For Every Dark Cloud...

In a recent article in the Seattle Times titled ‘Next-Door Nemeses’, author Diana Wurn went on to explain how no-good neighbors can devalue your property as much as ten percent when you’re trying to sell. And for those who are simply expecting a peaceful environment to call home, living next to a bad neighbor can be a harrowing experience.

However, I feel a positive side to every negative situation is possible, if only you make the extra effort. For me, I’ve discovered this to be true of the neighbors within my immediate area.

The recent snow and ice storms had created a treacherous situation in my neighborhood. The area was without electricity for nearly three days. Getting out and around was difficult while remaining indoors without power to heat our homes was not too comforting either.  The evening of the first day without electricity, the neighbor next-door approached me asking if I would care to borrow her generator. Seems she was headed over to a relative for the night and was concerned that my family and I would be left to deal with the cold. She cautioned us that one of her daughters who had also lost power would be by the following day to pick it up but she encouraged us to use it for the night. Early  the next day a fairly new neighbor on the other side of the street from us who we’ve only met once also went out of his way to walk down our icy drive to our house and ask if we needed anything from the grocery store as his vehicle was well equipped to get it around.

Later that same day another neighbor on the south end of the lake called to inform us that their power had been restored and ask if ours had, too. When we confirmed it hadn't he immediately extended an offer to us for the use of a second generator and he and his brother even delivered it to our home within hours! Additionally we received calls from other neighbors on the west side of the lake offering us use of their spare rooms to stay with them and from the north end we received a call of concern asking us to confirm if anyone had a chance to check in on the safety of the elderly in the area. The behavior I had witnessed of these neighbors and their display of genuine concern during this time of need helped to warm my heart and instill an increased sense of the caring community that I live in.  

Another recent incident concerns a home nearby where the owner has recently become deceased and currently no legal ownership claim is established on the property at this time. This situation has created an opportunity for a few individuals to occupy the property as ‘squatters’ and concern over illegal drug activity has increased. On the surface, this certainly can be identified as a bad situation – but dig a little deeper and what is revealed is an opportunity surfacing for my community to build an even stronger cohesion among us.

The issue was brought to light when a young couple who had just recently purchase a home next-door to the subject property sent an email to the ALSC blog address asking that nearby residents be alerted to nefarious activity occurring at the adjacent vacant property. The letter contained information outlining the concerns, recommending actions residents could take to best help local law enforcement confront the issues, and included details regarding new partnerships forming between the residents and city agencies to identify and address potential code infractions in effort to combat concerns over potential dangerous chemicals being stored on the property.

As the Times had reported, bad neighbors can certainly have a negative impact on your property values and/or quality of life at home. Living in a community like Angle Lake where an active social organization like the Shore Club exists and affords opportunity for neighbors to become better acquainted with other neighbors is something no longer commonplace in today's society. A community where we are no longer strangers living side by side but in many cases where we have actually become good friends.  A community where friends work together to resolve differences whereas strangers would have otherwise failed, where working together as partners problems are more easily resolved than working them alone.  For me, I find the good neighbors in this community to be  priceless.


Zylkowski said...

Very well said! :) Love reading this blog, we read it around the dinner table tonight! ;)

Fuzz Hill said...

While the property in this posting is not a foreclosed home, the following article published recently in the Seattle Times provides perspective on how big a problem vacant homes can be to neighborhoods and city services!

"...Who knows? Maybe they're living at some other abandoned house."