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Old 11-23-2003, 01:39 PM   #1
swebster's Avatar
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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Unreasonable Neighbors Taking Pictures!

OK. I walked out the front door to find the couple across the street taking pictures of the Airstream from all sides. When I asked what was going on they didn't answer. I asked if they would like to talk about it and they came over.

Well it wasn't really much of a dialog but the short version is that they felt that me parking my 345 in the driveway is taking away from the neighborhood and devaluing their home. They said that it is in the driveway more than its not (we store it somewhere else).

They also said that when we sent our letter in advance of purchasing the motorhome we misrepresented it to them. They thought it would be a smaller “towable” Airstream. They also said they were embarrassed to have friends over as they ask who the "Hillbillies" next door are. They talked on and on about inappropriate for an historic neighborhood, etc. Despite my blood pressure I remained amazingly calm through all of this. I said all I'm hearing is complaints and opinions here but no solutions. I don't know how to make you happy. They said park it somewhere else. When I explained that it is here so I can work on it they said work on it somewhere else.

Well here are the facts:

1. I did send a letter to all immediate neighbors before we purchased it explaining that it was coming. I even showed photographs of the RV to the husband personally.

2. We did store it in our driveway for a time (down the side behind the fence which I built) but since this same couple (And our next door neighbor complained we decided to relocate it to my office parking lot for storage. At the time, the husband was very appreciative and thanked me for being such a good neighbor.

3. When we moved the RV we explained that it would be back for loading and unloading and for repairs/restoration as my workshop is at the house. Again, the husband said he thought no one would have a problem with that.

4. Since then it has only been in the driveway at most for four days at a time (this weekend) but usually only for one or two nights. All in all less then 20% of the month (likely less but I'm keeping a log going forward).

5. Our letter explained that the AS would be here while we remodeled it and would find another permanent home when complete. We already found it another home early so we could be "good neighbors"

I'll tell you it takes a lot to make me mad but this sure has. On Monday I'll be calling town hall to confirm my understanding of the city ordinances (no more than 72 hours on a city street and everything is fine if you are in a parallel driveway - which ours is for a couple of days at a time).

So I know I'll get a lot of opinions on this, which I appreciate and I know some of you have fought this battle so chime in, but I am also looking for some advice. Should I be contacting a lawyer in anticipation of a suit or other hearing? Does Good Sam or anyone else provide services for these situations? We've consistently tried to be accommodating members of our neighborhood with the AS. We've gone to great lengths and personal inconvenience to relocate it, etc even when we were within our rights to keep it on our property. But they keep moving the line. I think they just don't like RVs and look down upon ours. We'll they are in for a fight this time.

Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 11-23-2003, 01:54 PM   #2
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Austin , Texas
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wait til you get a letter from whoever the authority is in this matter. Enjoy in the meantime.

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Old 11-23-2003, 02:08 PM   #3
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Stand in the street when you know they will be coming out and take their picture, or pictures of their house.

When they ask why you can explain that you don't like the color of the trim or the bushes they have planted and you think it is reducing the value of your propety to be across the steet from such a hideous house. Or say nothing detailed, and tell them that they will find out in time. It will drive them nuts thinking you have something on them. This kind of person is a threat to all of our property rights. If they don't like your rig, let them move.

We have members in our WBCCI unit that live in a neighborhood with detailed rules. They abide by them but a new busybody has moved in and is trying to get them changed. Little does she know that one of the people she is offending is a practicing attorney, and that in Florida deed restricions and covenants are subject to granfathering. If it was allowed when you bought it, it is allowed even if the law is changed. The new rules kick in upon sale to a new party.

In that vein I would keep the log, and try to keep it at the house more than 50% of the month. That way they cannot say that you have not been storing it there. This is in addition that the current rules allow for the style of storage you are doing.

BTW I would love to have a "hillbilly" neighbor that can afford an Airstream.
Brett G
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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 11-23-2003, 02:29 PM   #4
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1969 31' Sovereign
Broken Arrow , Oklahoma
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Neighbors ??

We had the problem of the new neighbors moving in and after 20 yrs of no problems 4 of us got notices to move boats, trailers ect. One neighbor tried to fight it and ended up in court and lost. I moved our trailer to a storage area and promply had it broken into. I called the code enforcment people and asked what is "storage" and they said they would work with me. Sugested if I wanted to leave my boat or trailer in the drive just leave it hooked up to a tow vehicle and that would not be in storage. I can now drive my new neighbor crazy by leaving my boat in the drive 3 days a week.
It's to bad some people have to be that way and two wrongs may not make a right but I will attempt to iritate these people every chance I get. Latest is don't rake up the leaves and let them blow into their yard.
Good luck; but there is no easy solution even when you want to work with them

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Old 11-23-2003, 03:13 PM   #5
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Tipton , Iowa
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Hi, Steve...

First, a couple of questions. Are you in an area governed by a homeowner's association with CC&Rs? As I recall from your earlier posts you're not, but...

If you are, and the CC&Rs say you can't park an RV/Boat/whatever, then you're pretty much up a creek without a paddle. CC&Rs are contract restrictions that you must agree to and sign to purchase your home. If you're in violation, you're in violation of a contract and they've got you. Period.

