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Need Suggestions for Dealing With Stubborn Neighbor

My neighbor has a very bright street light about 30' up a pole in her yard that lights up my entire yard and it drives me nuts. I rented my house for 10 years and never complained because it wasn't my property that was being lit; it still drove me nuts but I never said anything.

Last year, I bought the house and within hours of settlement, went to ask my neighbor if there was any way she could turn the light off during special celestial events like meteor showers or comets. She told me she has no switch and it just comes on at night automatically and that her uncle had installed it 30 years ago. I said ok and a few weeks later offered to buy her motion sensor floodlights and have an electrician install them for her, she said "no", she said she likes the light and again reminded me that it has been there for 30 years without complaint (I'm pretty sure her uncle is the original owner of my house so of course he didn't complain--he installed the blasted thing!).

After much consideration and research I found the Hubble Skycap, a shade specially designed for her light that keeps it in her yard and restricts it from shining all over my property. I offered to buy one and have it professionally installed for her. At first she agreed, but Monday I came home from work to find the following note:

I wanted to catch you today to tell you I'm not changing the light. I AM NOT CHANGING THE LIGHT

So, basically this woman has told me that something from her property is getting all over my property and even though it annoys me she doesn't care. I have tried now 3 times to nicely request and even put out money for an amiable solution to this matter and she has shut me down every time.

Now it is time to stop playing nice and let something or a few things from my property get onto her property and annoy right back. Last night I set up my guitar amp and turned it up very loud and gave her a concert from 9:30 to 10pm (when our local noise ordinance kicks in) but I don't really want to disturb the whole street so I may only do that once or twice a week. I'm looking for creative, LEGAL, and highly annoying ideas to get this woman to want to work something out.

I'm hoping for some DP brilliance on this one!

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Y, it's not really RIGHT, but

Y, it's not really RIGHT, but the bulb would need to be professionally replaced, and probably give a couple nights of nice darkness first, and then do it again. She will know you did it, but could not prove it (make sure u wear gloves when you pick up the rocks). Perhaps after 6 or 7 times, she will accept one of your suggestions. Otherwise, get used to it like you did for 10 years, pray that lightning will strike the whole thing, or ask her why EXACTLY, she is being so mean to a neighbors desires.

You cannot solve a problem

unless you can define it. You have defined that you dont like the light in your backyard but have not defined why your neighbor likes the light to be so high. If she likes a lighted backyard she can get that even if she lowered it and added a couple more if needed. Ask her why she likes the light so high and if you can find a solution for her that is better for both of you.

Do your best have no expectations

do something to use the light that will make her reconsider

do these things at night on your property, under her light

1. set up a butcher table and skin deer, squirrels, rabbits. etc.

2. put a hot tub under the light. full nude hot tubbing. add some moon shots in her direction for added effect

3. ...

well you get the idea

jeez... sound like a real filthy!

different angle

I did not post on this thread because I felt I didn't really have anything to offer. But I thought about it a lot, and I think I came up with something to contribute. Please bear with me on this.

I asked my kids and my wife, not what Mike should do, but what they would do if they were the neighbor and why. Please read their responses:

Wife: If I were the neighbor, I would at least allow Mike Lawson to put the blockers in. The only reason I can see why she might want his yard illuminated also is for additional security, but since it's not her yard, I really don't see why she could really justify that. I would let him put the blockers on to be a good neighbor and also because I can understand how light might annoy someone, and I don't want to annoy my neighbors.

Maybe she's afraid the blockers would mess up the light in her yard. If so, she could make a stipulation that they could *try* the blockers and see how they worked. I guess that wouldn't be so good for Mike if he bought them and used them and couldn't return them to the store.

(I don't think I would try the annoyance technique. Do unto others, you know...)

17 year old: In the interests of getting along with my neighbor, I'd at least consider his offer of a shield on the light. I might be a bit miffed he hadn't said anything before about not being happy with it, but I'd at least listen to what he had to say about it and try to find some sort of compromise.

15 year old: Were I the neighbor and my light bothered my neighbor, I would allow him to install a shade on my light assuming the shade does not interfere with my light/yard. I have been thinking about such things and other common liberty related problems which conceivably could occur under the non-aggression principle. A nieghbor could claim anything his neighbor was doing was hurting him. Perhaps the neighbor used farming methods which were detrimental to the soil on his farm. Could the adjacent land owner then complain that because some land in the area was bad it lowered his land value? Albeit a farfetched example, things like this could happen under the right circumstances. Must some sort of limit be put on the degree to which the NAP can be used to force others into some sort of compliance? I'm not really sure.

