Author Topic: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?  (Read 2979 times)

Offline Wraith

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New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« on: September 28, 2018, 08:45:43 AM »
Hey folks, we (family of 6) recently bought a house with 20 acres. We have been in the house now for 3 months-ish and had to file for an ordinance exemption to be able to run our small business out of the house (residential zoning law). Turns out that my neighbor is fundamentally opposed to me changing anything about the property as the previous owner allowed him to use the land as his (my neighbors) personal recreational area and park as long as he maintained the trails, something that I will not allow. So of course he shows up to the meeting and rants for 90 minutes and then the zoning board agrees with me and I get my exemption. Afterwards, on the way out of the county building, the neighbor makes a bunch of veiled threats that "this isn't over" and "there will be more consequences than I know". I have 4 children and really don't take a threat to my family lightly but I don't want to escalate this. I already plan to talk to our county sheriffs dept to make sure I understand their responses if he was to approach my family but I would really like to limit his ability to come onto my property. We share a 1800' property line that he has cut multiple trail heads into to walk my property. I thought about stringing a barbed wire fence down the line and then also remembered Jack talking on one of the episodes of a hedgerow plant that has vicious thorns that I could plant but I cannot find the episode. Is there something I could plant that would fill in a hedge row that I don't have to worry about being too invasive to the rest of my property? Are there other option that you all would recommend? I have no doubt in my mind that if he chose to approach my wife and kids the way he did me the last time (came walking through the woods with 18" machete in hands) my wife would shoot him. Mama bear does NOT play. I need options and I need them quick.

Offline Redman

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2018, 08:58:35 AM »
" I have no doubt in my mind that if he chose to approach my wife and kids the way he did me the last time (came walking through the woods with 18" machete in hands) my wife would shoot him. Mama bear does NOT play. I need options and I need them quick."

If he was on your property coming toward you with a machete I would say you have missed an excellent opportunity to have the Sheriff's Dept. visit with him. No witness? He was trespassing and you may have felt threatened. I doubt the Sheriff's Dept. would take that lightly if they new all the circumstances. What state? Do they have a Castle Doctrine?

Offline Wraith

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2018, 10:43:30 AM »
@Redman yeah only witness to that was my 6 year old daughter. We'll be installing cameras this weekend around the house and out buildings to have some evidence in the future.

Offline DDJ

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2018, 11:15:38 AM »
I would start with "No Trespassing" signs to be clear you do not want him on the property.  Perhaps a trail camera or 2.  Get an instance or 2 logged with the Sherriff office. 

In my opinion the barbed wire idea is likely faster, it does not grow time, and is not susceptible to roundup or poor soil, water, or light.  I would follow that up with a planting.  Something as simple as blackberries (not the thorn less ones) could be trained to fill in that property line and give food too.  They could also use that trellis (made of "inexpensive" barbed wire wink, wink, nudge, nudge) you are stringing to start. 

Go passive aggressive if you can switch from concealed carry to open at least a little when you are on that side of the property.  Watch your backside, prepare to defend any action you may be forced to take.

Look at your cell phone, I know the last 2 I have had have the rear facing camera (side without the display) that will sit above my shirt pocket on many shirts.  I would and have often thought learning to quickly turn it on to record from that position would be a good skill to master. 

Learn to deescalate, so you are not being the aggressor.  That is something lot of us testosterone based life forms (men) are poor at that especially when the right buttons are pushed, and his actions find some sensitive ones.  Getting yelled at by someone attempting to intimidate is not something that we can keep our heads about us during, but being calm and not taking it back into his face so that no one knows who threw the first punch will go a long way.  I am NOT saying cower or run away because he will win but be calm and smart. 

Depending on the size and number of the trail heads you could drop trees or create a brush pile on the trails. 

Those are the first though that comes to mind.  I am sure you do not want to spend a lot of time and money on this guy he is not worth it.  Spending it in court if he pushes too far it not a plan either. 

Harder to do some of these than other and I am not sure I could let an unfriendly guy with a machete get with in 50 feet of me would ever be easy.  Staying calm and smart at that time not bloody likely.

Online David in MN

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 11:53:02 AM »
Document, document, document.

Develop your relationship with local law enforcement and make sure they record any interaction. If you have evidence and a paper trail you might find it easier to obtain legal protection.

A machete in the woods? Sounds a lot like me. Of course I wouldn't wave it around kids. Understand you're in a gray area so you need to document this stuff if it does escalate.

I'd also suggest rethinking your position. If you can let him use your land without impacting your life maybe that's best. The "I'm planning on putting up an orchard in a couple years" conversation is a lot easier than the "get off my lawn" conversation. Sometimes a gentle transition is easier. And make sure you understand why he wants what he wants. Basically don't get to fisticuffs if a beer would solve everything.

