Toledo Talk

How to Handle Campers & Grass Parking in my 'Hood

We've got a great neighborhood and I would like it to stay that way, in spite of a few foreclosures and a few hoarder houses. My question is, how should I approach the problem of people setting up campers in their driveways and leaving them parked year-round? An ancillary problem is that visitors (and sometimes the homeowners) begin parking their cars on the grass because the campers/boat trailers take up the entire driveway.

If I call the neighborhood code enforcement department, will people find out who made the call? Should I type up a generic note and leave it at everyone's door? It seems like everyone is hardworking and quiet, so I hate to bust their chops over a few small infractions. But with houses for sale around here, I don't want potential new residents to think this is Camperville. Any TTers have experience with a neighborhood cleanup effort like this?

P.S. Everyone has back yards; all the boat trailers and campers could be stashed behind the owners' homes. Also, several of us widened our driveways with bricks & blocks to accommodate extra cars ... there's room for anyone to take the same action. Thanks for your suggestions.

created by viola on May 26, 2014 at 11:01:05 pm     Comments: 27

source      versions


Comments ... #

There was this thread from before.
http://www.toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/162098/Driveway_Camping

posted by MIJeff on May 26, 2014 at 11:49:13 pm     #  

I wish you all the luck in the world. To me it is a no brainer to keep my house, property, and the environment in an attractive condition. I enjoy a nice environment and it helps maintain property values. Unfortunately, so many neighbors have no clue or inclination to do this. Hence, huge numbers of ugly cars in various states of repair, unmowed lawns, trash barrels left out front for convenience, and a generally disheveled appearance is becoming the norm in Toledo.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 27, 2014 at 09:36:39 am     #  

"Also, several of us widened our driveways with bricks & blocks to accommodate extra cars"

Uh oh. Illegal driveway widening.

On topic: the city code allows one day per week for driveway RV/Boat parking for loading and unloading. Outside of that, they need to be parked on a PAVED surface behind the building setback line. Gravel and paver stones don't count. The city is looking for concrete or asphalt.

One day, for idle amusement, I drove around a nice neighborhood near me looking for "technical" violations. Everybody had at least one. Everybody. Fence too high for location/setback/yard, shed too close to property line, parking on grass, illegal driveway widening, pool without fence. I'm amazed at how many campers are actually hooked up, which takes it from code enforcement to health department.

I think that they should cut some slack for boats in the summer. I'm talking about registered boats on registered trailers with plates. We are situated on a great lake and a river runs through our community. It seems to make sense that people would have boats around in the summer. Not talking about the ones I see in side yards under tarps that haven't moved in years and are on rotten tires.

posted by justread on May 27, 2014 at 09:54:49 am     #   2 people liked this

The city does have a number to call for all kinds of problems including yours. 419-936-2020. All calls can be confidential and the city must respond to every call - the complaint will be on an inspectors desk before the day is over (although it might take several days for them to come out and check on the problem). I have used the number several times and each time the problems were corrected within 30 days.

posted by Mike21 on May 27, 2014 at 10:09:52 am     #   1 person liked this

Once when a city council candidate was seeking reelection and going door to door, she commented on the car parked on the grass in my neighbor's yard. I told her that I thought it was tacky, but didn't know what to do. She promised her office would look into it, and when the folks next door got three tickets in three weeks for parking there, they finally moved the car.

Moral of the story: Try calling your district councilperson. They don't want your neighborhood looking crappy, either.

posted by Anniecski on May 27, 2014 at 10:42:39 am     #  

Thanks, Mike & Annie! I try to be tolerant of the summertime boating scene -- in fact, if our party animal neighbors are at the lake instead of their own backyards, it's more peaceful for all of us. I think we're going on 3 years for the driveway camper, though ... time to take action :-)

posted by viola on May 27, 2014 at 11:23:21 am     #  

I live in Old Orchard. I noticed more and more people just leave their trash and recycling bins in front and visible.

Also, I notice more students living in houses in the neighborhood and they generally do not care about things such shoveling snow, mowing lawns...etc. There are two houses next to each other with cars flowing onto the street blocking the sidewalk and taking up all the parking. I call the city and it improves for a few weeks and then after that back to the same old story.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 27, 2014 at 01:46:16 pm     #  

I noticed more and more people just leave their trash and recycling bins in front and visible.

