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My neighbors are going to build an extension to their house in Berkeley. It may have quite a big impact on my house. Is there anyone you'd recommend I could consult with about: (a) likely impact on value of my property, and (b) predicting what kind of impact the new construction is likely to have on air and light and so on in my house? Thanks!
First, you need to know just what it is being planned: Where (in relation to your home) are they planning to build? How tall is the structure they're planning to build? How big a structure is it they're planning to build? How far along in the planning/building process is this plan? (If permits have been issued by The City, you've come to the party too late.)
Then, make an appointment with City of Berkeley Planning Department http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/planning/ Call. Make an appointment. Talk with a City Planner
Then, sometimes there is a way to get to an agreement with ''the folks next door'' that will reduce impact of that larger structure on your family's home, sometimes not.
Our neighbor across the street lights a fire in his fireplace every evening, without fail -- even on the hottest days of the year. Since it's summer, we want to keep our windows open, but then our house fills with the smell of smoke. It's annoying, and I'm kind of worried that breathing all this smoke every day can't be good for our lungs.
We don't feel we can discuss this fruitfully with our neighbor. He's kind of weird, and we're not on friendly terms (though we're not enemies either -- we just don't interact at all). He tends to hold himself aloof, and in 15 years of him living across the street from my husband, the one and only interaction they've ever had was a negative one.
It doesn't seem appropriate for him to be polluting the neighborhood like this on a regular basis. Are there health concerns in breathing so much smoke? Is this just one of those little neighborhood annoyances that we'll have to put up with, or do we have some recourse? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Smoke getting in my eyes
In a word, YES. An alarmist but scientific site is: http://burningissues.org
My spouse is a combustion chemist working with particulates and free radicals, and when we remodeled our house, he insisted we remove all three fireplaces. It's dangerous for people AND the environment to create smoke by burning wood. It should be outlawed. -- Put That in Your Prius and Smoke It
We live in the North berkeley Hills. We have seen the police reports regarding a neighbor who was busted for transportation of Meth (2 oz) for sale. Neighbors have seen glass equipment that could be used for a Meth lab. There is late night activity and odd people coming and going all night. We are forming a Watch group, documenting licenses & visitors and talking to BPD. I've heard of H&S codes that may help us get the City of Attorney's office to file a civil court suit. Has anyone had to deal with type of situation or have any ideas how we can get our neighborhood safe again? Concerned on Cragmont
The Sacramento DA office did in fact file a ''drug abatement'' lawsuit against our neighbors on behalf of the City. This was in response to the numerous calls over several months of issues at the house. Basically, a drug abatement lawsuit has more stringent requirements than a regular civil lawsuit, and is a result of the City getting sick and tired of getting called to go out to a particular address (for example, Code Enforcement had so many calls against the property that they simply tallied up the total number of infractions and delivered them in one large pile of papers, totalling over $10,000!).
We (the neighbors) have banded together via email and share information with one another. We had a community meeting with our POP officers, who coached us on writing ''Declarations'' for the DA to use in the lawsuit.
We have worked very closely with our POP (problem-oriented police) officers; they are the folks you call for non-emergency calls. There are POP officers for each geographic area; they are not many, but they are very available to us. They have helped us understand what we are to do when we see something/someone who isn't supposed to be at the property. We have contacted our city councilman, who has been in touch with the City Attorney's office.
We have tried to contact the homeowners insurance company to let them know about the TWO huge drug raids that happened on our otherwise (and formerly quiet) street, but we are unable to get that information (who the insurance company is). Our hope is that either the company would raise rates to the point the owners could not afford it, or call in the note.
We call the City on every single thing we see: Animal Control (they have two very aggressive dogs that are often out in front, off-leash), Code Enforcement (our neighbors have broken-down cars that sit for weeks, built an illegal dwelling in the backyard, things like that), POP officers for loud music, people working on cars in the street, cars parked in front of our houses in the middle of the night, waiting for their drugs to be ready. Although it has been a long process and is far from over, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the owners will be forced to sell/house will be re-possessed. Please feel free to send me an email if I can offer any assistance to you and your neighbors. Good luck! Claire
I think a man in my apartment building is watching me and my daughter when we play outside. Should I be worried? Should I stop playing outside? I was out in the yard of my huge apartment building with my dog and my daughter and noticed a man leaning on his window sill watching us for about half an hour. He definitely had no shirt on, though the weather here is well below freezing, and I think may have been completely naked, although he could possibly have been wearing low-rider pants. A couple of evenings later, as we were entering the building and walking up the stairs, an apartment door opened, and a man--I think the same fellow, but I can't be sure--was crouching down and stuck just his face through the door and says hello to my 18-month-old daughter. His apartment was completely dark behind him, and he was sort of hiding his body behind the door. I got scared and scooped up my daughter and walked away fast. I had the feeling that he's been watching us for who knows how long, and with who knows what level of interest. Since then, I have spoken with one neighbor who has lived here a long time (we just moved here two months ago), and she says she knows everyone on that floor and there are no weirdos there. I've been basically avoiding the yard for the past few days and am feeling less frightened than I did a few nights ago, but I wondered whether people had information to the effect that peepers usually are or are not dangerous, etc. Meg
I was interested to read all the responses to the dangerous neighbor query. I was the unfortunate object of a "peeping tom"when I was 18, and it was a fairly hardcore and terrifying experience. The episode lasted about 2 months (as far as I know). After various incidents that are too creepy to go into here, the person was apprehended and it was, in fact, a neighbor in my apartment house. This man acted strangely to me in person, too, not just secretly. Once the whole debacle was sorted out, I had to ask myself why I never confronted him about his behavior (I am not especially timid in that respect) but something about him simply creeped me out altogether and I avoided him. So, the moral of my story is this: If a person is of another culture than yours and doesn't understand that his behavior threatens you, you need to firmly explain that to him. Ask a friend (male or not, if it makes you feel more comfortable) to accompany you, go to their door and explain it to them in civil terms. If they are innocent, they will learn something from you; if they are malicious, they will understand that you are not afraid to call them on their behavior. Confront the behavior when it happens, so the person understands that you are going to defend yourself in every situation. For example, when someone is standing partially-hidden in the doorway: pick up your daughter, stop where you are, and ask very loudly and firmly, "What are you doing? Are you trying to scare us?" The person will have to respond, and judging from that response you will know whether or not to make a report to the police.
I think my situation lasted as long as it did because the person threatening me thought I was too scared to do anything about it. Trying to catch him was a lot of work and summoned a lot of fear in me. If you can get your fear out first, then you can deal with the behavior from a position of the clear limits you have set for yourself, and communicated to the person threatening you.
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