled your phone cable?
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Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:00 AM
Original message
As long as they fixed it promptly I wouldn't bother.
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Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
1. As long as they fixed it promptly I wouldn't bother.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
2. They could hit a GAS MAIN. call Dig Safe or Miss Utility or whatever
and have them mark YOUR lines. Say something to the guy when he comes out to spray out the markers.

I'd call for something like that--and I'd call if someone was getting beaten up, threatened, or if someone was breaking into someone's house.

Sometimes ya gotta do whatcha gotta do...
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Wheezy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. ah, yeah
that's an excellent idea, better than mine below.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
13. I don't think we have gas mains?
Just electricity. I can't imagine what else runs between our properties. The only other concern is that he has lowered the elevation by 6-8 inches.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. I used to live in an all electric house, but we had mains in the hood
The original builder/owner just didn't like the idea of gas, so he never put it in. I wasn't planning on being there long enough to switch over...
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Wheezy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. I don't
think it matters that he's right-wing in this situation. Just my opinion.
When we added on to our house, it was my responsibility to contact MISSDIG, to get the cables marked.
Have you talked to the guy about it since all this happened? If you have, and he refuses to do the right thing, then perhaps call the construction company's manager/owner first before taking any legal action. If that person refuses to deal with it, you've got some rights, I imagine, to do something about it legally.

Document everything--dates/times of calls, who you spoke to, what was said, etc.



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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. My hubby made a good observation.
The Demolition Derby guys are gone. They did their job and won't be coming back. Now the construction crew comes in. A whole new set of people.

The phone guy left the cables up on the ground so they can't miss it the next time and they have to be stupid not to see what they've done. But the people who will relandscape are the next crew and my hubby wants to see if they'll do it on their own. So, I have to wait before I unleash the hounds.
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
4. now you went and did it....
got me started on my own knuckle-dragger freaking neighbor... grrrrrrrrr...

I won't go into the whole long story 'nuff said that he's a freaking knuckle-dragger

so when would I call the cops on him? How about last summer when the freaking knuckle-dragger was in his back yard (less than 200 feet from our yard) and he's having a party for one of his kids. he's standing in the middle of a about 10 kids, plus assorted adults and shooting a freaking gun straight up in the air. You're damn right I called the cops

fat lot of good it did, cops told him to put the gun away and left

would I do it again? You bet
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. You had good cause.
Because I'm compromising with the hubby, I have to give this new neighbor one chance to fix it on his own. He said as long as it doesn't cost us any money to fix the cut cables, we will try to be good neighbors. But if we have to spend one penny, I have everything photographed and documented.
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madame defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
6. Check your city/state laws...
In my state (IL), it's against the law to dig along easement/property borders (or anywhere on the property, for that matter) if you haven't called JULIE (http://www.illinois1call.com /) - a Call before you dig law.

Personally, I wouldn't put up with any damage done to my property by any neighbor -- regardless of their politics, religion, etc. I'd probably try to work it out with the neighbor first, but I'd certainly pose the question to the neighbor, "So what would you do if it was YOUR property that was damaged???"

(Guess none of you will want to live next door to me...)
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #6
20. It's against the law in Florida too.
But this is a well-connected good ole boy, so I need to pick my battles carefully. I don't want to appear like a screaming meme from the get-go.
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MissWaverly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
7. sloppy construction work will haunt you
Have you considered that your horrible neighbor may be just as much their victim as you are.
Why should they care, they are out of there when they are done, call, call and call again.
Your neighbor won't care he is not the contractor.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. I think this is very true. Something I'll consider in the next few days.
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
8. Here's what I'd do....
Edited on Sat Apr-29-06 09:09 AM by KzooDem
First, make the attempt to be a good neighbor. Go over, explain to your neighbor what happened, assure him you understand it wasn't his fault, but the fault of the company he hired, and that you're not upset with him.

Explain to him what you explained to us here. Tell him you were advised to call the police to register a complaint in order for the construction company to do the proper survey for utility & cable lines.

Tell him you didn't want to just call the police without consulting him. Ask him if he could alert his construction comapny to the problem, ask him to ask them to do the proper survey so your lawn and phone cables won't be compromised again.

