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Old 09-18-2003, 07:36 PM   #81
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nice gate, Steven.
Why did you say you moved it??????????????
Because the neighbors quit waving?
You should have posted a sign like I did: We love you!

But now everyone is happy except you.
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Old 09-18-2003, 08:03 PM   #82
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The letter

Oh my gosh Steve, after looking at that picture I can see why they're horrified - how insensitive you must be. What could you have been thinking?
Actually, it's pretty unobtrusive. I have my rehabing little AS on my deck and so far, no one's complained. Just lucky I guess.
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Old 09-18-2003, 08:12 PM   #83
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Paint the gates!

I say paint the gates the weirdest shades of green and orange with large red flowers. Then when they complain you can say, "well I put up the gates to block the Airstream, trying to be a good neighbor. But since I don't have it here to work on, as a hobby I took up painting. Just wait until I start on the house!"

The painted gates cannot be code enforced, and if they want to get a code put in place the gates would be grandfathered in.

Just my vindictive side showing It seems that the neighbors were unwilling to discuss it and decided to shun you instead. Too bad for them, they miss out on having a relationship with a courteous neighbor who is trying to keep neighborhood strife to a minimum.
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Old 09-18-2003, 08:14 PM   #84
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Steve,

I would have told them all to kiss my shiny silver aluminum skinned @#$!!

You need to stand up for yourself!

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Old 09-19-2003, 04:01 AM   #85
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tell them to go to h***...

Steve, I've explained in a previous post that I do the code compliance enforcement for our city. Fortunately, our muni code only deals with health and safety issues; we are not in the business of enforcing tastefulness.

I regularly tell folks who complain that if they don't like what they're neighbors are doing, they can always make an above market-value offer for the offending property as ownership of that property is the only way they're going to be able control what happens on that property.

Your neighbors do NOT have a constitutional right to a view. You DO have the right to use your property as you see fit provided that the use is lawful and within zoning regulations. If your village enacts an RV parking ordinance, AND you have yours at the house, you'll have a very good chance of being grandfathered if you raise enough fuss; particularly since you took the extra steps of informing everyone BEFORE you did it, and then built a fence that wasn't yet required.

I'd move the MH back home and tell the neighbors to go to h***.

Good luck!

Roger

BTW, what a BEAUTIFUL house you have!
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Old 09-19-2003, 09:51 AM   #86
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My experience

I live in a 52 year old home. I have been there since 1991. There is no HOA. So the only regs are what the city put in place.

When I bought my home I had a 27' boat and trailer. I asked the realtor, only show me homes that I can park the boat/trailer on the street. She found my current home and I bought it. A month later the city sent me a note regarding the boat. The rule is no street parking during trash pick up days. So I moved it to the side of the house in front of the front portion of the home. I had to comply with a dust proof parking surface. After my parking situation became legal, I did hear rumblings, however that was many years ago.

Bottom line, I conformed to the parking laws in exisitance. In fact I looked for a home ownership situation that would work in the city of Phoenix. So as long as you comply with the law, I would leave it alone. Your neighbors will do one of several things. Reject you, ignor you, or accept you. It would be their loss if they take anything but the last position. The last thing you could ask is their solution to their issue, providing their solution allows you access to your RV and property.

I really don't like complainers with no solutions.

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Old 09-19-2003, 06:13 PM   #87
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Hey Steve, I feel for you. We are also the 30-somethings in our neighborhood, and the new kids. The others have all been here since the neighborhood was built 10+ years ago, and I'll tell you, we've never had so much trouble with our neighbors anyplace we've lived as with these jokers. There's no covenants, no HOA, but I think their main concern is that they like to boss us around and see how much they can tell us what to do.

At first it was because we run a business out of our home. This is a small 2 person business, no employees, no customers on site (it's all mail order), no external signs, basically no difference between having a business and it just being a house. So they immediately came over and told us we couldn't have a business here, it was against county rules. We told them it wasn't. So they called the code inspector and threatened to force us out. The code inspector had no problem with us, was very sympathetic to these kinds of neighborhood feuds, and told us to try not to bother the neighbors.

