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Old 10-15-2015, 02:35 PM   #1
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Dealing with difficult neighbors

I have stored my 19' Escape at my property since the end of July, 2015. It is at the very back of the property line on a large lot, at least 100ft back from the street. It is barely noticeable or bothersome to most people. However...

A week ago, my neighbor wrote a very condescending email asking me to move the RV. I simply didn't respond, because it wouldn't have been a nice email. Today, she wrote another rude email threatening to report me to code compliance. The City of Austin requires a wood or masonry fence to conceal an RV from street view.

It is hard for me to empathize with this person, who also repeatedly complains about noisy leaf-blowers, car doors slamming to loudly, long grass, and other trivialities. She once asked me to move my truck because the sun was reflecting off it in a way that bothered her. In my neighborhood there is no HOA. There are Airstreams and motorhomes all over Austin parked in driveways and even on streets, but yet she has a problem with my RV that is not much bigger than some trucks in these parts!

I am writing this thread to hopefully gain some perspective and advice. Has anyone been through this before? Although my neighbor's over-reaction is irksome, I am a reasonable person. At this point, I am looking to store it at my brother's property in Pflugerville or building a small fence around it.
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:46 PM   #2
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There is no making these type of people happy, no matter what you do.

I would check with the bylaw folks to find out for sure what you need to do. This way you know for sure what your rights are, and your neighbour would not have a leg to stand on. Your scenario definitely wouldn't be a problem here.

I am lucky to park in my front drive without my neighbours complaining, as I rightfully can't have it there for more than 3 days (I think). The neighbour problem I have, is that he is a hoarder, at least as bad as any of those you see on the TV hoarding shows.
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:08 PM   #3
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Daubsy,


As Jim Bennett indicates, you need to confirm precisely what the law requires of you. If, in fact, the only applicable requirement is that "The City of Austin requires a wood or masonry fence to conceal an RV from street view," then build such a fence and be done with it. Your neighbor will have no further recourse -- even if your RV remains visible to her.
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:25 PM   #4
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Better yet, build a wood fence with a plastic window insert for them to see your pretty new trailer.....
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:26 PM   #5
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Daubsy,


As Jim Bennett indicates, you need to confirm precisely what the law requires of you. If, in fact, the only applicable requirement is that "The City of Austin requires a wood or masonry fence to conceal an RV from street view," then build such a fence and be done with it. Your neighbor will have no further recourse -- even if your RV remains visible to her.
Hi: Daubsy... I would certainly comply with the fence issue. Rent a motorized post hole digger for the weekend to install the posts and a construction flood lamp to work by. A security dusk/dawn flood lamp installed on top of the fence would also be advisable. Two can play games too!!! Alf
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:35 PM   #6
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As Jim Bennett indicates, you need to confirm precisely what the law requires of you. If, in fact, the only applicable requirement is that "The City of Austin requires a wood or masonry fence to conceal an RV from street view," then build such a fence and be done with it. Your neighbor will have no further recourse -- even if your RV remains visible to her.
I just got off the phone with code compliance and they sent me a link to the section of code addressing vehicle storage. Section 25-2-893 (B) (7):

"Up to two vehicles that are either antique or recreational vehicles may be stored on the premises, if the storage area is not a health hazard and is either in an enclosed building or screened from public view with a solid wood or masonry fence at least six feet high."

Those are the only requirements. I think I will just find a used fence panel on Craigslist and paint the American flag on it.
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:38 PM   #7
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This is old, and may, or may not, be true. Nonetheless it is a funny discourse between neighbours. WARNING: Some foul language is used.

This guy’s neighbor bought a new floodlight. What happened next is absolutely hilarious.
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:50 PM   #8
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I'd advise to just comply with your local bylaw but don't be 'cute' and do anything to draw attention to the fence. Escalating someone with the behaviour you describe can make things worse very easily. (that being said, my first thought was to paint the fence some terrible colour).
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:51 PM   #9
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Hi: Daubsy... Paint the American flag on it and "Hi light" it too!!! Alf
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:59 PM   #10
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I just got off the phone with code compliance and they sent me a link to the section of code addressing vehicle storage. Section 25-2-893 (B) (7):

"Up to two vehicles that are either antique or recreational vehicles may be stored on the premises, if the storage area is not a health hazard and is either in an enclosed building or screened from public view with a solid wood or masonry fence at least six feet high."