This does three things...it puts the power/choice in his hands, it keeps his construction company from getting in legal trouble (and that would get back to your neighbor, which wouldn't help neighborly relations), and it alleviates his perception of you as a fly in the ointment.

If he refuses, than I'd go ahead and call the men in blue.

Good luck.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. I'm out in my garden almost every day, so I hope I'll bump into the
guy when he comes to inspect. Of course, if he doesn't show up for a month, I'll take that as a sign that he knows what happened.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
9. First, your neighbor isn't the problem
but that construction company is. Blow the whistle on THEM. Call the utility companies and let them know what's going on. They will come out and VERY CLEARLY mark where all lines and cables are. Then, if the construction company interrupts your service again, call a lawyer. It's lawsuit time. If you don't do it, then the next time they slice through something it might be a gas line, and we all know what that means. You'll be saving some other homeowner out there a huge problem.

Second, keep the lines of communication open. Even though your neighbor may be the dumbest and most worthless human being on the face of the earth, let him know what's going on, blame his construction company (not him) and don't make threats. Just tell him that you've had to call the utility companies about it. Those hamfisted idiots are breaking the law by not getting all those lines marked beforehand (the utilities come out with dayglo orange spray paint to do it). The law's on your side, use it. Just don't start a war with a neighbor to do it. He's not the problem. Yet.

I've only blown the whistle on a couple of neighbors. One was for violence, called the cops when a screaming fight came to blows. The other was for the most annoying dog I've ever heard in my life, a little pom that didn't bark, it shrieked, was left alone and bored all day, and I worked 12 hour night shifts in critical care and needed my sleep. That one was to a landlord, not the flicks.

I generally have a good relationship with neighbors wherever I am, and neighbors with their eyes peeled have saved my butt. I would do all I could in your case to maintain a good relationship with your neighbor. You don't have to like him. You are going to live with him (sort of) and you'll want to keep things as civil as possible.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #9
23. All good advice.
Probably the best thing going for me is that I have the law on my side.
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Kierkegaard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
10. Paraphrasing Buford T. Justice:
"Id barbeque his ass in molasses."

I'm assuming that you didn't get a word of acknowledgment from this guy, much less an apology, for him having screwed up your cabling? If that were the case, I would certainly tell the guy 'Hey, before you do any more digging, have your guys take the proper precautions so they don't cut my services again.' If they proceed to do more work without going through the proper channels, I'd call the cops.

Life's too short to put up with rude assholes. Let someone else deal with it.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #10
24. I'm not sure he knows yet, but the way the phone company marked
the cable with flags and left the cable out in the open, I think it's pretty obvious to anyone that something went askew.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
11. Approach it as a common courtesy - towards him...
Drop the point of knowing that his guys didn't take the time to follow proper procedure to avoid pulling your cable in the first place. Approach him and tell him that this "accident happened" and to avoid problems that might delay his building project, you thought it would be helpful to point out where the current cables are laid - that way additional contractors won't nic yours or his, requiring additional folks to come out and due repairs (keep referring that it could happen to you OR to him) potentially slowing down the project.

I think there is a way of doing this that avoids more of the same problems, and that he wouldn't perceive as hostile (albeit if he perceived it as hostile it would be due to self-defensiveness, as folks like this often always avoid taking reponsibility, and will turn such confrontations of responsibility into some kind of "attack".) Heck, he might even appreciate the tip - as it could save money/time etc.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
25. The demolition crew is gone.
Edited on Sat Apr-29-06 10:04 AM by The Backlash Cometh
They're only allowed to start construction at daybreak. I was there five minutes before the sun was breaking through and photographed everything, including the bobcat that was parked next to the ripped cable. I just got inside the house when I heard rumbling. I went back out and saw that the bobcat was gone. I think they know, that I know.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. heh
When I moved to my new house, I found that on the back corner of the lot (an alley intersection) folks kept dumping things. I would get a warning from the city to clear it. After paying some big bucks for hauling - several times - I finally got the city to give me "no dumping signs - fines up to 2,500" to post... then for a week or two I went out with my camera every morning and evening to take pictures - and made sure folks saw I was doing it.

