My rights as a ... yard owner?

I know there are noise ordinances, and zoning for pets and a dozen other things.

However, I’ve been experiencing of late a new dilemma. My neighbor has just installed a motion detecting light in his yard. This thing is rather annoying, in that if I move in my yard, the light in his yard will … um, light up. The issue is this- my fence is seven feet tall, but his light is attached to his gutter, which is fourteen feet high - and my yard becomes completely illuminated as a result.

My question is this - what are my rights as a yard owner, especially pertaining to invading illumination?

You might well have some relevant rights, but these matters are best resolved without resort to the complexities of legal process. Why not just visit your neighbor and say something along the lines of, “I’m sure you have no desire to flood my yard with light just because I use my own space. How’ bout you adjust the “motion” zone of your detector so that it covers just your yard?”

Or you could just setup your own automatic mechanism, something that will turn the light on by moving, then when it goes off, move so the light turns on again. That way, his light would be totally pointless and perhaps he will take it down permanently.

In some locations you do have rights with respect to annoying lights. Oddly enough, the astronomical community has had a longstanding interest in decreasing light pollution. You may find these astro sites helpful in figuring out what action to take:
Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting (Sky and Telescope)
International Dark-Sky Association

A slingshot to the motion sensor or bulbs at 3am would be the simplest… :wink:

We suffer from this problem as well and it’s completely annoying. His light is attached to an asshole detector and comes on everytime he goes into his yard but it floods ours.

Requests to direct the sensor fell on deaf buttocks, so I now simply turn our floods on which illuminate his bedroom window for the rest of the night whenever he floods our yard.

It’s the stupidist, most juvenile behaviour. I sincerely hope your situation doesn’t resort to this. Course, your neighbor probably isn’t an alcoholic steroid user, is he now?

My imagination is running wild as to what you are doing in your yard at night that you do not want “brought to light” :smiley:

My imagination is running wild as to what you are doing in your yard at night that you do not want “brought to light” :smiley:

Usual disclaimers. While IAAL, I am not a lawyer in your state and I am not your lawyer. For reliable advise, you should see a lawyer in your state.

That said, I do work in the land use/local government area. Generally, you have no common law claim for the nuisance created by light. Your local ordinances may change this, however. Make a call to your local town/village/city hall and ask.

I bet he brags to all his visitors about the wonderful system he has for illuminating his yard at night. :rolleyes:

Of course, you can escalate to Weapons Of Mass Destruction and install some wind chimes.

Thanks for the info, folks. Chances are slim, but I’ll contact town hall. If they do not act, I will target flood lights of my own at each of his windows, and post them every three feet along my fence into his yard. Additionally, I will build a pigeon coop, and toss bird seed into his yard every evening. cackle

Huge waste of money? Yes. Satisfying? Damn straight.

Peopel have no concept how to aim lights. One of my neighbors have one that blinds drivers as they come around the corner -


Those motion detector lights have a light detector built in to keep them from turning on in the daytime. I wonder if a spotlight directed at the sensor would keep it in the off mode.

That’s an idea. Get a MagLight or something and set it with a narrow beam pointing at the sensor. With any luck, Asshole’s lights will stay in “daytime” mode all night long :smiley:

try a laser - maybe you can burn it out.

research which type of lighteffects the sensor the most - perhaps IR or UV which the neighbor will not even see.

So did you try talking to your neighbor?

Former Zoning Administrator checking in -

As was suggested, check with the local planning department re: zoning regulations. The Zoning Ordinance I administered had a threshold for spillover to adjacent properties measured in footcandles at the property line.

I did walk over with an aerosol can of some glazing compound I picked up from Lowes and sprayed my side of his lights when Senor Redass had left for work. It doesn’t cut down on the amount of light but it does help make the light appear somewhat softer.

Maybe next time I’ll just swap the bulbs out with some napalm filled ones.

Why don’t you just spray it with black paint?