13 year old: In my opinion:

The neighbor has an obligation to keep her light out of Mike's yard if he wants her to. If he offers to pay for it, great. If he doesn't, she should pay for it. Likewise, Mike has an obligation to keep his loud noises out of her yard. BUT, if she doesn't keep her ligth out of his yard, then he has no obligation to keep his noise out of her yard. If Mike asks the woman to, say turn off her Air Conditioning at night becuase of the noise, then she should do it, provided he doesn't keep his air conditioning on at night. If Mike asks her not to go into her backyard, because he doesn't like her, and he doesn't go into his back yard, should she comply? No, because she's not doing anything to his property. Likewise, as long as she keeps things that invade his yard (Smelly things, Lighting things, noisy things, or things that cause damage to his property, aka things like HARP), she's fine. Everything else should be judged on what the other person does.

Does that answer your question?

11 year old: If I were the neighbor I think I would of taken down the light in the first place, but I can understand if she really liked the light or wanted to keep it in memory of her uncle or something. When mike offered to buy a motion sensor all expenses paid I think I definitely would of taken it, but still if she was REALLY attached to that light I guess it's still understandable (even though you would think a motion sensor would be safer than just a light). With the shade, she would have been able to kep her light and Mike would have been happy (win-win situation right?). But okay, she wants her light l(.)(.)king just how it did for thirty years. I think the neighbor is a little stubborn.

Of course, we only know what Mike is telling us. I don't know these two neighbors relationships very well, so I don't think I'm in a very good position to judge their actions.


So what do we get from this exercise? A few things I think.

1. At a minimum, every single one of those I asked would have basically removed the light based on the principle that it was lighting someone else's property, and they viewed that as a clear violation of the NAP. Thus,

(a) There are other ways to respond, and
(b) You should have people like us for neighbors instead of people like her.

Don't just laugh the second one off. I think this is what we need to be working toward. We need to turn these things around, and be the people we want to have in our society. Then we need to create that society.

2. We need to probe the issue of what constitutes violation of the property of others and what is aggression, so that we can recognize it and get along. But I think we are going to have to actually "go beyond" that to create a self-sustaining community/society in a fundamentally hostile environment.

What is involved in this "going beyond?" We need to figure that out.

Sounds like a match made in heaven...

Ask her to marry you! She gets the security that you would provide by keeping her safe and close to you at night, and you get to turn out all the lights before you go to bed...all this, plus, all "the action" you both obviously need, on a regular basis mind you, could be a win-win situation for both of you! This should help break the tension...Problem solved!

"Liberty tastes sweetest to those who fight for it, and most bitter to those who work to deny it!"


Maybe there's still a chance

There's this Air Force training base in Goodyear AZ and for years it was surrounded by farm land, it wasn't zoned residential but developers and people put up a HUGE FUSS and finally won the zoning rights to build around it.

Not that they weren't told that Air Force fighter jets are kinda loud, yanno and they do have this tendency to crash, being like aircraft and such but no matter, they wanted to put up acres of identical cookie cutter housing and they did.

And began complaining about the noise before they had the sod laid down on their microscopic backyard paradises. Apparently all of our national security asset just turned into their back yards. And they now request we go find someplace else to train our fighter pilots. Yanno, preferably someplace we DON'T WANT THEM TO GUARD right? Not our nation's skies, certainly not.

If there's any chance for you and your neighbor now, try apologizing, sending cookies, flowers, dig our her driveway when it snows and try to be a good neighbor.

My judgment: the time to offer to replace or modify the light was BEFORE YOU BOUGHT THE HOUSE. You dwelled there in peace before this, bought into things as they stood but now because YOU OWN THAT LAND YOU WANT OTHERS TO CHANGE TO ACCOMMODATE YOU. In fact you figure because you are now ENFRANCHISED you have a say in what OTHERS DO.

It seems you have a few choices here:

1. Continue to be miserable.
2. Continue to be miserable and make your neighbor miserable.
3. Sell the house and stop all this misery.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most people who think sew actually rip.

This is not advice, but I was wondering if you had considered...

that maybe she WANTS to be able to see what is going on in YOUR back yard? (Maybe she wants to see something, so she can say something)

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Friedrich Nietzsche

If I were you, I'd show her

If I were you, I'd show her what a real lights display looks like...Clark Griswold style...

“Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy.”
― Ron Paul

It's pollution. Read this website -

check out their links:

She is being inconsiderate. Take her to court, if you can afford it. (But don't weaken your case by antagonism.)

