Neighbor Problem -- Snowstorm related What would you do?

<p>We live on a long (600 foot) driveway. The first 100 feet are shared. We have a deeded easement that states we have full use, and maintenance is to be shared. The actual land is owned by our neighbor. </p>

<p>We have lived in this house for 18 winters (neighbor -- maybe 14). We have our driveway plowed by a service, and we have always paid the full cost, although the neighbor would be technically responsible for 1/12 of our bill. Our winter bill runs $1000-2000 depending on the winter. They have never offered a dime -- and mostly complained.</p>

<p>We have had a horrible winter storm -- as everyone knows at this point. We spent $300 over 2 days to have the driveway, not just plowed, but <em>chainsawed</em> so it was passable. This included of course chainsaw work on the upper 100 shared feet. It is possible that the snowplow guy plowed some gravel as well, but it was unremarkable. When I left yesterday morning, the driveway was clear and the neighbor was raking his precious gravel.</p>

<p>I came home last night to find that my neighbor had blocked the driveway with brush. I am quite certain it did not just fall into the driveway between noon and 6:30 pm at precise right angles to the driveway just at the point that I could not drive around, and just enough (two trunks) that I could not drive over.</p>

<p>I am currently 11 days out of hernia surgery and forbidden to lift anything over 10 lbs or do any sort of yard work. I am so not amused. </p>

<p>Fortunately, it was light enough that I don't think I have damaged my surgical repair by scooting a bit of it to the side. But this behavior is not OK. What would you do?</p>

<p>Whoa. Not a neighborly thing to do. Does your husband have a cordial relationship with either of the neighbors? Could he place a friendly call to start a dialogue? Are you ready to address the shared cost of clearing the top shared driveway or do you just want to address the blocked driveway and their probable lack of awareness of your recent surgery? Ugh-- hate neighbor disputes. Also makes me wonder what ever happened to consolation and her weird legal bill re: a slightly similar issues involving an easment and driveway (thought it is unclear if the neighbor knew the attorney billed them) did you read that thread? <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/1223172-strange-legal-bill.html?%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/1223172-strange-legal-bill.html?&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>What do you mean "what would you do?"? Walk over there, knock on their door and ask for an explanation.</p>

<p>Why would you do anything else?</p>

<p>I'm curious. I know a lot of people had a lot of stuff come down during the storm. Is there any possibility at all that the brush was there to be picked up and there was no place else to put it?</p>

<p>I'm also curious why you didn't just park at the end of the driveway and wait for the snow to melt, rather than spend $300? I know that's what my sister did. (It's also what I did, as often as possible, forecast permitting, when we lived in the east. We had a 1/4 mile driveway.)</p>

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They have never offered a dime -- and mostly complained.

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<p>What are they complaining about? Is there more to the story?</p>

<p>If I read your post correctly, your neighbor bought the house with the driveway easement after you had been living in your house. Is it possible they don't understand the details of the easement? Or don't like it?</p>

<p>I think a nice, calm meeting in some place like a coffe shop to discuss the driveway, followed up by an email/letter summerizing the discussion would be a good place to start. But for now, a phone call/visit "I've had surgery, can't lift, keep the driveway clear" with an invitation for the meeting might help. </p>

<p>I'd also review the details of the easement asap.</p>

<p>I would do anything to avoid a neighbor conflict. It is really unpleasant to have to run into people on a regular basis with whom you have disagreed. If this is the first time, I would let it go. It won't be worth the long term aggravation to confront them.</p>

<p>When you aren't recovering from surgery and the weather is nice might be a better time to follow through on any issues you can't let go.</p>

<p>my universal recommendation for neighbor problems: invite them over for drinks and snacks. IMHO it is much more for difficult to be unpleasant to those with whom you have "broken bread" :) Assume they didn't do this on purpose and want to help you out if only they understand what is going on.</p>

<p>I grew up in the "neighbors support neighbors" era ... you know, before iPods. I have found that many people grew up with different views, and over the years I've forgiven many thoughtless acts. Even in retrospect, I feel that was the appropriate thing to do since most of those acts were perpetrated by completely clueless neighbors.</p>