Then they decided our delivery trucks, which come once a month, shouldn't be allowed on our private road, because it's private, not for business. Again, we told them no, because it's our road too and we can use it as we please. This turned into an ugly screaming/swearing incident out in the street one day when the neighbors came out and confronted the truck driver to tell him to go away before they called the cops on him for tresspassing! After that we redirected the trucks to our warehouse in town 'to be good neighbors', and not scare our truck drivers. We were afraid if that happened again FedEx might think twice about sending a truck out to us.

Happy with this success, they decided to step up again when they heard we were fencing our acreage. We were fencing it because we wanted to give them a definite border between us and them. People were cutting through our field and letting their kids ride their dirtbikes and go-karts on it when we were gone (we caught them a couple times), which seemed like a liability hazard. They started threatening us, saying the property lines were well inside our property, claiming some of our landscaping as their own. They even came over one morning after they saw us leave and paced it off with compasses and measuring tape. Another neighbor warned us there was talk of suing us to stop us from putting up a fence. We got copies of the plats and other documentation to show where our property lines were, left them on the offending neighbors porch, invited a bunch of friends over (to dissuade any neighbors from coming over and making a scene), and had the fence up in one day. We were nervous, but it's been months and we haven't heard a peep from the neighbors about it.

Luckily no one has dared say anything about our AS. They literally wouldn't have a leg to stand on. They also didn't say anything when we painted our house rose-pink, though we were expecting it.

Point is, some people like to push you around just because they can. And yes, there's hard feelings, but there's always going to be with those kinds of people. If you have the law on your side, then what are they going to do? Firebomb your house? Your setup was about as inoffensive as one could hope for. You have a right to live on and enjoy your own property. You're paying for it. It's a shame some people will never be happy, and some people have nothing else going on in their own lives than to worry about seeing a MH peeking up above someone's fence.

Cool house, BTW. I'd love to live in an old house, but as you can see, with the business and the AS, we're probably not cut out for living in a neighborhood anytime soon
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Old 09-19-2003, 08:05 PM   #88
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Many thanks for your comments

We appreciate everyone's comments, compliments and support. Your replies have stoked the coals somewhat but honestly moving the AS was not too big of an issue for us.

We still bring it home whenever we need work on it (btw - this weekend it'll be right in the middle of the driveway on jack stands for new front shocks and a master cylinder ) and while having it right here represented a great convenience on one hand, it also created some incredible inconveniences for us on the other. For one the clearance between the MH and the house was only 4" so backing in and out with any frequency was no fun at all and it rendered our driveway pretty useless. For example; to mow the front lawn I needed to pull the lawnmower up the back steps, through our office and kitchen and out the front door! This was the same drill for tools and parts and anything else going from front to back. From the office parking lot it’s only five minutes away and accessible all day while I'm working. And with my workaholic tendencies there are other benefits to not having it right at the house; it no longer calls to me "Come and work on me Steven....it'll be fun....blow off your family and fix my generator....really, they'll get over it....grab your wrenches and let's go!"

The real issue for us was the response (or lack of direct response) from our neighbors. If someone wanted to call and complain about the AS then the first number they should have dialed was ours - not the city councilmen's. We felt that just by the way we handled things when we informed our neighbors that this was on the way we threw the door wide open for comments and (to Action's point) possible solutions for those that had concerns.

The irony here is that now when we work on it I'll be sure to make no extra effort to bring it behind the fence, rather I'll work on it on the level driveway to make it easier for me to get at everything. So if anything, the neighbors will see even more of it than they ever would have before. I guess it will be classic case of “Be careful what you wish for” from our neighbors perspective.

Maybe in a few weeks someone will walk over and ask if we could move it behind the fence?
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Old 09-19-2003, 11:46 PM   #89
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You can always hope!

My AS is right outside the window in the garage where I work packing packages. It says 'come on Stef, let's GO somewhere..." Very hard to resist!

I've found my neighbors are also non-communicative. After they sent the code inspectors after us, I went to the ones I thought were trouble, indicating that 'someone', I didn't know who, had turned us in and that the code inspectors found no violations. I told them we wanted to be good neighbors, and that if there were any further problems, they should just come talk to us first. The next interaction with them was the blowup with the truck driver. We again contacted them all, told them our solution, and asked them to come to us if there were any other problems. Next thing was the fence, which another neighbor told us about the other neighbor coming and measuring our lot and claiming our rhoddedendron bushes. Again, no one who had a problem spoke directly to us. It was always someone else tattling on someone else in the neighborhood - and there's only SIX houses here!