And don't run to pistols. I've seen neighbors escalate and end up shooting up each others' houses. It's a mess. Even if you are 100% totally in the right you might end up paying lawyer bills as some disaster gets filtered through the courts.

Slow down, talk it out, and if necessary do the steps to get a legal injunction.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2018, 09:41:35 AM »
My, my... it does seem to me that this situation should have been disclosed to you by the seller. Perhaps you can find out a little about the history by talking to him/her? Does the guy have any acreage of his own?

It does seem like the machete was probably his way of "maintaining the trails", but most civilized people would want to talk to the new owner before assuming the status quo remains as the property changes hands. It would be good to know if you are dealing with a guy who is a little "cocoa puffs" before getting too far down the line.

As David mentions, documentation would be good... keeping your phone where you can film him during any contact would be a good thing... and the cameras also will be important. Since you were not informed of any existing agreements with the neighbor that conveyed with the property, it certainly seems that you are within your rights to keep him off your property. 20 acres is hard to police unless you are home all the time, though... I agree with the fence to start, notifying the sheriff's office if you have any more incidents with him. It may not hurt to go in on a fact-finding mission. Maybe they will let you know, as a matter of public record, if the guy has had any conflicts with other neighbors in the area.

Offline Carl

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 09:55:44 AM »
  Have you taken time to talk to the neighbor and determine his motives as he can be a real asset as to keeping an eye on your land and even maintaining access trails as long as control and ownership is not being questioned.

I read again your first post and see that some attempt at communications has been done. Post the land for no tresspass and discover the local laws on such land and get to know the local lawmen and perhaps things will stabilize.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 10:02:08 AM by Carl »

Offline Wraith

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 12:41:23 PM »
After speaking with some of the other neighbors, especially the one on the other side of Mr psycho, it appears that he is a special kind of nuts. From what I can gather, Mr Psycho doesn't believe property can be owned. It is just as much his as it is mine. He also believes that firearms only belong on the battlefield so when I or the other neighbor target shoot Mr. Psycho "comes a runnin with his machete" (neighbors quote) to yell and scream and call the cops that you were shooting at him. Apparently the other neighbor is the county sniper and has been shooting with other officers including the sheriff when the cops were called the last time. Mr. Psycho got really pissed when the cops showed up and didn't do anything. So barbed wire fence line and "no trespassing" signs are on my to do list now.

Offline scoop

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 04:09:01 PM »
Mr Psycho doesn't believe property can be owned. It is just as much his as it is mine.

I'd bet money he doesn't believe the other way around.

If you haven't already, take a close survey of your property and make sure he's not doing something illegal on it.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2018, 04:47:25 PM »
I'm not a fan of barbed wire, but understand the need.  I'd go with the no trespassing signs and trail cams.  I'd put a no trespassing sign on a post in the middle of the trail he uses regularly and hide a trail cam watching the sign.  I'd also make sure that there's plenty of cameras around the property.  It's only a matter of time before he does some damage.

Offline Redman

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2018, 05:18:04 PM »
After speaking with some of the other neighbors, especially the one on the other side of Mr psycho, it appears that he is a special kind of nuts. From what I can gather, Mr Psycho doesn't believe property can be owned. It is just as much his as it is mine. He also believes that firearms only belong on the battlefield so when I or the other neighbor target shoot Mr. Psycho "comes a runnin with his machete" (neighbors quote) to yell and scream and call the cops that you were shooting at him. Apparently the other neighbor is the county sniper and has been shooting with other officers including the sheriff when the cops were called the last time. Mr. Psycho got really pissed when the cops showed up and didn't do anything. So barbed wire fence line and "no trespassing" signs are on my to do list now.

As someone has suggested check into getting and injunction. CYA

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2018, 05:53:01 PM »
Apparently the other neighbor is the county sniper and has been shooting with other officers including the sheriff when the cops were called the last time. Mr. Psycho got really pissed when the cops showed up and didn't do anything.
It sounds like you already have the local sheriff's office on your side.  Talk to this neighbor, he likely has some good advice on the matter.  At the very least, if the law gets called you'll be on speaking terms with them, while "Ol' Machete Bob" will be the one with explaining to do.

Offline Stwood

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2018, 07:42:11 PM »
My first thought is to go buy the special purple property line paint and mark your line on the brush and trees.
Yes there is a special purple color that is a known *no trespassing* mark.
No need to buy signs that he can rip down.

Any hardware, lumber yard in your area should have it.

Offline Wraith

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 05:52:31 AM »
My first thought is to go buy the special purple property line paint and mark your line on the brush and trees.
Yes there is a special purple color that is a known *no trespassing* mark.

