After Homeowner Discovers Neighbors Frequently Trespassing, He Fences His Land but Ignites a Revolt.
The Original Poster (OP) finds himself in an unexpected conflict after purchasing a tranquil property with lake access, only to discover that his neighbors have long used it as a communal park. Despite OP’s attempts to assert his ownership, the situation escalates, leading to a neighborhood outcry.
A Tranquil Purchase
OP purchases several acres of beautiful wooded property, including a peninsula that stretches into a large lake. This space provides a breathtaking lakefront view and a private beach. Unknown to OP, this area has been used by locals for their water activities and communal enjoyment.
The Unwanted Procession
Soon after settling in, OP is surprised by regular streams of people traversing his property to reach the water. People launch their boats via OP’s long driveway, which reaches all the way to the lake, treating the property as public space. OP realizes his tranquil purchase is busier than he expected.
Assuming this trespassing is due to his initial absence from the property, OP starts making his presence known. He greets the trespassers, informing them of his recent move and ownership of the land. However, this doesn’t bring much change.
The Firm Stance
OP decides to take a more direct approach to assert his rights. He starts confronting people, requesting they refrain from trespassing on his property. Despite his efforts, the unwelcome visits continue unabated.
Fed up with the lack of respect for his boundaries, OP erects a fence and installs signs proclaiming “private property.” He also lets his dogs roam the property freely to deter trespassers. This move stirs up animosity from the neighbors.
One neighbor interprets OP’s fence and unleashed dogs as an act of aggression. She confronts OP, complaining about the dogs barking at her kids, who had tried to access the beach via his property. She reveals that the property has traditionally been the neighborhood’s access point to the lake.
OP confirms the neighbor’s claim about the property being a communal space. It turns out the fire pit, tables, and park-like features on the property were erected by the neighborhood years back, as the past owner never cared to share the land. OP finds himself in a situation where he’s unintentionally disrupted a long-standing tradition.
The Conflict of Comfort
While sympathizing with the neighbors’ loss of convenience, OP isn’t comfortable with his yard becoming a public pathway. He grapples with the moral conundrum of preserving his privacy versus upholding an established neighborhood tradition. He wonders if he’s being unreasonable by asserting his rightful ownership.
OP consults his attorney to ensure he’s within his rights to restrict access to the property. The lawyer confirms that there is no easement and that OP legally owns the shoreline. This clarification boosts OP’s confidence in his decision.
OP hangs a sign on his fence that there are two public parks with boat launches and docks nearby for the neighbors to use. Although these are a few miles away, OP insists that this alternative would only add about fifteen minutes to the neighbors’ journey. He hopes this compromise will alleviate some tension.
After unrest continues in the neighborhood, OP considers a compromise. He contemplates a way to allow boaters to pull up and enjoy the waterfront without invading his privacy or endangering his dogs. OP appreciates the allure of the waterfront and seeks a resolution that respects all parties involved.
Landscaping for Peace
OP starts devising a landscaping plan that demarcates the waterfront into public and private zones. His intention is to create an area where boaters can dock, enjoy the waterfront, and still respect their privacy. This plan aims to balance everyone’s interests while ensuring safety for all.
Reactions to the Compromise
OP’s proposal received mixed reactions from the neighbors. Some appreciate his efforts in finding a compromise, while others persist in their demands for unrestricted access and the ability to launch their boat from his shoreline.
The Test of Time
Despite the initial backlash and ongoing tensions, OP is hopeful measures will begin to slowly change the neighborhood dynamics. The conflict, while not entirely resolved, seems to be evolving into a quieter dispute.
Is The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:
One reader said, “You can bet dollars to donuts that if someone gets hurt or drowns, they won’t hesitate to sue you.”
Another responder wrote: “Your property, you can do what you want with it. You also get to have privacy on the lot you bought. Your dogs can also roam on your fenced property.”
A different person states, “Your comfort level and you would be assuming liability if anyone got hurt.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by this thread.
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