Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

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Latest post Sat, Aug 31 2013 10:56 PM by karen2222. 10 replies.
  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 4:10 AM

    • HBSam
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    Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    This is going to be a long post, but I'm hoping someone out there can help me out here....please bear with me.

    Two plus months ago, new next door neighbors moved in to our townhome community.  One of the first things they did was put their large propane barbecue grill right up against the common wall that separates our two outside patios.  It also happens to be right under our master bedroom balcony.  

    We live on the end unit and our patio faces southwest.  We live near the ocean and have enjoyed the cross breeze from the ocean on even the hottest of days.  None of the townhomes in our community have central air conditioning and its that cross breeze that allows us to keep ourselves cool.

    The first time the neighbor fired up his BBQ grill, we literally thought there was a fire nearby because we noticed an opaque haze of smoke in our home and then subsequently, our upstairs smoke alarm went off.  I went over to the neighbor's patio area, kindly introduced myself, and asked him if he was going to keep his grill there, and he replied yes.  It had not occurred to me that this person would use his grill as his sole piece of cooking equipment because in subsequent days following, he grilled literally every single day and if we were lucky, twice in a day.  

    As I explained to my neighbor, because we live so close to the beach, the breeze pretty much travels southeast, which picks up the smoke of the grill that is located northwest of our unit and right up against the common wall, the smoke funnels directly into our home.  We have vaulted ceilings which seems to make the smoke linger for hours after they've stopped grilling.

    The smoke is causing our family a lot of stress.  In order for us to avoid the smoke from coming into our home, we need to close all of our windows....which in turn causes the house to jump up into the upper 80s in temperature.  My fiance has an auto-immune disease, and because of her compromised immune system, she's a lot more sensitive and susceptible to the smoke affecting her breathing.  She coughs and once that cough gets going, she's coughing nonstop for the next hour or so.

    I tried being the nice guy, being cordial and speaking to the neighbors.  I'm a very laidback person and I don't get riled up so I asked nicely.  The response I got were just empty words followed by nothing.  How hard is it to move a grill 10-15 feet away from the vicinity of our balcony?

    I've fired off emails to the property management on our property and even spoken with the president of the HOA.  It seems like they're just passing the buck back and forth and the last thing the HOA president told me was that the neighbors were not in violation of any of the CC&Rs (which seems to not have been touched since 1978). I pointed out to him the section called Nuisances which states that: No obnoxious, noxious, or offensive trade or activity shall be carried on upon any Unit or any part of the Project, nor shall anything be done thereonwhich may be, or may become, an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood or which shall in any way interfere with the quiet enjoyment of each of the Owners of his respective Unit or which shall in any way increase the rate of insurance for other Owners."

    The HOA's take: we don't have any legal recourse to tell the neighbor to move their grill.  WHAT??  I thought the HOA can do whatever they deem justifiable.

    We've tried taking matters into our own hands, and tried different things like putting a giant floor fan outside our patio to redirect the smoke.  The neighbor got annoyed by that and erected a wooden(??) 7 foot fence behind the grill so that the fan doesn't affect his grilling.  His reasoning he told me was that the smoke wasn't coming over the wall so he was helping me out.  I don't understand someone's logic in thinking that a fence, no less a wooden one at that, would somehow cause grill smoke to dissipate above 7 feet, when the grill is less that 10 feet total from the bottom part of my balcony.  If my balcony window is open (which its going to be with this heat wave/summer), smoke is going to enter my home period.

    Not only is this a health hazard, its a fire hazard.  Last thing we need is having the neighbor's habit affect our health and the safety of our home and pets.

    Anyone got any advice??  It is very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 4:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    HBSam:
    Anyone got any advice??  It is very much appreciated.

    See a lawyer in your area to find out if there is any legal recourse for you. Where I practice there would be no legal recourse for you here because the government doesn't get so involved in people's lives as to regulate things like the exact place of an outside grill. But CA tends to be more regulation oriented than many other states, and perhaps your locality has some ordinance that would help you.

    HBSam:
    The HOA's take: we don't have any legal recourse to tell the neighbor to move their grill.  WHAT??  I thought the HOA can do whatever they deem justifiable.

    Some HOAs act like they can do whatever they think is justified. That's one of the reasons I choose not to own a home in a community governed by an HOA. But the reality is the HOA is limited in what it can do. Its authority is spelled out in the CC&Rs, the organizing documents for the HOA, as well as the applicable state laws that govern HOAs. 

    Of course, you have the option of installing air conditioning in your unit or selling your unit and moving to someplace else where this isn't a problem.

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 7:53 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    I see your point about that catch all language in the CC&Rs  but I also can see where it is very vague ..to the point that where I ultramalergic  to say dogs  could I demand. HOA bar your keeping a dog next door?

    Your recourse would seem to be to,get enough votes to force the HOA to in force the rule so as to bar or move the grill.....unlikely you can get enough votes? 



  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 9:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    HBSam:
    Anyone got any advice?

    Invite the local Fire Marshall over to take a peek at where the grill is and how close to the wall they have placed it.  It is entirely possible his placement is a fire hazard and the Fire Marshall can force the tenant and the HOA to move the grill. 

    If the guy is a renter see about contacting the owner and speaking to them about their tenant though that is a long shot.

    Unfortunately you don't live in GA.  Their fire laws are so strict that no one living in an multi dwelling unit is permitted to have a grill on their deck/balcony or within 100 feet of the bulding.  The Fire Marshalls are aggressive in enforcing it and will randomly come around and inspect.  Get caught with the grill and the fine can be daunting.  

