What are my rights?
Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:07 PM
A while back I moved into a new subdivision, it was partly chosen because it had dark skies. Recently the property next to me was sold and a new owner moved it. In short order the new neighbor started adding outdoor lights to their property. Now my property is bathed in their light. What are my rights? Can I demand that they aim the lights to only shine on their property? Or am I simply out of luck?
Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:40 PM
Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:43 PM
Have you tried talking to your neighbor?
First order of business is to make peace with your neighbor.
That has been gone over a lot in these threads. It could be that he doesn't know what's going on.
Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:44 PM
Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:19 PM
What are my rights? Can I demand that they aim the lights to only shine on their property? Or am I simply out of luck?
A good neighbor approach is always best, but it never hurts to know your legal rights. These vary by location so the starting point is to lookup (often online) any state or local ordinance or public policy declaration that could apply. If there is an ordinance then you have to find out the enforcement mechanism. The ordinance may specify the enforcement procedure; even so you should ask the town officials what they actually do.
Establishing a relationship with the local government staff might be one of the most important steps you can take. You might discover for example that they do not enforce the ordinance or have an interpretation that you need to understand. If your town enforces the ordinance then that is your path if friendly persuasion fails.
If the ordinance is not enforced, you might discover that you cannot compel enforcement. That opens two options, one is to work to change the policy (slow and uncertain) and the other is to seek civil relief in court (expensive and uncertain). Small claims court is an option, if you do have a good case.
If there is no ordinance, you can raise the legal argument that the lights infringe on your right to the peaceful enjoyment of your property. This is a valid legal point, but you must still make a case. In some areas, the courts prefer that this sort of dispute go to arbitration. Some municipalities encourage it also. Arbitrators favor compromise, or although they must deny it, the party paying the bill.
So back to the first point, try to find an informal resolution and offer some sort of compromise, before going formal. If it looks as if this might escalate, document the process. If you have meetings, make good notes and send an email that summarizes the meeting. Keep the tone calm and neighborly. Passion and time distort memory. Be honest about it, but also remember that he who writes the notes is writing the history.
Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:00 PM
Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:07 PM
Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:38 PM
- BarryBrown likes this
Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:40 PM
Posted 13 July 2014 - 07:43 PM
It's been awhile since my last post to this thread. And I can add that my issue has been mostly resolved. Finally had a situation where I was able to broach the light pollution subject with my next door neighbor. It happened during a conversation with him that ensued after I cleared his driveway of snow with my new snow blower. He was so grateful that he asked that one question I was hoping for: Thanks for the snow blowing, is there anything I can do for you? Well......... Yes as a matter of fact...... He was very cool about it and he even admitted that his lights were too bright. Now things are much better. He didn't turn off all the lights, but he replaced all the high wattage bulbs with one that had more appropriate wattage. So, it's not perfect, but it's a whole lot better than it was and I can live with it.
So, it just goes to show that given a little time and the right situation anything can be worked out. And it helps to have a snow blower!
Posted 16 July 2014 - 04:26 PM
I have one neighbor with a nuisance porch light, but she turns it off whenever I ask. Sometimes she comes out to smoke late at night, and if she notices me in the yard she'll keep it off. Real nice lady. The power company, on the other hand, has ignored every request I've made to have the street lights screened or shaded. In my experience, dealing with individuals is often easier than dealing with corporations.
Posted 18 July 2014 - 05:10 AM
Snowblow my driveway and present me with cookies and I'd shut my hydro off!
So far I have cookies for bribery. I've also thought of a deal where I could snow-blow his driveway this winter
Posted 18 July 2014 - 11:32 AM
At some point, I mentioned light pollution. I invite them over to look all the time and we chat about astronomy.
Now, every time I setup my telescope, they turn them off without me asking. They even offered to let me stay at a cabin they own withing a few minutes of Cherry Springs.
I would be nice, offer them a good view, and then bring up LP. Even without mentioning their lights.