Illegal hedge cutting

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Carren, Jul 11, 2020.

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  1. Carren

    Carren New Member

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    North Shore, Vancouver
    I hope someone can help with this.

    My west neighbours have systematically destroyed or mutilated ~120’ of my hedge / fence, most on my side of the property line. The 1995, ~60’ hedge was prob 4-5’ thick, healthy, 9’-15’ high. It is now worse than Swiss cheese, with huge gaps, uneven topping, and partially cut branches flopping over my property. It was obviously purposefully damaged on my side, and it appears malicious. I have honestly done nothing to incite this.

    These neighbours did the same thing to their north neighbours, pruning their north neighbours’ hedge to 3’ inside their north neighbours’ property and taking down trees. That hedge now has gaps.

    Their goal is to expand their property. One of the uses of this newly expanded property is a new parking space in a muni ROW. To do this, they illegally excavated their P/L 16” lower on top of a sewer line in a muni ROW, removed a 3’ deep retaining wall and the foot of my glacial slope at the back of their property in the ROW, and built a new illegal wall in the muni ROW 7’ high and contrary to code. Somehow, the illegal slope cuts extended 3’ into my property. After muni and engineering consults, my contractor tried to build a 4’Hx7’D retaining wall to protect my north neighbour’s slope and my property. My west neighbours blocked the contractor from building this wall several times, insisting that any wall or fence be fully 6” - 12” inside my property. They blocked him and his workers by yelling, kicking, harassing, threatening, invading his 6’ COVID space, slandering him online using multiple accounts, etc.

    They have consistently refused to obtain a survey in spite of requests by the muni and by me, and my offer to share survey costs. Their written excuses for the damage vary between: 1) they thought the hedge and fence boundary were several feet into their property; 2) they don’t believe the surveys because I paid for them; and 3) the old boundaries take precedence over the surveys. They even removed my surveyor and contractor string lines before cutting more of the hedge, and before their current construction work.

    (They also took down my fence, put 5 screwdriver holes in my new irrigation line, refused to allow my contractor to remove the now obsolete retaining wall remnants that encroach into my property, falsely reported me to the muni 4+ times for an overheight wall on the P/L, and falsely reported me to police multiple times for trespassing and for invasion of privacy. Police, including police management, advised me to install cameras to catch the damage being done. They also advised me to photograph the areas before and after. Now the neighbours are claiming privacy issues and police are advising me to take the cameras down, get a lawyer, and stop taking photographs. This neighbour was on the stand for 13 days in a 2017 court case before the judge untangled the story and declared the trial an abuse of process.)

    Two recent surveys confirm that the hedge cuts include entire trees and trunks entirely on my property, branches overhanging my property and between trees, and 1-2” vertical trunks within the trees. They have shaved their entire side of the hedge, even though the shaving entered my property.

    Lawyers don’t seem interested in helping. Police say there’s not enough to charge them with anything, even though I have multiple witnesses, and photos, videos, emails, and texts as evidence. Since hanging the cameras a week ago, there is even have a video of them cutting the hedge. Police say I should just let them do it and take them to civil court.

    I’m trying to stop this, but I’m wondering if it’s worth it. Based on my research, I think I have enough to convict them on mischief and other charges. I’m also getting the sense that property damage such as this needs a good precedent in court, and that this case might do it.

    Any suggestions?

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2020
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    I doubt there's anything much that anyone can advise here if you've already contacted police, lawyers, and your municipality. If forum members want, they can send you a private message (a Conversation).

    All I will say is something to think about: what are the (legal, obviously) scenarios where this ends with boundaries being respected and behaviours conforming to societal norms? Are there any?

    Apologies, but locking thread.
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