Are you talking about being in front the day before trash pick-up, or more like sitting in the front yard all the time?

posted by madjack on May 27, 2014 at 04:31:57 pm     #  

My question is, how should I approach the problem of people setting up campers in their driveways and leaving them parked year-round?

"You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Alphonse Gabriel Capone

Pick out the houses that piss you off the most and are close to you, then begin an anonymous complaint campaign. File a complaint every three days until the problem goes away.

Alternately, I think you can sue over this, especially if the offenders block the sidewalk. Talk before you sue, sure, but file a suite.

A less attractive but very viable alternative to all these methods, and one that may work a bit faster is to hire a local outlaw motorcycle gang to have a talk with the neighbors. They'll ask nicely the first time, but having a dozen or so Satan's Slaves show up on Saturday afternoon during a family barbeque to talk about the camper that's been parked in your driveway for the past year and a half tends to get results.

posted by madjack on May 27, 2014 at 04:40:27 pm     #  

About the trash bins. I notice more people just leaving them in front or towards the front on the side of the house where they are plainly visible from the street. I guess you could spend all your time fighting with people about it, or contacting the authorities to make them do what they should naturally do, but that is no way to live. The best solution is to find a neighborhood where people think as you do.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 27, 2014 at 05:03:49 pm     #  

"The best solution is to find a neighborhood where people think as you do." You have just explained the flight to suburbs by professional people.

Meanwhile, let's talk about those cans: What did people expect to happen when the city mandated huge ass cans the size of small dumpsters, so big that they need to be lifted by cranes attached to expensive trucks?

I think they look like crap too, but I also understand why people would develop habits of leaving them closer to the street. Especially after a winter with 80+ inches of snow.

Yet the authorities "doing what they naturally do" argued that they would make the city look all clean and tidy.

posted by justread on May 27, 2014 at 07:16:02 pm     #  

ilovetoledo posted at 05:03:49 PM on May 27, 2014:

About the trash bins. I notice more people just leaving them in front or towards the front on the side of the house where they are plainly visible from the street. I guess you could spend all your time fighting with people about it, or contacting the authorities to make them do what they should naturally do, but that is no way to live. The best solution is to find a neighborhood where people think as you do.

I keep mine on the side of the house of the house near the front. I don't see that as an issue. I'm certainly not walking them through my sideyard, through the gate, and into the backyard where my family spends their weekends.

posted by slowsol on May 27, 2014 at 07:26:43 pm     #  

Heh heh. I had a beautifully landscaped path with an opening that framed the gentle curve of our street in the distance. Then the neighbors got their two big-ass cans and parked them you know where ... dead center in the middle of my view from inside the house. Winter is the worst: no deciduous leaves to soften the edges.

posted by viola on May 27, 2014 at 07:52:55 pm     #  

So what if the guy that gets a ticket goes for revenge on all the nicely kept properties around him?

posted by bucknut on May 27, 2014 at 08:15:05 pm     #  

When I was a kid, the garbage cans went in the back. And nice men came early in the morning and carried them to the street.

But even back then, the only view that was guaranteed with purchase of a home was the view of your own property.

posted by justread on May 27, 2014 at 08:20:31 pm     #   1 person liked this

Viola, I agree with you and hopefully you call 936-2020. I wouldn't bother mentioning it to them. They already couldn't care less what you or other neighbors think about it or they wouldn't have parked them there.