Two times since then things have been dumped (one time a 12 pack of expended beers), and later a grocery cart. The first time I came out - looked around - and the next morning the cans and box were gone. The second time, the cart stayed for a day - then when I thought I would have to hike it back to the store - I came home, and it was gone.

The photos may or may not help. Being seen taking the photos.... that makes the point.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
12. Been there. Sort of.
Edited on Sat Apr-29-06 09:17 AM by Gregorian
And I have to say it somewhat depends upon where you live. If you're in city limits our out of them.
I had a neighbor who found a place to build an illegal house, that peered right down on my private place. I made the mistake of waiting and waiting, like a good neighbor. Then finally when I realized this was a permanent house that really impacted my private property, I called the county, with great resistance. But by then, it was so far gone, the county didn't really want to get involved. This was outside of city limits. And I think that had a lot to do with it.

Also, outside of city limits, in the country, I have found that people tend to move there, or maybe it's after they move there, some of them feel they can do just whatever the hell they want. Dogs that run free, shooting guns, dumping garbage, no mufflers at 3am. You name it. And I've found that in these areas, it almost doesn't matter what you do. These are "republican" areas. Freedom. You know. In other words, get lost I'm doing whatever the hell I want, and just try and stop me.

My advice is to do whatever it takes to make your life better. After two calls to animal control, my neighbor's dog finally appears to have been taken off the front porch where it barks all day and night, and put in the backyard where it isn't a bother. But as an example of idiots in the country, animal control came out on their own to check this guy's yapping dog because they were just passing by and saw that it was being a nuisance, and who should show up on my property but this jerk and his friend the sheriff. That was illegal. I should have called the DA and had the sheriff slapped. I mean, if my dog was bothering someone, the last thing I'd do is cause friction. I'd try to accommodate the neighborhood. But then I'm not republican and if I had a dog it wouldn't bark.

Well, that was a hairbrained attempt to answer your question and tell a little piece of what I've noticed.

Do what you have to do in order to make your life better. People who care about each other don't need to be told how to behave. And if you don't do anything, only you will suffer.

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #12
26. I know what you're saying. I've already come forth and protested
when the original plans broke the rules. The guy reluctantly yielded to me. I won that one. I just want to be picky about the battles I fight. Right now I feel like I'm laying the groundwork to show that I did have some tolerance, but that if he does one more thing out of place, that I had to release the hounds as any reasonable person would have.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
14. hang in there
here is my story.

A new neighbor moved in across the street. I'm white, and she is white. There are two other white families on the block. Most of the block is hispanic and black. There are also two arabs families.
My new neighbor has trouble walking. Her house does not have a driveway.
Anyway, we live in a city, and people have to park in the street. Some people have driveways, but most of the parking is on the street. I park in the street.
A couple of months later, this lady's husband moved in with her. He had just been released from prison. He is a big black guy.

One day, we were hanging out at my house, and her convict husband parks his pick up truck on our front yard!. It turned out that he was pissed that I had parked in front of his house. He was "saving" that spot for his wife that has trouble walking.

When my room mate confronted him, he told my roomie that he was pissed "that I (mdmc) had parked in front of his house." My roommate told him that if he had a problem with where I (mdmc) had parked, that he should have come over and talked about it with us and that he he should not park on our front lawn.

My convict neighbor became enraged! He started shouting at my roomie. The only thing that I was able to make out was, "That is how white people solve problems! This is the black man way." He moved his truck.

The "white mans way" actually would have been to call his parole officer (or the dept. of probation) and nark him out. Or to call the cops and basically have him violated from his parole. My roomie was pissed, and almost did these things. We decided not to anything else.

The black guy has been very nice to me. I think that his wife must have basically told him that she would rather walk 15 blocks to her house then have her husband fight with the neighbors.

If this guy ever says anything to us again, I bet we will call the cops.

My suggestion is to live and let live. Be open and communicate. And if you have the law on your side, use it softly.

Peace and good luck.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #14
28. In this instance, I think we're following your advice, for the moment:
"My suggestion is to live and let live. Be open and communicate. And if you have the law on your side, use it softly."

