How do I Get my Noisy Neighbor to Stop Using our Shared Driveway for his Business?

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“My neighbor runs a large landscaping business on two residentially zoned contiguous parcels behind my property. He is allowed to operate a business on these parcels by the Township because one of the parcels is considered “grandfathered-in” with non-conforming business zoning. Although this landscaping business has direct access to a road behind his property which runs through a neighborhood, all his traffic uses my driveway, which I share with a neighbor on the east side. Note, my driveway accesses a main road. The neighbor with whom I share the driveway is now renting his property and his parking area is located near the main road. This neighbor has even allowed the landscaper to put up signage on his property. Since my parking area is located in front of my garage which is further down the driveway toward the gate of the landscaper’s property, I am constantly having confrontations and stand-offs using my driveway. The speed size and increasing volume of the large trucks is overwhelming. My family and I have been harassed and intimidated since the day we moved in five years ago with four police reports to prove this. The owner refuses to speak with me on this issue even when I requested a meeting though a Town Councilor. The facts are that I do not have an easement on my title that applies to this business’ use of my driveway. The Township says he can use it because its non-conforming status. The local lawyer that I contacted said this business can use my driveway and if I “try to stop him I’d go to jail”: Note, when I first moved in 5 years ago, this property had its zoning designation changed from residential to commercial in the County computer system without a hearing or notice etc. I sent a letter to the DA who chose to ignore it. So, that episode is an example of the environment that I’m working in. My question, how do I get back control of my driveway and ideally, make the business go out the other entrance?”

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You’re starting from a false assumption, that you used to have control over the driveway that you can somehow get back. You’ve had three experts who are much better positioned, and know all the facts, tell you that you have no legal basis to stop this use. I’m not going to tell you different unless you have a reason for it.

Clearly, that doesn’t mean that your neighbor has the right to do anything illegal just because he has a driveway. If he goes beyond what he has the right to do there, you can certainly take legal steps to stop it.

Short of that, I think you’re not taking legal action, you’re negotiating. If you can offer your neighbor something–usually money, but not always–he may volunteer to give up his rights.

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Author: House Attorney

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