Unfortunately Indiana hasn't adopted the Purple paint law. I has been proposed a few times but keeps getting shot down because of the pork that is being added to the bill. I will get signage and post them this weekend. It just sucks that I have to deal with this nimrod. 'Tis life...

thanks for all the recommendations everyone.

Offline Stwood

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 06:21:09 AM »
Unfortunately Indiana hasn't adopted the Purple paint law.


Arrrrgh. Well good luck and watch your back while in the woods.

Offline bcksknr

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 08:10:13 AM »
     While it may not make the situation much better, if you've taken the good advice above, you could also make the trails impassable, assuming you don't want to use them yourself. Does he enter you property on foot or with an ATV? A few downed trees and some big potholes could slow that down. Do you feel that he is hunting on your land? Our Department of Natural Resources takes reports of trespassers hunting very seriously. Trailcams that would clearly show him "lurking" on your property or especially near your home with a machete, could prompt legal action.
     I had to have a lawyer send a letter to a neighbor who was diverting runoff onto my property causing damage (cost me $150). Changed the situation immediately and when they saw I meant business, we eventually became friends. This guy seems to win by intimidation, talk to the previous owner and I think you will find that he didn't push back very hard.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2018, 08:44:06 PM »
Perhaps this isn't of any interest to you, but if the fellow is a known entity who had a habit of using the property with the former owner's knowledge, it seems like the seller should have disclosed it to you. Perhaps there might be some remedy if the owner is still in the area and you would want to sell it back to him.

Offline The Professor

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2018, 01:57:58 PM »
Unfortunately Indiana hasn't adopted the Purple paint law. I has been proposed a few times but keeps getting shot down because of the pork that is being added to the bill. I will get signage and post them this weekend. It just sucks that I have to deal with this nimrod. 'Tis life...

thanks for all the recommendations everyone.

Ummm. . .yes, we have:

<url>https://www.wthr.com/article/starting-july-1-purple-paint-means-no-trespassing</url>

Just sorta curious, what county are you in?

The  Professor

Offline Wraith

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2018, 12:54:00 PM »
Ummm. . .yes, we have:

<url>https://www.wthr.com/article/starting-july-1-purple-paint-means-no-trespassing</url>

Just sorta curious, what county are you in?

The  Professor

Awesome!!! That was while I was moving into the new house. Maybe that is why I missed it. Now time to buy paint. Thanks Professor. BTW Harrison County
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 01:07:03 PM by Wraith »

Offline Redman

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2018, 06:16:36 PM »
Hmm, got me interested in what is happening in Texas. I don't see a date on the article but it does give a list of states with a purple paint law.

http://us105fm.com/have-you-seen-purple-paint-on-a-fence-post-in-texas-heres-what-it-means/

Offline Sailor

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2018, 05:44:12 AM »
Unfortunately Indiana hasn't adopted the Purple paint law. I has been proposed a few times but keeps getting shot down because of the pork that is being added to the bill. I will get signage and post them this weekend. It just sucks that I have to deal with this nimrod. 'Tis life...

thanks for all the recommendations everyone.

Purple paint law is in effect now in Indiana.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: New home, new psycho neighbor... any advice?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2018, 06:57:12 AM »
I am a HUGE fan of barbed wire fences, but then, I used to be a cattle rancher. Still, they are a very clear and visible indicator of your property. Note that they do have problems though.
1. They can be cut2. The t-posts can be pulled from the ground3. They require labor and money to install, especially setting corner posts, which should be 4-6" wood posts braced together; I rented a Bobcat with an auger to install mine; more money
4. They absolutely need to be on the lot line or set back ONTO YOUR property based on the laws of the county and state5. A surveyor needs to be engaged to ensure #4 is satisfied, i.e., money/cost6. They need to be maintained - regularly; even if the neighbor leaves them alone (unlikely IMHO) there are all sorts of things that can happen to them naturally.

One idea not considered here yet is to have your lawyer send the neighbor a cease and desist letter, sent certified, copying the County Sheriff so they have that on file. Perhaps tied to a court order after you have documentation of the threats and trespassing. That way the Sheriff's deputies deliver it, as people seem to have found ways around denying that certified letters ever get delivered.
And, if the seller did not disclose the informal agreements before the sale, you have legal recourse against them as well. Double check the purchase agreement/contract to ensure that the neighbor's "rights" are not specified in the agreement/contract.

In many states what the neighbor is doing is considered an easement. I know in Illinois, if an easement is not removed in something like 17 years, the property becomes the possession of the easer, not the original owner. The Illinois Railway Museum lots dozens of acres of track rights they had been given by the railroads for abandoned track lines because they did nothing to stop local farmers from using the old track lines and the courts ruled that the land belonged to the farmers.
BTW, I chaired the Planning and Zoning commission for my town in ND, so this neighbor stuff, easements, set-backs, etc. are kinda familiar.