I just don't know what's with some people, but it has certainly caused a LOT of hard feelings, mis-trust, and ill will in the neighborhood. It seems like everyone is always talking about everyone else. We came into the neighborhood trying to be friendly, inviting folks over to meet us, sharing fruit from our orchard, offering to let their kids use the telescope, now we just enjoy every day that goes by without having to interact with any of them! We've been so close to giving up and selling the house it isn't even funny, and we've only been here four years!

A few years ago, before we moved back to this area, we lived in a single wide in a mobile home park. It took an hour to walk around the block because every neighbor wanted to call us up on the porch to chat, and we used to go over after work and just sit under the apple tree and visit with the older couple across the street. When my husband was laid up in a car accident, somehow the neighbors found out and came over and took our trash can out to the curb for us, and I was genuinely touched. I'd LOVE to live in a neighborhood like that again!
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Old 09-20-2003, 10:04 AM   #90
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Steve and Stephanie,
What a shame you have to live with neighbors who will exclude or simply turn their backs on you. And not even have the "anatomical" parts to speak about their issues directly to you. These people are already treating you poorly, in spite of your efforts - for which I commend you, so you may as well please yourselves cuz you sure as lleh aren't gonna please them. Telling them all to kiss your shiny rivets and/or go to lleh are justifiable options. It seems you really don't have much else to lose at this point. A pity with life being so short and all.

Wishing you both luck,

suz
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:52 PM   #91
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Unhappy

To Stephanie in Battleground, WA
I also live in Washington, in Clark County/Hazel Dell. I truly sympathize with your wish to have better neighbors, they are priceless! We are so lucky, we live on a cul de sac in typical suburbia. I keep my 26 foot 65 Overlander parked in my driveway, along with a rather rough non-running 67 Porsche, an 87 Ford E150 Van and 92 Dodge Ram. It's a little crowded, but by next summer I'll have the pad on the side of the house set up for the Twink and my neighbors will still have no problem. We have a real live and let live group. Out of the 7 houses on our circle, only one is a true idiot, but as they face the outside of the circle, we can ignore them pretty easily. I've occasionally thought about buying a larger house, something newer, but where would I find such great neighbors. You live in a beautiful area and from the sound of it have enough property around you that they'd have to really go out of thier way to be so critical. I wish your neighbors weren't so awful, it just doesn't need to be that way.
Good luck ....
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Old 09-20-2003, 07:16 PM   #92
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Wow, sounds like a great neighborhood, you'll have to let me know if any houses come up for sale in your circle We do have 3 acres, after a bad experience in a house where the neighbors were so close we could hear them fighting. In our living room. With the tv on... But it's beautiful up here, right across the street from BG Lake, and so far the neighbors haven't been bad enough to force us out. It's wonderful to come home to your own 3 acre park. Swing by anytime and say hi. We're the pink house with the Caravel next to it!

Seems like there's several of us in WA, even a few lurkers I've talked to via email. Maybe we should have a little forum rally up here and get to know each other.
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:08 PM   #93
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The RV CC&R's

Course there is the option of creating a neighborhood. One that has an HOA. In the CC&R's it might state that in order to live in the subdivision you have to have a RV. No RV don't move in.

There is a similar subdivision in Chandler AZ. It's a group of homes built around a man made lake. The deepest part is 25'. The purpose is for water skiing only. No fishing, no crusing, only water skiing. There is about 50 homes and there all expensive.

Next step.... create your own world.

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Old 09-20-2003, 08:34 PM   #94
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Well I'll be pushing the limit in a week. I'll be pulling the body on the grass in my front yard so I can replace the floor. No other place I can do it and still have access t o the garage to do some frame repairs and painting. Never had a problem with it parked here on the drive but it was in one place only at the time. LOL

Broke them in today. Pulled the toilet and black tank and set them on the lawn and hosed them off LOL. Now tucked out of sight hehehehe. That's beyond my redneck level even.

I had 17 trees removed out of my back yard last week. My neighbor had 9. To get in their back yard they had to go through my back yard. They had to take down part of the fence to get in with a bobcat. Drop their tress of their retaining wall then drop mine off then come around and pick them up and haul them out. Then this mess got stacked in my front yard waiting for the logging truck. TWO FULL loads and one half load later all gone.

