Sunday, April 10, 2005

And miles to go before I sleep...

I am having one of those periods where I can't seem to dance fast enough, or my eyes are bigger than my stomach. Basically, I look at my house and am thinking "we need this and that and this and that and this and that" -oh my! Seriously though, sometimes it's hard to know what you want and know what needs to be done when you cannot for many reasons do it all at the same time.

I do know for a fact that even if we were paying others to do all these little things and for some of them we will be doing just that, that even paying others to do it, you still can't get it done as fast as you'd like. I am witnessing this right now with my boss, who is having a large addition on her home done. Trying to get the designer's attention and get suppliers to respond and then ordering everything on schedule seems like it just does not happen. I wonder if somewhere, there is someone who has experienced a smooth renovation? Probably not. In fact, I wonder if doing the work yourself makes it go smoother in some ways because you can (usually) control yourself better than others...

I also wanted to ask people's opinion on an issue we have come across. They are putting up a fence next door on the new 6 unit condo building. Two things happened: (1) they put the "back side" of the fence facing us and (2) they put the posts right on the property line.

Steve says that "in the old days" people would never put the bad side of a fence facing the neighbors or facing out- does anyone agree with that? What would Robert Frost say? Were people more courteous back in the 1930s or 1940s for example? Steve said there is a company called that makes a fence called a a good-neighbor fence, which is attractive on both sides for you and your neighbors. I looked up this so-called "good-neighbor" fence and it is lovely, but won't work for the rough around the edges area we live in- we need a privacy fence here.

I am pretty sure they should have put the fence 5-6 inches off the property line because if we ever want to put a fence there, there is no where for us to put it. Our sidewalk runs right up to their posts. We will be watching carefully what they do in the backyard this week...

10 comments:

Greg said...

When I was a boy the fence in our backyard had 1X6 dog-eared boards on both side. There was about a 4 inch gap between the boards on both sides. The boards were off-set. Does that make sense? Everyone had privacy and both sides looked good. It may have only taken 20% more boards to make. When I built my fences at my last house I put the good side out for 2 reasons. I wanted it took look nice from the outside, but I also figured it was harder to climb up on if the rails were on my side of the fence.

As for speed of work, it never goes fast enough. I do everything myself. I think I would explode if I had to deal with contractors on the amount of work I'm doing. If things get behind I only have myself to blame.

Grex

The Old Man said...

I've heard stories about setting your fence up both ways--nice side facing you, and nice side facing the neighbors, so I'm not sure what to do there.

However, they should ABSOLUTELY NOT be placing their fence ON the property line. If you have a plat for your property showing that they're on the line, I would take it up with the condo ass'n IMMEDIATELY, informing them that they need to back off, and if they don't comply, I'd take it up with the city.

Then again, that's just me... I firmly believe in being a good neighbor, and if I were putting up a fence between our house and the condo building next door, I'd certainly have a chat with the condo president before going ahead, at the very least to be "neighborly" and let them know what's going on.

-Brian

Ana said...

Some cities here in Canada have the "good neighbour law" which means if you are going to put up a fence, the best side has to face your neighbour. The city can make you take down the fence if you don't comply.

So we all put up fences that look exactly the same on both sides. Duh!

I would complain about posts on the property line.

Emerld said...

How did you get all these people to comment on your blog? That's totally cool. I know what you mean about never being satisfied with the house. I'm the same way.

Jocelyn said...

Jen- I belong to a web ring type deal- Houseblogs.net. There are lots of people posting about their renovation and we all read each others blogs. Nice bunch of people!

Kristin said...

I'm getting all worked up just reading about this! They give you the ugly side AND they put it on your property. And now that the fence is up, there's not much you can do about it without pitching a huge fit and maybe threatening legal action. Maybe you should pitch that huge fit, though. Or at least have a friendly talk with them (that could progress into more if you hit a brick wall of jerkiness).

merideth said...

hey guys...not that unusual to get the ugly side of the fence if you arent the one putting it up. In fact, that's pretty much how you can tell who paid for the fence. If the ugly side faces you, your previous owners got a free fence.

Frequently neighbors will split the cost of the fence and face both sides so they both get a good looking fence. Check out your local codes before you get pissed though, as it's not unusual to set posts right on the property line.

Tom said...

I could use some help on a fence issue. I have a neighbor who rents units out while living on the property. She ended up fencing in what is considered our propoerty to form a court yard for her renters. She treats it like her propoerty and the fenced area is anchored against our building. When we need access to the side of the building we actually need to go through her gate. What can we do? Why pay property tax on something you can't use? Email me if you care to help at Tomzullo@msn.com Thanks!

Tom said...

Can someone help me/ I have a neighbor who assumed our property up to our building for a courtyard. This happened before we moved in. The access to this piece of land is only available when you enter the neighbor's gate. It is a rental property that uses this side as a social gathering spot. Any ideas on how to handle this?

Jocelyn said...

Dear Tom,

What you have posted sounds like a very serious issue. If this is indeed your property, then you need to take action or you are at risk of having your neighbor place a legal easement or right of way on this area/space and you will lose your full property rights.

If you are not sure that this is your land, then you need to have a survey done to have the property line drawn. If you are sure it is yours, you need to go to city hall and ask the clerk how to proceed with this issue. Maybe you can resolve this without an attorney.


After a certain period of time (not sure exactly how long) allowing this use of your private land, it will become a permanent easement. If it was my property, I would not want renters from a neighboring property using it- not to mention any liability issues.

At some point a previous owner (perhaps absent!) must have allowed this to happen. I totally agree if you pay taxes, it should be yours.

I guess the first thing is to find out if it really is your property and then get with the city. Look at the survey from when you purchased the property.

When you go to the city, take pictures etc...

Are you in Chicago? I should have asked that first! I am only familiar with Chicago rules, but I would think laws are smilar elsewhere.

Good luck to you!