The fact of the matter is

That Mike rented the house FOR TEN YEARS before buying it…..for ten years he has lived with this light. And within “hours of the settlement from purchasing” the house did Mike feel he had a “right” to finally say something about the light.

What all of you on here seem to think is that Liberty is protecting your “right” by whatever means necessary and really what you are saying is I am all for Liberty as long as it’s my Liberty. What you fail to realize is Mike should be protecting Pat’s Liberty and therefore his own will be protected. Mike has no “rights” when it comes to this light. He only has the right to ask his neighbor to be considerate. This light caused Mike no harm……only nuisance.

If you don’t or won’t understand these philosophies then you are not fighting for LIBERTY… are fighting to be in charge.

"Before we can ever ask how things might go wrong; we must first explain how they could ever go right"



Goldspan thank you!The light was there before,just leave it alone don't piss off your neighbors.Cause someday you might need neighbors help..Or in turn they can start calling police on everything you do.Its their right,their property,I would not be pushing anyone buttons.Cause you would not want this done to you.

BIG BUMP for Goldspan!

Neighbor Light Dispute: Insightful Statement

" that liberty is protecting your 'right' by whatever means necessary (but) what you are saying is I am all for liberty as long as it's my liberty. [You] are fighting to be in charge."

Your statement, an insight into understanding freedom, is worth remembering. Thank you for this reminder.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

Get the same light and point

Get the same light and point it in her direction. Hell, get two.

Conversely, if you amp or other device would put out EMF and upset her tv signal, that would be, well, unavoidable.

Look at the core of this thing..

Each person is meant to be a sovereign in their own right, and can execute their will as long as it does not effect the sovereignty of the other.

The one sovereign likes to observe the night sky and movement of celestial bodies. It is his sovereign right to do so on his own property. The execution of this right does not interfere with any one else's Life, Liberty, or pursuit of happiness.

The other sovereign likes a light to shine at night. It is her sovereign right to do so on her own property. However, the execution of this right is in direct conflict of another sovereigns Life, Liberty, or pursuit of happiness. This sovereign DOES NOT have a right to pollute someone else's property.

To those whom have suggested that the OP grow up or is in the wrong - I suggest that you learn the principals of nonaggression and the limits of your civil liberties. Also, the moon and stars were there a few years before the light. The OP is justified in taking action. Rights do not come from what we "feel" the OP should do, they are independent of our feelings and sentiments if they exist at all.

With that said, I don't think there is much advice to give because it is a simple choice as you've already tried to cooperate to find an equitable solution. Exercise your right, threaten to sue, and get the light removed (making your neighbor mad), or allow her to pollute your property and try to make nice with a person who has proven themselves uncooperative. I DO NOT recommend violating her rights (by polluting her property) in any way whatsoever. Don't be vindictive, just secure what is rightfully yours.

I AM is all that is. Everything else is malleable.

NCMarc's picture

laser to the photocell? might

laser to the photocell? might burn it up. wait for about 3 months so she thinks its just something natural. stop talking to her about it.

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. - Ben Franklin

How about a focused...

How about a focused light with a photocell pointed at her neighbors photocell. It would come on when it got dark and fool the neighbors photocell into thinking it is daytime so her light would not come on. Sort of a double reverse of photocell technology.
If you really want to drive your neighbor crazy you could put a remote power switch in your house and you could turn your light on and off which would in turn switch her light on and off. Maybe put a timer on your light and set it to go on and off quickly and repetitively. Good luck!


Get over it

This story reminds me of my ex-girlfriend. She found out that the perfect guy that she could shape me into never materialized and then found out that I resented her trying. Maybe her light is trespassing but you should have taken that into consideration before you bought the property instead of assuming that your neighbor would be happy to change just for you if you only owned the property.

This same situation happened in south Austin. The best music venue used to be Southpark Meadows. It was there for years. A company built a housing development nearby and people bought the houses knowing well that this outdoor music venue was there. The new home owners successfully had this venue shut down forever.

Move somewhere else.

I guess I'm not alone

I get your pain. I feel like

I get your pain. I feel like the venue should have been protected. They knew or at least should have known what they had bought into.

Reminds me of the people

Reminds me of the people around the airport near me who bought property close to the airport because it was cheap, then they complain about the sound and pollution from the jet aircraft!

Get the book How to win Friends and Influence People

You can read this or listen to it. Your choice, I strongly suggest it. And if anyone else knows any other books like this let me know cause I'm presently looking for more.


You are right.