<p>In a reasonable world there would be no reason for conflict. You could simply ask "What's up with that brush pile?" But it's not a reasonable world. Ask if you wish. However, since the neighbor has already displayed antipathy toward you, don't be surprised if that's the response you get to your inquiry.</p>

<p>Sounds like this might be a good time to have a real estate attorney review the easement agreement and other ingress/egress issues before a fence pops up in the road.</p>

<p>Do you think maybe workers dumped it there or you sure it was them? I would've just called them from the driveway where it was blocking you and tell them you can't move their brush. My neighbors wouldn't deign to move any of their brush anywhere, they would get their landscaper to bring his day labor to clear it. But that's NJ for you.</p>

<p>We do not have a cordial relationship. They have always been obnoxious. I'm quite sure that they do not understand the property lines, the legalities of an easement, or how to read a map. I do not intend to educate them. </p>

<p>Last winter the (bleep) threatened to hit my husband with a snow shovel because he was not shoveling while waiting for our plow service. My husband had a heart attack in 2003 and is not supposed to shovel. At all. He occasionally shovels carefully against medical advice.</p>

<p>The neighbor complains that the snowplow moves some of his gravel. He also seems to complain that the plow leaves some snow pushed to the side across his driveway -- but nothing is ever pushed into his driveway so I am not sure what the problem is. Our guy clears the major plug at the driveway/road junction. Mr. Cranky also complains that it's not done within 2 hours of the storm stopping -- something that we have no control over. </p>

<p>What I didn't mention, is that besides the driveway being long, it's very steep. I cannot walk up and down at this point. We had to have our plow guy out twice this weekend ... and it was extra expensive because of the chainsawing. We would have had to spend this money even if things melted -- because we couldn't move the debris with a handsaw. </p>

<p>Their house is on the market. I can't wait.</p>

<p>If their house is on the market, I would definately make sure I understood the easement details, and I'd likely call a real estate attorney to see if there was anything specific I needed to do to protect the easement--just in case. I'd especially check and make sure the shared costs will continue, since you have (generously) been paying all the bills.<br>
Maybe the attorney can get the costs/responsibilities split now.<br>
When you get new neighbors, make friends, then discuss the easement details...include the shared responsibility and shared costs.</p>

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Their house is on the market. I can't wait.

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<p>You saved the best for last !</p>

<p>Once the new neighbors move in, I would make sure you invite them over and let them know the plowing is a shared expense (at least the common part of it) and offer the let them get some estimates to plow if they want. Good luck until they move.</p>

<p>Great news that you will soon be rid of them, and can hopefully have a lovely relationship with new neighbors who will do their fair share. It mattters not how much that jerk hollers and screams, if yoru DH isnt supposed to shovel,he shouldnt shovel. If the guy wants it cleared on his timeframe, he can do it his darned self. And if the gravel gets mooved by a plow, well thats par for the course. But you know that. </p>

<p>If you were as mean-spirited as he, you could let him know that if he doesn't straigten up and fly right you will be happy to answer any prospective buyers questions that could help or hurt his sale. But you dont want to sabotage a sale- you want them GONE. YOu can , if appropriate, let them know that the new owners will be expected to do their share of teh plowing of the shared driveway. Why hasnt he paid a penny or done his share of plowing (like taking turns or something) ? Did he not know this was his responsibility?</p>

<p>So you all don't think I should just get my friendly neighborhood bulldozer guy to carve him a new one?</p>

<p>Note to self:
Do not read cnp's post while drinking coffee. I almost spit it out!! LOL</p>

<p>I am trying to visualize this. The shared 100 ft is the first 100ft off the highway/road? And leads to their house? The next 500 ft go to your house? The driveway is highest next to the road and slopes down steeply to your house? You have no road frontage? You have legal right to essentially use "their driveway" for access to your property?</p>

<p>even half way correct? :)</p>

<p>oooh good question, alh. I was somehow thinking the driveway was like a "Y" , but am not sure if it is the tail that is the shared 100 feet and each have individually long top parts ( the "v" part of the "Y") or what. Is the shared part at the bottom by the street? If so, why doesnt the neighbors driveway plowing company sometimes plow the joint 100 feet at the bottom?</p>