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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Hi. We bought a house 2 years ago in Virginia, on a 3 acre lot in residential area. After the sale we found out that next to our property is a 3 acre lot that owner uses as a dump site. Almost every day we see a bunch of trucks go in and out of that property dumping dirt and other stuff, filling it with junk like wires, tires, metal and plastic stuff... We reported him to the police but they told us that they can't do anything because their activity could not be seen from the public view (just from our back yard) and we should contact the city. We contacted the city and they sited him told him to clean up but nothing seems to change. He is not going to stop and he mentioned something about grandfather law... ??? He also raised his land several feet up on his side so water now does not drain properly on our side, rocks and pieces of concrete wash down to my garden when it rains. The smell is horrible from all the dump trucks and bulldozers that work there almost everyday. I can't go and play with my kid outside... or grill...or work in the garden... When I go on the back yard I fill like I live in the junk yard. By the way the guy does not live on that piece of property. He owns a construction company but it registered under his home address in different neighborhood The lot next to us that he is using does not even have an address just a plot #. I can't sell the house and move at this market so it's not an option:-( Could you give us an advise on what should we do and if we could stop this? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    314

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Your local DEP http://www.deq.state.va.us/ and the EPA. Glad that the police have issued a citation. I would also take photographs to document what is occurring. Sometimes a television report can also do a lot to get people to change their habits.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2012
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    4

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Quote Quoting BenT
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    Your local DEP http://www.deq.state.va.us/ and the EPA. Glad that the police have issued a citation. I would also take photographs to document what is occurring. Sometimes a television report can also do a lot to get people to change their habits.
    Hi. Thank you for your reply. You are not the first person who suggest I should contact local TV station. I do not like that my problem would be there for everybody to see but would consider it if you can tell how could they really help here? If police would not change their mind how would TV do it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    314

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Sometimes the government works very slowly. That said - television, or local news can be a double-edged sword with PR that you do not want. I had mentioned that only in the context of a last resort. In my experience someone who is willing to do the wrong thing on a consistent basis (especially dumpers/trash/sewage) should be dealt with first by the proper authorities. I've seen some scary situations occur with illegal dumpers. Safety first.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Quote Quoting BenT
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    Sometimes the government works very slowly. That said - television, or local news can be a double-edged sword with PR that you do not want. I had mentioned that only in the context of a last resort. In my experience someone who is willing to do the wrong thing on a consistent basis (especially dumpers/trash/sewage) should be dealt with first by the proper authorities. I've seen some scary situations occur with illegal dumpers. Safety first.
    I want to understand why the athourities not doing much? He owns a construction company which is registered under his home address. The lot that he ones and uses does not even have an address just a plot #. He brings dirt with dump trucks, dump it, spreads it around with bulldozers one day and then the other day he would dig holes and buries some stuff in the ground and then he would dig dirt with the digger from different spots of his property load his dump trucks with it take it away. It just an example. Is that all legal in residential area? I tried to contact city many times, all they tell me that they cited him... I'm just tiered. Before i contact TV should I try to take him to court first? Will that change anything or do I even have a case here? Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Before i contact TV should I try to take him to court first?
    for what? You do not have a right to take him to court for him breaking laws. That is up to the municipality.


    The only thing, so far, that you have posted that might give you an action would be something within this:

    He also raised his land several feet up on his side so water now does not drain properly on our side, rocks and pieces of concrete wash down to my garden when it rains.
    If he causes damage to your property, you have a right to demand to be compensated for that damage.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,592

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    I would start here:

    http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/...rtingForm.aspx

    I would be specifically mentioning tires and surface water issues.

    Good Luck!

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    1,995

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Quote Quoting masadres
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    Hi. Thank you for your reply. You are not the first person who suggest I should contact local TV station. I do not like that my problem would be there for everybody to see but would consider it if you can tell how could they really help here? If police would not change their mind how would TV do it?
    I had a hospital bill once that my health insurer did not pay, and as it turned out, the insurer was broke. This went on for over six months till the hospital got tired of waiting, and turned the case to collections, against me, because I signed something that said if the insurer didn't pay, I have to pay. That turned out to be illegal as well.

    To make a long story short, I thought of calling the local TV station, but tried a local paper first, contacted the reporter that writes a weekly financial column. He called the CEO of the insurer that Friday, arranged for the interview for the following week whereupon the CEO informed the reporter the bill would be paid that Friday. Not only was it quick, but that was the first time I found out the insurer was broke.