I am going to talk with my next door neighbor about doing a little grading and moving my fence to the property line It's inside the line by 4-5ft at the corner of my house. Thier drive is actually right on the line. If I do that I should be able to park our coach behind the garage but it's going to require that I go up my neighbors drive to do so. My neighbors house sits further back on the lot then ours. The front of their house is almost in the same plane as the back of ours. They will have no issues but my worry is if they move.

I'll put up a 6ft privacy fence in that area to clean it up for them some.

Mostly I want to do this just to get it out of the way. It takes up half the front of the garage. My only other option is to widen the drive and I can park it becide the garage. I like my next door neigbors a lot and on the drive or next to it it's sort of a eye sore to them since it litterally be next to their drive in the front of their home.

The saving grace is all I'll have to do is rent a bobcat and I can get the dirt for either option out of my yard and create a level area for the kids to play in so win win on that count.
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:43 AM   #95
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My Problems

I hope it's OK to tell my story even though my vehicle is a 19' Xplorer, a camper van or class B motorhome. I live in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI.

Before I bought this van in June, 2000, I checked with the city to see if it would be caught up in a motorhome storage ordinance. The city clerk said yes. I wrote a letter to the city council explaining I was recently semi-retired & wanted to do a lot of travel, that this van was to replace a 18' full size passenger van, and would be parked in the same place on my driveway in front of my house. My boat is in my garage. I got my immediate 5 neighbors to sign approval and had a picture attached. The clerk said to see the building inspector as he was in charge of motorhome storage permits. He looked at the letter & picture and said I did not need a permit as he considered the van to be a conversion van & to go ahead & buy it. If he had said it required a permit I could not have gotten one because I could not have parked behind the front setback. I bought the van the end of June, 2000.

This summer of 2003, a few in power decided to eliminate the storage permit system, and also not allow commercial vehicles or anything covered with a tarp. I thought I was OK as the man in charge had told me so. Labor day weekend I (along with 60 others) got a letter saying I had 11 days to remove the van. My other car is only a small 2 seater.

I appealed to city council, had my closest 15 neighbors signed approval and 6 of them appear on my behalf. The mayor was ill that night, so only 6 were present. That's when I was told I needed a 2/3 approval of the 7 or 5 votes even though only 6 were present. I foolishly decided to go ahead. I got 4 approval votes & therefore lost.

I am now deeply depressed and have lost 10# of weight. This van is a multipurpose vehicle, used to tow my boat to the city launch ramp where I have a season launch permit, used as a passenger van, as a van to move large items, as well as a c amper on my frequent trips.

I have contacted my attornies; cost to take through trial = $16,000. Too much. I can try to alter my appeal & file another, I can ask for a rehearing or ordinance interpretation or try to get the ordinance amended. The mayor seems sympathetic & probably would have voted for me. The city atty even seemed sympathetic. They are trying to give me an extension through Aug 2004, as permit holders were given. That would give time for my options to develop. There are 3 council seats up for election Nov 4. One of the no voters is not rerunning. I have spoken to 6 0f the 7 candidates, they all seemed likely to support me. I have also decided to move as a final option should all others fail. I do not want to as I have lived here over 22 years. My neighbors do not want this either.

There is much more I could write, but these are the main points.

Steve
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Old 10-25-2003, 12:07 PM   #96
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Hi, Steve...

Welcome to the world of politics. My advice is worth just as much as the next guy's so I thought I'd give it...

Dont' do anything right now. It sounds as though you've already done your homework for the most part.

Wait until AFTER the election, then ask for a re-hearing immediately AFTER the new council is seated. Continue to lobby with the individual council members before you have your hearing. Be up-front with them and ask them "will you support me with your vote in the council chambers?" That will force them to get off the fence and tell you whether or not you'll have the support you need when it comes to the vote. If you have the necessary majority, then ask for the vote. If you don't, continue to lobby until you do. Feel free to be a pain-in-the-a** to those council persons who don't want to vote your way. I suspect you'll get the council to go along... most small-town council members want the on-going approval of their citizens.

Best of luck, and keep us posted.

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Old 10-25-2003, 03:11 PM   #97
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Lightbulb Simple!

Register the 19' vehicle as a van, even if you have to retitle out of state. With a van title, it will be easy to defend as primary transportation.
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:30 PM   #98
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What does your insurance policy list this vehicle as? Or the manufacturer's discription? That information may be helpful to your cause.

