Marijuana Smoke Bothering You?

At Mediation Services we have been getting calls like these: I’m getting an allergic reaction to all the smoke coming up through the vents – it’s even in my bedroom! They smoke outside on their balcony, and it comes right up to me – I can’t enjoy being outside anymore! The smoke blows from their porch across into our yard – I don’t want my kids exposed to pot smoke! Since recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, there is more exposure to second-hand pot smoke than when people were smoking in private, away from the eyes of law enforcement.  Of course, there is still second-hand cigarette smoke to deal with, too.  Police usually don’t have authority to do anything about it, as long as the smoker is an adult and is smoking on his/her own property.  Some apartment complexes and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) are considering regulating where people can smoke.  One difficulty is defining how much odor it takes to be considered a “nuisance.” It seems to be worst in apartment buildings and condos, where the venting may allow smoke to travel from one unit to another, or where people smoke on a nearby balcony and the fumes spread to sting your eyes and nose. You are not alone, but what can you do? Consider politely asking the smoking neighbors to help. They may not even be aware that their smoke is drifting into your space, and there may be things that both of you can do to mitigate the problem.  Air filters, fans, and deodorizers can help.  Maybe your neighbor would be willing to smoke inside, then go...

My Neighbor’s Yard is an Eyesore!

Do you find yourself thinking these thoughts? She has weeds growing three feet high – it makes the whole neighborhood look trashy, and the weeds spread into my yard! He has two junk cars rusting in the yard, but he says they are “classics” he’s going to restore. They have broken toys and garbage all over the place, and they never clean it up.  I think there are rats over there! These are some of the most common neighbor complaints JCMS hears.  If you take the time to keep your home looking nice, it can be upsetting to have a neighbor who doesn’t. There are many reasons people don’t keep up their yards.  Sometimes older people or those with health issues have trouble doing yard work.  A single parent may be overwhelmed just keeping the household running.  One person’s treasure is another person’s trash.  Maybe your neighbor just doesn’t think the appearance of the yard is very important. If you are comfortable doing so, you can talk (politely and respectfully) to your neighbor.  Maybe he/she isn’t aware that the old cars bother you.  You could provide the name of your yard care people.  Perhaps you could even offer a little bit of help with cleanup or mowing. You might be planning to put your house on the market, and you could mention courteously that you can get a better price if the neighborhood looks nice.  People are sensitive about what they perceive as criticism, so be prepared to stay calm.  If your neighbor takes offense at what you say, back off – don’t let the situation get out of...

Do Neighborhood Animal Odors Drive you Inside?

Jefferson County is home to many animals, including pets and livestock, especially since Jefferson County decided to allow backyard chickens and dwarf goats.  All these animals, particularly in urban areas, can cause conflicts. People tell JCMS: My neighbors have horses, and pile their manure at the fence right next to my house – it stinks, and it draws flies! There are 3 dogs next door, and the owner never cleans up after them – it’s a health hazard and it smells really bad. He keeps goats and chickens, and the odor can be overwhelming when it’s warm outside! It’s not that I don’t like animals – I do, but what can I do about the smell? Unpleasant odors can become very strong once the weather heats up, and piles of livestock manure and dog poop can be unhealthy, unsightly and offensive.  Some people complain about the disagreeable aromas.  While keeping the animals may be legal, many people don’t want the resulting scent drifting into their space. If you are comfortable doing so, you can talk (politely and respectfully) to your neighbor.  Maybe he/she isn’t aware that the odors are drifting your way.  Some people may not react well to statements that their animals are causing a problem.  If you are concerned about your neighbor’s reaction, you could try leaving a polite note for them, stating your concerns.  If your neighbor takes offense at what you say, back off – don’t escalate the situation. If a calm conversation doesn’t work, most municipalities have nuisance laws and code enforcement departments, and neighborhoods with homeowners’ associations have their own regulations.  You can...