What canI do if I have a neighborwho is running a commercial business on a residential property and my local officials are reluctant to help?

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What canI do if I have a neighborwho is running a commercial business on a residential property and my local officials are reluctant to help?

We have contacted our local zoning official and he has stated that he can’t find any zoning variations for their address. Items of concern are: 1. Their are old fuel containers laying unprotected on the ground and all residential water in the area is on site wells. 2. They have structurally altered an existing barn without evidence of a permit. 3. They pile debris on my property line. 4. They have constructed a service road within 5 ft of the property line. 5. They have placed a porta-potty on their property. 6. They run heavy equipment to all hours of the day and night. Should I speak with a real estate attorney? In Chester County, PA/

Asked on March 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should definitely contact an attorney. To the extent that the neighbor is impacting on your property or your rights, you may have a cause of action. Note however that you probably can't enforce requirements that do not actually affect you. For example:

1) Porta-potty smells, hazardous fuel containers, excessive noise at inappropriate times--these are all things that you may be able to take actino on.

2) Altering a barn without a permit--you don't have any standing to bring a legal action to enforce zoning or building codes that don't affect you. Whether they had a permit or not is not really your issue, unless you can show that it does affect your property or violate your rights.

So you should have some causes of action you can bring, but not necessarily all the ones you name.

Also, if local officials won't help, try county or state officials; for example, the state department of environmental protection may be interested in the fuel containers.


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