If, however, you are in a neighborhood where the city ordinances are the only governance, you can pretty much do what you want. Ordinances govern health and safety; they're not designed to be enforced by the "fashion police" as CC&Rs are.

In most cities, as long as your vehicle is operable, licensed and insured, it is reasonable to park it in your driveway. There may be restrictions in the municipal code regarding parking it on your lawn in the front or to the side of your house. Then again, there may not be. Just depends on the city. There may also be restrictions in your zoning ordinances, but that is less likely.

As I recall from your earlier photos regarding these folks, and the fence you built on the side of your house, I'd merely suggest to your neighbors that the only way they're going to be able to control what happens on your property is if they buy it; and you'd be happy to sell to them for four or five times market value. Smile, walk away and let 'em stew. Don't worry about it.

More than likely, even if they try to get some draconian ordinance restricting RVs from parking in residential neighborhoods, you'll be able to defeat it in City Council chambers as you are a pre-existing condition. Keeping a motorhome in a residential neighborhood is NOT something that depresses residential market values. Obnoxious people, however, DO!

Good luck, and keep us posted.

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Old 11-23-2003, 03:22 PM   #6
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Simple solution. Have someone contact the local news stations about classic Airstreams, the WBCCI, and all the "elite" that now own them (movie stars, etc.), and that they know where to see a classic locally. After all, you are a millionaire. Once the story gets aired, and your neighbors are aware that Airstreams are a sign of status (Jethro and Ellie May might disagree) they might not be embarrassed to have their friends over.

Just a suggestion.
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Old 11-23-2003, 03:29 PM   #7
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well i had the same problem and i fluffed it off. no ordinance no deed restrictions. the one who was complaining the most also told me to stop working to fill a low spot in my yard. i cant print what i told him and his wife , they got the message. no more comments from the peanut gallery. i have property rights and they do also. should have understood what those were before they bought in your neighborhood. and opened their big mouth..
i had one neighbor ask why did he pay a arm and a leg for a house across the street from me. my answer was real simple you wanted a neighbor who mindes his own business and not his neighbors. i parked a 78 ford hunting truck(junker) in front of his house for two years . he fumed and call all over complaining to no avail. the street is public property in front of his and my house. complaign about my motorhome and i get a junker and park it in the street near their property. i do have a storage space for my motorhome and i use it except when im working on my coach or getting ready to go on a trip.
my neighbors are just misguided some times . they know not to start something they cant win. they also know i dont take any crap off any one who is trying to push me around . also i look out for my neighbors while they are away. and it is appreciated, you need to understand what your property rights are and exercise them . that is my 2 cents
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Old 11-23-2003, 04:05 PM   #8
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Carefully .....Let it be known in the neighborhood that you are planning on renting your house to a large family of Section 8's unless the complainers control their obvious mental illness.....anyway you live in Kentucky and what's wrong with hillbillys
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Old 11-23-2003, 04:14 PM   #9
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If you do belong to Good Sam, contact them for their package regarding RV parking. While nothing may come of this it doesn't hurt to be prepared. A local municipality near my home just outlawed RV parking in driveways a week or so ago. It passed very quickly and didn't allow much time for RV owners to get organized.

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Old 11-23-2003, 05:05 PM   #10
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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What a great group!

Well as usual you are all making me feel better. Suzanne and I just got back from putting the old girl back in her "offsite parking lot" walked in the door and read all of your posts. We laughed out loud, a lot, which was needed after today.

I appreciate all of the advice and the commentary. So tomorrow I'll check the ordinances once more, call one of our attorney friends, buy a junker and park it in front of their house, put a "For Rent - Section 8 Welcome" sign in the front yard, call the local TV station about Millionaire Aistreamers, take pictures of their shrubs and begin looking for code violations on their new addition.
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 11-23-2003, 05:32 PM   #11
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the city has on two ocassions tryed to pass an ordinance to restrict rv s in drive ways. the emails, telephone calls got to be too much the mayor. she told the city council no ordinace get over it. it was all over a junker blue bird bus that wasnt liscened and didnt run. as a result they passed an ordinance for unsightly un maintained vehicles. that ordinance might get my junker hunting truck in trouble . win some loose some.
find out what your property rights are and dont let anyone infringe on them. to heck with dorking with the goof balls . wouldnt wast the time or film to document anything. if your right your right. give then the pokish salute and keep on keeping on .
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Old 11-23-2003, 05:42 PM   #12
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. , Illinois
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I guess my solution, although not as eloquent, is still an option....

Get my Uncle Vito out there with a couple of his associates. They just love meeting new people!

Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 11-23-2003, 06:51 PM   #13
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swebster, I think your home would look much nicer if it were painted lime green with orange trim.

Seriously, I would take my property tax bill over to them and ask them to pay it. Tell them as long as they pay your property taxes, you will do whatever they say. Maybe if they are nice people they will even offer to pay for the storage fee for the motorhome.
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Old 11-23-2003, 07:57 PM   #14
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If this happened to me, I would call all of my RV friends and invite them to come over in their RVs for a bar-b-que.

Then I would go over to the neighbor's house and ask to borrow some ice.

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I live the life I love and I love the life I live.
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