    Alternatively, you can call your local city councilman or whatever the representatives are called down where you are. I had a new builidng being put up two doors down from where I live at the time, and construction debris blew all over the neighborhood for weeks. My neighbors told me that they have called the buildings, fire, police departments, and the mayors offices. If the voice boxes aren't full, they just were told they look into it. Nothing happened.

    One day I heard the neighbors gatherd outside talking about it on the way home, they saw me and asked if I had any ideas, as they're out of it. So I asked the group if anyone tried calling the local councilman, and the reaction I got was "who is he and what is he going to do"?? I explained my wife worked for the city, and I'm told that is the most effective way. My neighbors said if that's the case, if I can call.

    The next day, I called the councilman from work. Apparently, either that very day, or the day after, the buildings, police, sanitation, fire, buildings department all decended on the scene, as well as the traffic department, which no one thought of calling. Buildings issued a citation to stop work, and ordered them to clean up the streets. The neighbors were all stunned and amazed.

    I told the neighbors that the councilman calls the heads of departments right up, or march right into their offices, and don't have to deal with "full voice boxes".

    In my experience, local reps, and the media works well. The paper sent a crew to my house to take a picure of me and my wife and baby girl sitting in our living room, and a picture of me that they put on the front page of the financial section the week the article appeared. So I had people calling me up commenting to me that they read the article, and couldn't believe the insurer can't pay the bill, and upset the hospital had the nerve to place me for collections.

    Just to add desperate times call for desperate measures, and if your situation is desperate, then desparate measures are called for. But if your're shy, then you'll have a long wait I guess.

    Oh, I got a good laugh over this. The collection agency for my hospital bills didn't know of the developments, and called me a week later. I faxed them a copy of the article with my picture in it. I told them that the reporter said he'll do another story on collection agencies harassing people as a followup (which he said he'll do if I get bothered). About 10 minutes after I faxed the article to the collection agency, a supervisor called to apologize saying they have no idea I don't owe the bill. I pinched myself and saying "calling the media really works".

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Your going to need to do some homework if you want something done on this, and your going to need to be specific. You mention that you live in a residential area; is it zoned as residential per the City? They should have a map of this on file and you should go ask to look at it. Its probably part of the Cities Comprehensive planning document. Next, you need to find out what is allowed in the particular zoning district (as per the map). Most residential districts would not allow the type of things your indicating take place next door. That information will be part of the municipal code and you can probably find it online. You'll need to search under the proper zoning district, such as "single family residential" or whatever specific classification your neighborhood falls under in the code. Next, you mention the property might be "grandfathered" into an older use. What this means is the property owner was making use of the property in its CURRENT manner prior to the zoning changing to residential. Two points on this; the fact that the current owner owned the property before a zoning change does not automatically give them the right to use it as they are. You'd want to verify that they are indeed grandfathered for that use with the City. Second, grandfathering for a specific land use does not give them the right to do grading or excavating or some of the other things mentioned without permits or a land use action. Also, many of those activities will be regulated by the State or a watershed district, not just the City. You should try to find out what they were cited for as well, and by whom.

    You've got some homework to do here, you cant just sit on your haunches and expect somebody to go take care of it. If your not getting results from the staff persons your talking to, you can always take it up to the City manager or administrator, or the elected officials in your jurisdiction, but be sure to have your facts in hand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    4

    Default Re: Neighboring Property is Used as a Dump

    Quote Quoting trafeng
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    is it zoned as residential per the City?

    Yes. I looked at city recodrs and it states that his Property Type is RESIDENTIAL LAND located in our neiborhood subdivision.

    Quote Quoting trafeng
    View Post
    Next, you mention the property might be "grandfathered" into an older use. What this means is the property owner was making use of the property in its CURRENT manner prior to the zoning changing to residential.
    No, that is just what he told us but per city record he bought that land decades after the neiborhood was developed and my house was built.


    Quote Quoting trafeng
    View Post
    Two points on this; the fact that the current owner owned the property before a zoning change does not automatically give them the right to use it as they are.
    After i bought the property and did the survey it turns out that he also changed the land on my side, removed trees, raised and leveled land on my side. I tried to prevent him from doing it again by putting sings along my property line so now he is dumping the piles of dirt next to my line of property and may start leveling and raising land again... or it will just be hills like that... Is that considered damage to my property if the leveling happened before I bought it? It's not hard to prove that he did the slope on my property as it's easy to see. The piles happened after I bought it but they are on his side. Thanks.

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