The city actually has done a great job handling complaints in my neighborhood. The only way anybody will find out is if you run your mouth to another neighbor about calling. There isn't any reason Toledo residents shouldn't be able to expect reasonable cleanliness and organization regardless of neighborhood.

posted by 6th_Floor on May 27, 2014 at 08:48:05 pm     #   5 people liked this

The fear of escalation and even violence should not be discounted and is another reason just to move. If people think I am jerk, I usually do not mind, for then I think they will not bother me. But when you register a polite complaint with neighbors they tend to go ballistic right away in their pride and arrogance, although what they have to be proud and arrogant about often escapes me. For example junior next door starts parking his monster truck in front of my house and I ask him to park it in front of his. Next thing I know mama comes over and starts cursing me out in an angry fit telling me in so many words what a terrible sob I am. I do not need that. Perhaps a lack of a sense of aesthetics go hand in hand with unstable personality disorders

posted by ilovetoledo on May 27, 2014 at 09:42:15 pm     #   1 person liked this

slowsol posted at 07:26:43 PM on May 27, 2014:
ilovetoledo posted at 05:03:49 PM on May 27, 2014:

About the trash bins. I notice more people just leaving them in front or towards the front on the side of the house where they are plainly visible from the street. I guess you could spend all your time fighting with people about it, or contacting the authorities to make them do what they should naturally do, but that is no way to live. The best solution is to find a neighborhood where people think as you do.

I keep mine on the side of the house of the house near the front. I don't see that as an issue. I'm certainly not walking them through my sideyard, through the gate, and into the backyard where my family spends their weekends.

I think the words "plainly visible" are key and interpretation has to go something like "are they an eyesore?"

My mom kept hers out front, but next to the garage and certainly not unkempt (with the lid up and flies buzzing, for example). She thought it was unreasonable for the city to expect a 74 year old woman to drag two big ass plastic things full of garbage around the house and down a long driveway. And it is. I suppose if someone wanted to make a stink, they could. But two mandated bins, closed, shouldn't piss anyone but the most OCD neighbor off. Two bins overflowing with shit, never brought back to the house, and the lawn decorated with trailer hitches and engine blocks might, however, cause consternation.

posted by oldhometown on May 28, 2014 at 03:21:54 am     #   1 person liked this

Thanks again, guys. I only mentioned the garbage cans as a personal annoyance. I did the creative landscaping in order to block out their ugly van and granny's old car that was kept at the curb (and ticketed repeatedly, until they took it to a junkyard). These guys are elderly and I have to cut them some slack with the unwieldy cans. It's just funny that they ended up positioning the garbage exactly where they did.

BTW this couple also sticks their dryer lint all over my bushes -- well across the property line -- because they believe that birds are magically taking it all away for nesting material. (The birds OUGHT to like it, but they don't take it).

I agree with 6thfloor; I am making good progress with the councilman and the city number.

posted by viola on May 28, 2014 at 12:16:44 pm     #   1 person liked this

Help me out here. Cans are to be placed where they "can't be seen from the street?"

My cans are neatly lined up long the side of my house. This is a "code violation?" lol Why?

posted by Dappling2 on May 29, 2014 at 08:40:01 pm     #  

No. It's just a code "Viola-tion."

posted by justread on May 29, 2014 at 09:15:36 pm     #   3 people liked this

It depends on what you value I guess. I value a nice looking and tidy neighborhood more than the convenience of moving my trash from the back yard to the front for trash day. Personally I find a neighborhood nicer when you cannot see the trash bins and I think the home values are higher in neighborhoods that are nicer looking. People think differently and have different values.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 30, 2014 at 10:56:44 am     #  

I live in Michigan but our cans are on the side of the house behind a fence covered with honeysuckle vines. If it wasn't for the honeysuckle you could see them from the road.

posted by MIJeff on May 30, 2014 at 11:07:26 am     #   1 person liked this

MIJeff posted at 11:07:26 AM on May 30, 2014:

I live in Michigan but our cans are on the side of the house behind a fence covered with honeysuckle vines. If it wasn't for the honeysuckle you could see them from the road.

See this? This right here is a great solution. This is the sort of neighbor I'd enjoy living next door to.

Well, if not for the midnight fireworks, the loud music and the fact that he won't share, I would.

posted by madjack on May 30, 2014 at 12:00:36 pm     #  

Dont do fireworks anymore and you cant have my bud light

posted by MIJeff on May 30, 2014 at 12:30:26 pm     #   1 person liked this

good one, justread! I pushed your "like" button :-)

posted by viola on May 30, 2014 at 05:58:59 pm     #  

Thanks. It was meant in good humor. :)

posted by justread on May 30, 2014 at 06:18:29 pm     #