The key is that we're assuming that they will replace the dirt back to its original elevation and returf and that we won't have to spend a penny on any of the damage.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #28
31. even if you need to pay, and your neighbor is a jerk
it might be better to let karma take care of this situation.

best of luck to you.
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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
18. Since your path is going to intersect with your new neighbor, couldn't
you, in a very friendly way, suggest to him that he will be out of a lot of money when the various companies whose lines are being damaged charge him for the repairs?

Tell him that the construction company that is not following procedures is not only costing him money but could get him in trouble with the law.

OSHA could also become involved if they hit a line that carries enough electrical current to injure or kill a worker. In that case, his construction could be held up for a long time... which would also cost money.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #18
29. I HOPE they charge them.
So far it's the phone company and now the cable people that will have a piece of him.
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ProgressivePatriot Donating Member (158 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
19. No need for cops....
call your local building inspector or code enforcement department.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #19
30. Yeah, they love me.
NOT! This is a city that has no problem bullying people with threats if you irritate them too much. Of course, it is a Republican city full of people who support property rights, except when it infringes on them. They have no problem using government when it suits them, and then abusing government when the same laws they claim they support, goes against them.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
32. It depends on if
you have spoken to the neighbor first. If you have expressed concerns that he ignores, call. If you are calling to have the police express your concerns, they may prefer that you try to handle it first.

Two quick stories: Years ago, my boys and I planted 120 trees in one of my fields. A day later, I heard a tractor. My neighbor was mowing my field. I asked what the heck he was doing? He said he heard my boys playing in the field, and was mowing it for them. He mowed 107 trees, but I couldn'r really be mad. (Years later, when he was putting a new house in, I did him a favor and mowed his lawn. I saw a cable I thought I should move. Too late; it was his new phone line. He came out of his house, not smiling, until I said I'd always wanted to get him back for mowing my trees.)

About 10 years ago, I heard a bulldozer in the field in question. At first, I wondered if it were my neighbor. It wasn't. It was a couple people who bought a lot over the hill as an investment. Their lot had road frontage on two sides, to two roads. However, they decided they would force me or my tree-mowing neighbor to buy their lot (at a jacked-up price, of course), or they would put a "right of way" through our properties. They had bulldozed through over 10 acres of land, chopping numerous trees, destroying old stone walls, and were aimed towards my lawn.

There were very few words between us before the police were called. And yes, my neighbor and I took the jerks to court.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #32
34. Holy Geez!
What a bastard entrepeneur! This is exactly the kind of crap that happens whereever property rights laws are too libertarian. I know a story of a man who sold property only if the new buyer respected his one foot spite strip. The one foot spite strip was put in place to landlock someone who had purchased property he had wanted that had no road access.

Of course, since then, someone pointed out to me a Florida law that would allow a person to override a spite strip.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. Many years ago,
one of my father's neighbors started a huge fight over my dad's fence being -- in his mind -- one foot over on his property. We are in rural, upstate New York. The ground in question was no less than a half-mile from either's home. It was a small strip of land. Around here, on the old deeds, it is common to use land marks .... "the large boulder," etc .... My father offered to move the fence in the summer. The guy filed in court anyhow. The court insisted the land be surveyed. It turned out my father owned another 15 feet over on what the fool thought was his property. That summer, of course, we moved the fence to include that extra land. The guy was pretty hostile, and tried to intimidate my elderly father. My oldest brother, a professional boxer, found out, and went and had a chat with the neighbor. End of problem.

I try to be a good neighbor. My nearest neighbor now is a 90+ year old semi-hermit. I'm okay with local kids picking berries or apples on my property. Most of the kids in the area come over and use our pool. Most of the time, things are pleasant. But every so often, there are jerks. I think that urban areas have more problems like that. Good luck with yours!
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. If I'm ever a lottery winner, my dream is to buy a tract of land like
yours.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. On a clear day ....
... you can see forever ....


I love it here.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
33. You would be justified in calling the police.
I won't go into detail, but my next-door neighbors trespassed on my property and tore up my plants. I called the police.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #33
35. I think I'm giving them one opportunity. They have to know what they
did because there are now flags all over the place left by the phone guy. If they do encroach, or if they don't return my property the way it was, then I have photographs and the names of people I contacted in the phone company, cable company and the cable locators.
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Neil Lisst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
38. When would I call the police on my neighbor? Dead body in the yard.
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