Maybe I should have posted this as "Cartman." Then there's also singing 'My green's better than your green, my green's better than yours. . . .'
Battle Pits Solar Energy Against Trees
The saddest part is it clearly points out that extremism on any side of environmental issues makes all aspects look bad. I'm a big fan of trees, but most people hit by lightning are standing under them... maybe trees should be declared dangerous and have a 30 yard radius of avoidance set around them. Lightning is pure electricity, maybe all forms of electricity should be banned, since it can kill people.
As to the legal issue, if the trees were planted prior to the solar panels, it would appear that the installation was either poorly thought through, or was an act of environmental terrorism to find a creative way to remove protected trees from a property. The basic premise of US Law is, "you are free to stretch out your hand, as long as it isnt hindered by your neighbor's nose" the other side of that should read ... "you should not find new and creative ways to get your nose in front of your neighbor's hand, as the hand may by design inflict pain upon the nose"
Its a shame most conflicts arent resolved by reasonable solutions. Humans are a hazzard to the environment, what then should we do to contain them? :-)
Am I right when I say that the trees in question are the tallest type of tree that grow in North America?
Are they the right "vegetable" to plant in your back yard?
I have large trees around my house, but at sufficient distance so that they will fall short of the house, if they fall. That means that they don't shade the house, either.
The same should apply to neighbours houses - your trees need to be short enough to not fall on their house in a storm!
There are so many species of trees, no need to choose inappropriately tall ones for neighbourhood locations!
In addition, the trees chosen in between houses should be suitable for coppicing or pollarding, so that a sustainable supply of firewood can be harvested whilst ensuring your neighbours get their fair share of the sun.
This information may be used entirely at your own risk.
There is always a way if there is no other way!
So I had this 75-80 foot tall eucalyptus tree in my foot yard. As of 51 weeks ago, it's maybe 20 feet tall. Not because of anything I did, I just had to clean it up after several incidents. Euc's are known for trimming themselves. I'm lucky it just all came down in my yard, except on one occasion my truck wasn't all THAT lucky. 3 hours to cut it loose, maybe 6 more to get rid of the mess. Fixing the body might run $1,500 or more, and since it's a diesel and might run forever, it might be worth it.
So the people next door were rather disappointed it was gone. Seems it was keeping the house cool. Suddenly August turned very hot for them. I mentioned the winter might be warmer, but they had central heat, just no air conditioning. I guess it would have put a crimp on the solar if it was installed.
A city is a tough thing. Those people lost there 3 dogs that kept getting out. The animal control took them away not because they were dangerous but because they were LARGE and PLAYFUL. They'd run right at you. By the time the county people arrived, the guy across the street had called the dogs over and put them back in the yard. He offered to go get them, but the animal control says "We can't endanger you." He was a bit put out at that, had they been listening as he told of all the times he'd put them back in the yard? Oh, the fines these people faced, and the county didn't let them have the dogs back.
So I feel lucky of how it turned out with the tree. I had as much as 100 hours into trimming and picking up what fell on its' own in the previous 2 years, then about equal that just cleaning up this final collapse. But that tree going was on my list of things that had to happen before I got solar. Just too much chance that a tree twice as tall as the distance to my house might come down on such expensive work. But it was a touchy subject, me just cutting at it when it was 10 feet from the street. I was worrying the city would come after me about it. If I started on a thick branch and decided I'd had enough for the day, too bad, I would have had to keep going until it came down ON MY TERMS. . . .
WHo dares, WINS!!!!
This story has got nothing to do with environmentalism or extremism. It's just the age-old tale of feuding neighbors taking each other to court. And, predictably, it's about property rights--just like 99% of the neighborhood feuds out there. If it's not about property lines, or one neighbor stealing fruit off of the tree of another, or trespassing, then it's about some other form of encroachment of property or privacy. It just so happens that this time it involves two things that are also relevant to environmentalism: trees and solar panels.