    I live in MI now and many homes do not have central air either.  We are also having the same heat wave.  I have a small window unit that I purchased for less than $200 from a big box hardware store and it keeps almost the entire house cool without an outrageous electric bill.  It even came with a remote to turn it on or make adjustments without having to get up.  This may be your only real solution.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 9:49 AM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    HBSam:
    It also happens to be right under our master bedroom balcony.

    Do you have any plants/flowers/whatever on your balcony that need watering?  If so, I think you can figure out when they need to be watered.  Not excessively, just need to be watered for a period of time slowly and efficiently.  You pick the time and how much.

    Just saying.

    BTW.  I definitely agree with discussing with the Fire Marshall and/or a local RE attorney for advice.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 9:55 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    DPH:
    Do you have any plants/flowers/whatever on your balcony that need watering?

    An automatic high spray misting sprayer with a motion sense activator might be handy.  

    High energy extreme wattage lighting heating up where the griller stands could also be handy too.  

    I love my grill and use it several times per week even in the winter but I also didn't put it up against the neighbor's fence or windows.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 8:35 PM In reply to

    • HBSam
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    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    Thank you to those of you who replied.

    I think the biggest thing that's missing in this situation is the definition of being considerate of others.  More than most places in the United States, Southern California and Orange County in particular is littered with people who don't care about anyone else but themselves.

    Kindness and consideration are traits that are severly lacking in this problem.  If I'm asking as a neighbor to move their portable grill away from the common wall and the balcony, its not because I have an issue with grilling.  The neighbor said its silly that he can't grill, and he's probably presenting himself to others saying just that.  He fails to understand....you can grill all you want just as long as it doesn't affect me and my household's health and piece of mind.

    The HOA's rules are so general and archiac....we're talking no addendums or changes since 1978.  They keep referring to the fact that they can't tell a neighbor not to grill or where to put it since its not stated in the CC&Rs.  Even though I provided precedence about smoke and a case where a couple won in court over neighbor's smoke (which was cigarettes), they keep referring back to the old regulations.

    I think its so silly that the HOA couldn't ask on the behalf of a neighbor's safety and health to recommend the grill be moved 10-15 feet away from our balcony.  We don't want this to go to court....I detest those who are sue happy, but it looks like it might be my only recourse.  We've lived here for 5 years and they've been here for 90 days and its been the most stressful 3 months I've had in a long time.

    My fiance and I are going to get married and start a family and its imperative that she be healthy when we start trying to have kids.  Her AI disease requires her to take medication and she needs to be well enough to get off those meds.  She's improved so much over the last few years and I fear she's regressing due to the physical and emotional stress.....thus my anger and stress levels are through the roof.

    Thanks for listening and for the tid bits....its helped.

     

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 9:08 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    HBSam:
    More than most places in the United States, Southern California and Orange County in particular is littered with people who don't care about anyone else but themselves.

    Don't kid yourself, there are people exactly like that everywhere.  It is too bad that they don't want to play nice and get along with others, so now you have to decide you to play it.  You can take the high road and do nothing; you can discuss your options with an attorney; you can discuss it with the fire marshall or code enforcement folks in your city; or you can use alternative method to change your neighbor's behavior. 

    What happens to the excess water if you decide to water plants on your balcony?  Does it drip down onto his patio area?  Would it fall directly on his grill?  In either case, your actions are not likely to cause any permanent damage to either your neighbor or his property and just like him you would be within your rights to water your plants whenever you choose.  Childish retaliation, sure.  Would it get his attention, you better believe it.  Would he change his attitude, who knows?  Would I care if it caused him some grief and upset his delicate sensibilities, nope.

    Good luck.

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 9:38 PM In reply to

    • HBSam
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    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    I travel regularly across the US to visit friends and family, namely Georgia, Nebraska and your state of Texas DPH....and I can say with confidence that there is a higher percentage of people out of state who still look out for their neighbors and care enough to not race through life wearing horse blinders.

    I recently stayed in Dallas for a few weeks and the general impression is that there is more respect, more awareness and values....more yes sirs and no ma'ams and people who don't look like they're mad at the world or acting like they're entitled.....and that's what California's become.  Too many people making excuses for themselves and doing whatever they want to do with zero regard for anyone else.

    Maybe its just time to move......out of state.

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 10:51 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    HBSam:
    Too many people making excuses for themselves and doing whatever they want to do with zero regard for anyone else.

    I agree 100%.  Unfortunately that is just the way things are going in the world today.  Move from sunny CA deep into the heart of Texas or have Georgia on your mind, you're going to run into more of the same.

    HBSam:
    Maybe its just time to move......out of state.

    You'll probably just find other folks of the same ilk.  Myself, I would try to figure out what it might take to make my neighbor have a change of heart without getting myself crosswise with the law or spending big bucks.  Go with the fire marshall or code enforcement first, then decide if an alternative method is called for if there is no change.

    Good luck. 

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • Sat, Aug 31 2013 10:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Answers with Neighbor's BBQ Grill

    HBSam:
    The first time the neighbor fired up his BBQ grill, we literally thought there was a fire nearby because we noticed an opaque haze of smoke in our home and then subsequently, our upstairs smoke alarm went off.

    Have you considered asking him to come see (and hear) for himself, next time it gets that bad?  Invite him in, show him the haze in your upstairs and let him hear the smoke alarm going off.  Then beg him to take pity on you.  If it works, it's a whole lot cheaper and quicker than suing him.

    But have you thought of the possibility that the reason he won't move his grill is that if he did, all that smoke would enter HIS home?  If that's the case, you'll probably never get him to move his grill voluntarily.  Unless there's a place for his grill on the other side of the building, where the smoke won't blow into anyone's home?

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