Those are the only requirements. I think I will just find a used fence panel on Craigslist and paint the American flag on it.
Now you know for certain, that is great. With tongue in cheek, I suggest you paint a hand with the finger pointing to the neighbour on the fence, with a tag line saying "I'm Next To Stupid".
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Old 10-15-2015, 05:00 PM   #11
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Old 10-15-2015, 05:06 PM   #12
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I would comply with the law, but the next time she complains about something that is perfectly legal, tell her you are in compliance with all zoning requirements, and let her know that if she persists in her complaints, you will file a harassment suit. Typically, these people are all about exerting control, and once threatened with a lawsuit, shut their mouths forever.
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Old 10-15-2015, 05:12 PM   #13
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I had a difficult wealthy neighbor who decided to sue me over a property line issue (he purchased without a survey) as I controlled the high ground and his view over a huge valley, about 30 miles in width. 8 years later I won the court case, and my fencelines remain where they were.

However, in order to protect his garden area from chemical spray drift, I built a 200 ft long 6 foot tall galvanized metal junk yard fence (described as an "overspray drift barrier" on the construction permit) 4 ft from the affirmed property line with all the framework and support cabling in his view.

He can no longer see anything but rusty galvanized metal....and I get to see the pretty side!
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Old 10-15-2015, 05:28 PM   #14
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He is a "green" way to deal with neighbors....
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:01 PM   #15
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Now that's funny.
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:21 PM   #16
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I believe the consensus that you've gained from the previous posters is spot on. It's not worth the hassle to fight these cretins especially if eventually the code is on their side. I have experienced similar neighbor situations and while I used to be both mean and devious, finally won when I moved away to a much nicer home and gave the old girl a final wave. Just comply and go camping. I always say there's a special place in Hell for those people. Now a resident of Benton county Iowa where we can have a campfire in the back yard, don't mow and call it a prairie restoration and shoot guns off the back porch.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:20 PM   #17
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Look on the bright side. I live in a college town, where multiple cars in the driveways, some on front lawns, and some even being lived in are not abnormal! While your neighbor may be a PITA, it sounds like your codes are at least reasonable, and meant to protect property values.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:42 PM   #18
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I just got off the phone with code compliance and they sent me a link to the section of code addressing vehicle storage. Section 25-2-893 (B) (7):

"Up to two vehicles that are either antique or recreational vehicles may be stored on the premises, if the storage area is not a health hazard and is either in an enclosed building or screened from public view with a solid wood or masonry fence at least six feet high."

Those are the only requirements. I think I will just find a used fence panel on Craigslist and paint the American flag on it.
The fence has to be only 6ft tall? A 19ft Escape is 8 1/2 ft or so. Even when you're in compliance the top of the trailer will be visible. Wait until the neighbor finds that out. At least you're not putting a 6ft fence in front of a a 40ft fifth wheel where the whole top half of the trailer is taller than the fence.

On a side note, I once lived in a condo complex with all the overly onerous parking regulations about what you could park where, and written right into the rules was this exception exempting RVs from the parking regulations. All I can figure is the developer had a thing for RVs and built in the exception. Every time they didn't like my truck parked there, I threatened to trade it in for a Winnebago.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:03 PM   #19
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Now you know for certain, that is great. With tongue in cheek, I suggest you paint a hand with the finger pointing to the neighbour on the fence, with a tag line saying "I'm Next To Stupid".
Might make you feel a little better as long as you don't forget that "You can't fix stupid...".
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:05 PM   #20
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Looking at your issue with a180 degree perspective. I'd let her complain to the authorities until they contacted you. I'd be real nice to them but throw out a comment about "selective enforcement" and see how they respond. If Austin is, as you say, well-populated with others in a similar situation, you'd have a pretty solid argument using the "reasonableness" standard to put your situation way down towards the bottom of the list (assuming there are other RV's featured more prominently in town). If that fails, just get a couple of sheets of plywood and lean them up against your trailer when you're not camping. They didn't say t had to be a pretty fence.
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