The core issue is really about obstructing structures (in this case a tree). And this too isn't anything new. There's a good reason why most cities have building regulations and zoning ordinances that prohibit structures above a certain height in certain areas or within a certain proximity to other buildings or land. It's a nuisance. Imagine if your next-door neighbor put up a 50 ft. billboard that casts a shadow over your house for half the day. I would be pissed regardless of whether I had solar panels or not. That's just obnoxious, as is planting a row of giant redwood trees in a suburban backyard. And before anyone tries to defend this as environmentalism--a handful of redwoods sitting in the middle of an 80 square mile concrete jungle is not going to do a damn thing for the environment. You are better off petitioning the city to plant more road-side trees, or, better yet, live in the city and don't contribute to urban sprawl, and donate money to reforestation projects or rainforest protection funds. It's a lot more effective than planting over-sized trees in entirely inappropriate places where it will just be cut down in a decade when it outgrows your backyard.
So, no, this has nothing to do with environmental extremism. It has to do with stupidity and selfishness. And, frankly, I'm disappointed in NPR for writing this story with such a sensationalist spin.
Ask me about free graphic design and web development services for non-profit & not-for-profit organizations or discounted services for small-businesses and startups.
Not so fast, mein freund. For your logic to hold, this would have to merely be the latest dustup between longtime combatants; nothing in this story gives that impression. But even if it was, it would still be 100% about environmental extremism, because that's the ONLY issue that was decided in court. Even if this was a Hatfield vs. McCoy situation with one side being without question the bad guy and the other the victim, the legal decision that will be used in deciding further cases ('Stare Decisis,' let the decision stand) is one extreme environmental issue trumping another.
Nuisance can take on many forms. For all the annoyance I've been subjected to on this property rights issue in recent years, I'm actually amused in telling the stories, which I at least think are enlightening here. One neighor on my side decided he didn't want the little slope right at our fence anymore, and instead of only cutting away dirt in his yard, he sent workers into my backyard when noone was here and cut a trench more than a foot deep in my yard. Then our new fence was built more than a foot lower. Now the new owner of that house doesn't like that the dirt I piled in there can't be packed perfectly and mud runs to his in the rain, slowly raising the level at the fence back where it was before.
A more extreme version of the story happens when the new onwer around the block behind me wanted to cut out the slope in his yard that took up some 16 feet before the back fence at a height of 11 feet at the property line and put in a retaining wall. To get around the expense of building the height of the wall in compliance, he TOLD ME (Not asked) he was cutting several feet into my yard and lowering it severa; feet, and I told him no he wasn't. Again, slow as things are for me right now, I gotta work sometime, coming home to find he'd done what he wasn't allowed to do, even telling the inspectors the property line was several feet farther than where he'd cut to. Boy, did he get mad when I said something about it. Hoping to get around it by NOT having me sign the required information form that the neighbors on each side signed to prove everyone knew what was going on. So the new fence was built before I could get dirt piled back to the right height, and there's dirt on my side pushing on the fence. When it rains, the soft dirt lets the fence tilt, and the mud runs. That DIRTBAG has threatened to bring in his "Excellent Real Estate Attorney."
And can you believe this all? There's the OTHER neighbor who previously put in a block wall at the back of his yard at the same time as a new fence that he had built several feet into my yard, obviously to give himself more room, with the block wall and other brickwork coming into in my yard on his side of that fence. (I blame this going to work thing for all these problems) as though to lay claim. One thing turned out well, as the highly substandard fence fell quickly, (He didn't spend near the half I paid for it, obviously) so I warned him NOT to try to build another, I'd take care of it so it would be done correctly. And chased off the clown he hired anyway with the warning he'd be arrested if he tried to build a fence in my yard without my permission. (This being after my work slowed down, I'd be there to get him.) And the owher of that house sqwaked that his drain he was required by law to have was in my yard, which gave him the right to keep the fence over in my yard.
