Unfortunately a nasty neighbourly dispute has erupted on our local ‘intranet’.
It is an interesting dilemma though so I am interested in your opinion on the issue (apart from the obvious fact that it doesn’t belong on an intranet!).
Here is it is…
Family A were one of the first families to move into the suburb and upon arrival purchased a tree for their backyard that they liked and that would grow to be a large shady tree. It is now a sizable tree and quite nice looking. However they planted it in the corner of their yard and as a result the branches overhang neighbour’s fences. It is a tree that drops leaves and pollen at different times of the year. Family A had spoken with their neighbours and agreed to keep the tree trimmed at the fenceline so as not to cause problems.
Family B (the original occupants of the neighbouring house) were ok with this, however they sold their house to Family C who decided to install a pool. In conversation family C were advised by family A that the tree was there to stay and while they would do their best to keep it trimmed, it would
divx eternal sunshine of the spotless mind drop leaves etc. It seems Family C were not happy with this arrangement, but proceeded to install their pool.
Recently Family C’s pool filter was clogged by leaves from the aforementioned tree and it cost over $300.00 to fix. Family C then hired a treelopper to prune the tree and agressively (it seems) pruned the tree right back to the fence-line leaving it out of balance and looking odd. Mrs A was deeply hurt by the degree of the pruning and felt the tree was so badly damaged as to be almost worth taking out of the ground…
She then vented on our intranet in an emotional post that was later discovered and responded to by her neighbour. Not surprisingly there are two sides to every story… and I am not in a place to say who is right and wrong here.
But it does raise some interesting questions.
> Do trees have priority over pools if they were planted first? Were Family A quite within their rights to say ‘the tree is staying
and that’s that’?
> Were family C unwise in even installing a pool near a tree like that?
> Are Family C justified in pruning the tree to the boundary even if it affects the health and appearance of the tree?
Was there a ‘third way’ solution that may have been unwieldy but may also have saved relationships? It seems that so often in disputes of all kinds the ‘simple’ solution suits one party or the other, but the ‘third way’ while more time consuming actually brings a more satisfactory result for all. But it requires more effort communication and negotiation. It seems these qualities were lacking in the attempts at resolution.
On one level this seems like a lame neighbourhood dispute that is hardly worth the time it has taken me to describe it here, but on the other hand it is the stuff that makes and breaks neighbourhoods. People find themselves unable to resolve even the simplest of disputes and ill feeling pervades the community. People ‘talk’…
This one has been unfortunately visible for all and now I imagine both parties will feel embarrassed. Its the stuff that would seriously cause people to consider moving house.
So there is the practical issue of ‘right and wrong’ that seems to me to be quite complicated, and then there is the relationship issue where we can simply tell one another to ‘piss off’ because in suburbia it is quite possible to live alongside one another and never actually have to engage.
I have some reflections that I will save for the comments, but what would you see as a way forward for the feuding families?
Is someone in the right and someone in the wrong, or is it just the complicated nature of things in neighbourhoods?