Good Luck,

suz (also a Michiganian)
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Old 10-26-2003, 09:23 AM   #99
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Trailers and Zoning Ordinances

This is a very interesting thread (long though it is) for someone who is both a trailer owner and former zoning administrator. In my experience, zoning ordinances are a lot like tax regulations--everyone's an expert but few really know the law.

I sympathize completely with folks who are caught in the middle of a zoning violation. There is nothing worse than having to deal with pointy-headed bureaucrats over such problems.

On the other hand, it is easy to blame one's problem on a civil servant trying to enforce a law on the books, and forget that it is one's obligation to know local rules. Zoning laws are no different than speed limits: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Perhaps I can offer some general principals about zoning laws that will help members of this forum stay out of trouble with local zoning officials.

1. Before storing a trailer on your property (or parking it on the street) make sure that there is not a covenant or restriction preventing that. Subdivisions typically prevent this. If you're not sure, check your deed. If there is such a covenant, then you agreed to abide by it when you signed the deed.

2. Of course, there is nothing preventing you from ignoring such a covenant as long as it is not enforced. Enforcement is what homeowners' associations are responsible for. Do HOAs usually do that? No. Most HOAs don't have the money to hire a lawyer and fight you in court. But if your HOA enforces the covenant, and you are in violation of it, you will in all probability lose.

3. Covenants and zoning regulations are not the same thing. Covenants are part of private agreements between buyer and seller. This is a contractual arrangment, not a zoning ordinance. Some governmental jurisdictions may enforce covenants, but most do not. Just because you meet zoning requirements does not mean you are in compliance with your covenants (or vice-versa).

4. Most jurisdictions don't have the money to hire zoning inspectors. Therefore, their zoning enforcement is driven by complaints. That may not seem fair, but no one I know advocates raising taxes to hire zoning inspectors to make the system more equitable.

5. Turning in other zoning violations when you yourself get caught is generally not a good idea, as satisfying as it may seem. Typically, the motivation for doing so is to make work for the zoning folks--which it does--but mostly you end creating ill will and neighborhood resentment that lasts long after the zoning violation is forgotten.

5. Zoning ordinances always permit a way out for the most difficult situations: the variance. If you think you have been unfairly treated by zoning enforcement, you may request special treatment through a variance procedure. Technically, you are asking to "vary" the particular standard that prevents you from storing your trailer where to want to. Generally, in requesting a variance you must show that a "hardship" (or some similar situation) has been imposed on you by enforcement of the particular zoning provision. Maybe you can make that case or maybe you can't, there is no guarantee. However, in many juridictions storing or parking a trailer where it is not permitted in the first place will be defined as a "self-imposed hardship" for which a variance cannot be granted.

6. Because a zoning violations involve technical and legal considerations, you might want to obtain the advice of a land use attorney if you plan to fight the charge. In many cases, a little time with a lawyer who knows the local zoning ordinance well can give you a good idea of what you are up against and what you need to do to fight it effectively. In many cases, the zoning staff will be more than willing to give you the names of experienced land use lawyers. Zoning staff actually prefer dealing with knowledgeable parties because there will be fewer time-wasting irrelevancies to deal with.

7. Living or working out of your trailer is a whole 'nother set of problems, not just for zoning but for the board of health and building department as well. If you plan to do either, I strongly suggest you talk to all three departments first.

8. It's worth keeping in mind that zoning regulations are part of the local planning program which is owned by the community--that's you. If you don't like some of the provisions you have the absolute right (within constitutional limits) to change them. Every ordinance can be amended. Don't just complain, get out there and do something about it.

I hope this helps. Keep in mind that these comments are general in nature. Each community does things a little differently. It's not hard to review your community's zoning ordinance. Many are online now. Most libraries have copies of local plans and zoning ordinances. If nothing else, call your local planning office for a copy.
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Old 10-26-2003, 10:47 AM   #100
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Steve, it seems to me that your use should be grandfathered in. I do not understand why they told you you could, then told you, you could not.

Your first mistake was going to them, for an appeal. In these kinds of situations, it is better to "seek forgiveness, than to ask permission. Just lie low, and let them approach you.

I would be contacting a real estate agent. Not my kind of place to live.
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