As so many people tell me, the rea; problem is that I'm too nice, and people expect to push me around. Boy are THEY in for a surprise. Would you believe the ONLY homeowner who was reasonable and cooperative is the one who DIDN'T cause the problem? The guy who had bought into the problem also bought into my explanation, accepting that the dirt will be piled up again and again and the level will rise in his yard until the next fence is built at the right height. No more problems.
The guy on the opposite side wasn't too happy when I brought in a crew that not only built the fence in the right place, but cut out any concrete or brickwork that was in my yard. (Besides the back wall, that I'd like to see gone.) The survey for the retaining wall around the block left markings for just where the properly line was, so the ETHICAL contractors that I would hire don't have a problem with something like that. The goofball he'd brought over didn't leave immediately when I threatened to have him arrested, he smugly called HIS attorney, laughing as he put the speakerphone on, only to be shocked when his mouthpiece tells him "He (Myself of course) has rights there and you don't. If you don't leave, you'll go to jail." I still had to jump at him shouting "NOW," but he then got moving and I never saw him again. The neighbor still sqwaked some, but I just told the inspector the story and he said "If you have to, just write another complaint for an encroachment. . . ." Once the city had a reason to pull the permit and look at his yard, he'd have to put in another drain, so it was in his interest to SHUT UP. He did.
Now, about that guy behind me. (Did that inspector say ANOTHER complaint?) You're probably getting the idea it was in HIS interest to shut up also. But because he wouldn't I wrote a complaint on the encroachment in my yard. (I like to calmly get the wheels turning in the right direction. It's the easy way for us nice guys to do things.) The city building office told me everything to put in it, came and took pictures, and told me I not only had the right to fill in the dirt but to also make him pay for it. (But I was content to round up dirt where people were having work done and have something to do at the time when work was slow.) After just a bit more of his red faced carrying on, the neighbor had to listen to the inspector tell him "I talk to excellent real estate attorneys all the time, they always agree with me." A good attorney is not there to help you get away with something, he's there to keep you from making it worse. Although there's not many good attorneys out there. If his is good he was told that any dispute he gets going will cause a reexamination of just how close to the property line the wall REALLY is and what is needed to bring it into compliance. We'll see if there's more trouble from him when the rains come back. (There's more to this than I said, but this is plenty.)
I think it's fair to say that the guy with the trees in the article did not have a good attorney. As Calvin says, the nuisance factor is easy to see. I think if either of the two attorneys involved knew what he was doing he'd have explained it just as Calvin did. The guy with the trees needed to hear that from his own attorney, who was probably more interested in the paycheck. Ah well. I think this particular dispute will be faught over again and again, as more solar panels go in. What about when the trees are already there? When a eucalyptus hasn't fallen yet, but of course will fall sooner or later, with the panels just right there close by? Lily Tomlin spent over $1 million fighting to keep her eucalyptus trees.
I've got an even better story about water rights involving my Mother, but I'll save that in case further points have to be made. The point here though is not about a feud at all. It's about how on the surface of things you think you're free to do whatever with your own yard, good or bad for the environment. But just as they have laws against you cutting down down oak trees in Southern California, they also feel they can decide what you can plant there. Even if you're right that we desperately need the trees you're planting. That is absolutely extreme environmentalism, nothing but.
I know I'm going to regret buying into this, but here goes. Dauntless, has it ever occurred to you when composing your long diatribe, that you are an individual who by your own admission, seems to be unable to get along with any of your neighbours?
I note that you put this down to being to nice! I wonder if we heard your neighbours opinion of you, would it vary slightly? Please spare us the tale of your mothers woe's (It must run in the family!). Suburbia isn't really the best place for cantankerous eccentrics. Find a small town, where people have more room to be accepting. Some small towns could even do with a few constructive eccentrics.
I love trees, but in an urban environment, only those trees which are compatible with the inhabitants structures, and urban dynamics, should be grown.
Like most neighbourhood disputes most can be settled with a little consideration and commonsense!
There are currently 0 users online.
Support V is for Voltage
Disclosure: Monetized by Skimlinks
Communal learning about moving our butts around town without burning fossil fuels.