You are right to want the light removed or curbed away from your property. I just want to make that clear since there are so many here who seem to think that just because this woman has gotten away with her trespass for so long that she should not be asked to stop.

It's not really even the woman they are defending but it is the light. The light has been shining and you didn't say anything so the light has the right to shine. To them even if she left and a new neighbor moved in you still wouldn't be justified in asking for the light to be removed since the light has been there longer than you. Either way, by their thinking we should all just quit complaining about our governments trespass and live with it since it has been going on so long and no one has done anything about it.

Unfortunately like has been pointed out you probably have no legal recourse. So you only have a few choices. Building a 30' wall to block it is not one of them. And overt retaliatory, tit for tat, responses like playing loud music will only cause a bigger feud.

You could, as some suggest, try kissing her butt in and attempt to get her to LIKE you and therefore CARE about you so she will change her petty little mind and let you deflect her light. But if she doesn't then that will only serve to increase your aggravation.

Or you could covertly damage the light every time she replaces it in an attempt to wear her down and quit replacing it. But the act of destroying personal property could weigh on your mind and if you did get caught you could face prosecution.

You could move as some have suggested but that is no guarantee. I live in the country and had beautiful clear skys until a year ago when they put in a cell tower. The tower is a good two miles away but the lights flash so bright that I cannot enjoy a cool night of star gazing ever again. NEVER EVER EVER and I have no recourse. Period.

So in the end you will probably just have to learn to live with it and eat other people shit until the day you die. Is this a great country or what?

By the way I found out that shooting out a cell tower light is a felony IF you get caught.

Neighbor Light Dispute: Insightful Statements 2 and 3

Astute analogy:

" their thinking we should all just quit complaining about our government's trespass and live with it since it has been going on so long and no one has done anything about it."

Keen assessment:

"You could, as some suggest, try kissing her butt in and attempt to get her to LIKE you and therefore CARE about you so she will change her petty little mind and let you deflect her light. But if she doesn't then that will only serve to increase your aggravation."

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

You've been patient for years, be patient a little more

You've been patient for years, be patient a little more. Let her cool down and raise the issue again. She may come round to your side after she gets over her pig-headed self-righteous reaction.

But, do keep that note handy. If her attitude does not improve in the next few weeks or months, you may have no further option except the courts.

She is polluting your yard with her light. I made that claim at the Planning & Zoning Board in my town, and the developer installed the proper hoods to keep light off my yard and satisfy the board.

If she cops an attitude six weeks from now, you can inform her of the charges and intent to go to court over the matter, and who knows? She might just brighten up to the idea of your offer.

And, once the hood is installed and actually helps increase the light in her own yard, her animosity may vanish completely.

"Cowards & idiots can come along for the ride but they gotta sit in the back seat!"

I forgot about that one.

You are right because even if he doesn't have a legal leg to stand on just the threat of a law suit can make some people change their mind real quick. It worked for me when someone was "legally" pumping water out of a creek that was causing a back flow off of my property. Much to my surprise they were within the law and they even had the cops visit me when I threatened to destroy their pump. But I threatened a law suit anyway and BINGO the pump was moved. Nobody wants to go to court.

tasmlab's picture

I think a bomb, probably nuclear, is the only way to solve this

I've read all of the posts below, and already have been called a petty tyrant and a Nazi, I've seem people call for you shooting the light with a gun, setting giant mirrors in the sky, hanging tarps from poles, counter lights, flooding the yard with noise, putting ant colonies in her mailbox, and giving her dog diarrhea.

People have also called you names, thinking you are petulant baby and statist complainer.

Some here have called for you to enlist the muscle and guns of the state through the court system.

I think a bomb, probably nuclear, is the only way to solve the problem. Both you and your neighbor's house will be destroyed, lives will be lost, but that cursed light will never shine again.

Farewell friend and God's speed!

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

TwelveOhOne's picture

I +1ed you -- King Solomon FTW! :)

I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. - Fully Informed Jury Association - Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy healing)

Do you participate in an HOA?

If you do I would go that route. If not I would take Thomas Jefferson's advice...

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."

I would trying getting away and staying away from people all together. These kinds of situations never arise in the absence of people. I did away with people quite some time ago and have never been happier.

How about a large...

How about a large mirror in your yard that redirects the light back into her house or multiple smaller ones that are aimed at her windows. She can't complain about the light because it comes from her own light.


Sounds like you have done

Sounds like you have done everything reasonable. What I would do at this point is rent a full on aerial search light and point it right at here home at night. Tell her you'll turn yours off when she turns hers off.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed