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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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The neighbor lady was there first. The writer of the O.P. bought a house with an known existing condition. If he didn't like the light, he should have moved to some place where the neighbors did not have lights shining on his yard.

Had the writer of the O.P. been the homeowner when the light was put up, he would have valid grounds to claim injury. Then he would be justified in being relentless about maintaining reasonable darkness.

I agree with you. He should give up any idea of making legal trouble for her, and he should reject any call for taking physical action directly against the neighbor or the light. If he wants to screen it in some way, from his own property, that is his prerogative.

Some friendliness goes a long way. Shovel her walk in the winter. Make repairs to her house, gratis. Walk her dog. I suggest casting aside any idea of manipulation and focusing on just being a good neighbor. She probably will respond in kind (no guarantees!) and, who knows, maybe the light just won't seem to be a problem any more when two humans get to understand each other.

spend some money on some big ass trees

That's what a buddy of mine did when he tried to install a fence on his house which was on a hill but his neighbors complained over some town ordinance that it was above the variance for fences. Apparently new fences could only be installed if they weren't on a pre-existing structure his was a retaining wall that protected their property. He couldn't install any fencing because the retaining wall was already at 6 feet. So to spite them he bought 16 foot trees and planted them around the perimeter of his property and pretty much blocked all sunlight to their property. FTW.

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    buy a large mirror

    and shine it back through her window.

    "The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
    Ron Paul

    a parabolic mirror


    Any kids in the neighborhood with BB guns?


    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

    Michael Nystrom's picture

    Mike, I feel your pain, and this is my best advice.

    Whatever you do, always keep the goal in mind. You want that light to stop shining in your yard. That is the goal.

    To that end, whatever you do, do not escalate. I repeat: DO NOT ESCALATE.

    I recently sold my condo to get away from uncooperative people because I chose to escalate. From my experience, it does not work. Escalating only makes the other party more determined. It is like they somehow know how much you want something, and then they take a perverse pleasure in not giving it to you. Some people are weird like that.

    - - - -

    You said you've been there for 10 years. You can be patient for a couple more months while you soften her up.

    People don't like change. They're afraid.

    You said the last thing you got was a note. Did you ever go an follow up with her about what her problem is with the skycap? Sometimes just being friendly is very helpful. Bring her over some cookies, and ask if you can talk to her about it. Reassure her that it will not affect the light in her property. Etc.

    - - - - -

    It may sound like a lot of trouble, but it is just better to be civil. She is, after all a neighbor. She has a reason that she doesn't want to change the light. Find out what it is, and defuse it. You'll have to be sleuthful & play detective. But you're a smart guy.

    - - - - -

    And if all that fails, I'd say get an industrial strength spotlight. The kind they use for opening nights of big events. Get one of those in your yard and point it straight onto her house. ALL NIGHT LONG. That way you won't disturb the neighbors.


    - - - - -

    But seriously, option 1 is better. Even if you win through 'force,' the tension will always be there. Better to solve it with kindness.

    Buy the brightest spot you

    Buy the brightest spot you can find and point it at whatever windows face your property. Something like that.

    Don't use loud music you will make everyone hate you.

    I have a simular situation

    I'm a skywatcher, and honestly, the geoengineering does more to destroy celestial events than the street light, which I "chip in" for electrical costs. I don't like it, the light or chipping in.. but complaining and rebelling are NOT the solution.

    PEACE is very important.. so my solution has been to erect a fence and create a place where I can escape the light and watch the stars. This has been better than I thought, for I have more privacy.

    I have installed reflective sheer curtains.. they reflect the light, reduce glarem I can see out, but no one can see in. I have shades if I want darkness.

    I believe that you can create your own peace and happiness by seeking solutions on your property. You may find some wonderful benefits you never thought about while being focused on HER LIGHT and your hatred for it.

    Be constructive not destruction in seeking solutions for PEACE.

    I'd buy her an inexpensive card.. a friendly card.. bring over some fruit. Don't talk.. just make a gesture of PEACE, work to keep that, and LET IT GO.

    Skywatcher . . . I used to be an amateur astronomer

    when I was young. I gave it up because I moved to a city for work and it was impossible to see the skies with the reflected light from the city. Now I often am in rural farm country where we can get very black nights that are great for stargazing. But even out in farm country there are neighbors with yard lights and for some viewing its best to find a place far from any houses, even if several hundred yards away. Often there's a bigger problem with cloud cover than light. I agree that there's a lot more clouds than before - geoengineering seems pretty obvious. It wasnt like this when I was young.

    U R not lindsey

    I now no you are not L. Graham. I think your peaceful Idea is a very good one.


    I am not LG, nor am I a fan of his. I might have suggested USDA 100% ORGANIC fruit though.. alas..

    Without LOVE in the dream, it will never come true...

    Try Going To City Hall or County Center

    and speak with someone. I think the city or county can step in if you have a legitimate complaint. Especially if u have exhausted all options and tried settling the issue privately. Don't know who to speak to but someone in the city or county has a job designed to work these issues out. If you have too try going to the Police Department and speak with someone there. Its not against the law but they will be able to give u advice. Police get calls like this all the time and know what you have to do.

    We need to stop sending the

    We need to stop sending the gestapo to our neigbors over every little dispute. It is equivalent to putting a few dozen rattlesnakes, scorpions,and rabid dogs in their back yard for her children to play with. The police have beaten people to death many times in the past. Is this the kind of person you would want knocking on your door?

    It sounds like you may be a person that has a telescope...

    I would go out during a half moon and invite your neighbor to come look. The moon is amazing to look at in high detail. Then, try to move to a nebula or a planet (that will not be visible due to the light). Act very disappointed and say, "I wish we could turn off that light. I know you don't want to change the light, but if I paid for an electrician to put in a switch, would you be willing to turn it off on nights when I'm stargazing?"

    She needs to understand where you're coming from.



    you might be fighting a

    you might be fighting a losing battle on this one. I'm sure she feels that she has a right to have any type of light she wants on her own property. I doubt that pissing her off with loud music is going to make her inclined to do you any favors.