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Being a Good Remodeling Neighbor

Original post made by Palo alto mom, Crescent Park, on Mar 7, 2007

With all the remodeling and building in PA - here are a few suggestions to pass to your contractor if you are remodeling.

Respect your neighbor's quiet - Palo Alto has restrictions on when contractors can work, make sure all subs are aware of the times and respect them. M-F 8 to 6, Sat 9-6 and no work on Sunday or Holidays (BTW Martin Luther King Day and President's Day are holidays.) Contractors are subject to a fine if they violate these rules. This is a noise ordinance, beeping, backing up dump trucks count, cement mixers count, contractors doing paperwork do not. Contractors tend to enjoy working early hours, but your neighbors will NOT appreciate noise at 7 am. Keep the music to a reasonable level. Keep swearing to a quiet volume.

Respect your neighbor's property - If at all possible, do not have any contractors park in front of a neighbors home - especially on a daily basis. Do not block a neighbors driveway (seems like an obvious one, but you'd be surprised.) Do not store construction equipment or anything else on a neighbor's property. (Again, seems obvious...)

Respect your neighbors cleanliness - job sites are are hard to keep neat, especially if you pile trash in the yard instead of a dumpster. Make sure garbage does not blow on to your neighbors yard. Try to keep the view from their windows as pleasant as you can. If you live really close to a neighbor - offer to get their windows cleaned when you are done with construction (or once during the process if it is a long one.) Cleaning out cement mixers, paint cans, etc. has rules and the remnants should certainly not end up in front of your neighbors. Clean up cigarette butts.

Remind your contractor that to him/her its a job site - to everyone else its a neighborhood complete with sleeping babies, kids on bikes, neighbors who like to garden in peace, etc.

Comments (10)

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Posted by typical
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Typical palo altan response to something that is not a big deal. You need to stop whining and let your neighbor do to there property what they choose.

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2007 at 5:47 pm

I wasn't whining and I'm not complaining about any of my neighbors - none of them are remodeling. I've complete several remodels myself, a friend about to embark on one was asking ways to keep their neighbors happy or at the very least not too annoyed during the remodel. Don't assume everyone complains on this site!

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Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Also, try to find a porta potty that doesn't stink too bad.

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Posted by Remodler
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2007 at 6:39 pm

Speaking of portapotties, but is there an unwritten rule somewhere that a portapotty is a free for all service employees who need it. We are remodling at present (hopefully following the above guidelines), but our portapotty seems to be being used by all and sundry. To list a few, utility workers, tree workers, mail men, fed ex men, passers by who stop in their cars, dog walkers, children on bikes, garage sale attendees, etc. etc. Now it is not that I mind, and I do realise that if a mailman has the urge, he needs a place to go, but at times it gets ridiculous. I have actually had a line form when a neighbor had a garage sale. Does anyone else experience this or am I alone?

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Put a combo lock on the door and give the combo only to the contractor (but feel free to take pity on the mailman).

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Posted by Bio
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 8, 2007 at 8:38 am

Porta-Potty... what???
The entire city is a porta-potty for dogs. Go figure.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 8, 2007 at 8:49 am

wait, typical, you would get a bit tired of it if you had hordes of trucks and cars parked in front of your house for months at a time because the neighbor is doing a remodel. Funny thing is they often don't park in front of the work site but instead affect the neighbors. Add that to the neighbors who permanently park on the street, and you have a lot of cars routinely clogging the street.

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Posted by Not a whiner
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2007 at 11:22 pm

First of all, thanks for the ideas for guidelines, it was a considerate post.
The one thing that crops up a lot for us is that contractors and their subs seem to know NOTHING about safe routes to schools and where major school arterials are and when kids are likely to be on them.
The worst offender is, of all people, our own PASCO. I watched a dumpster being delivered one morning before 8am (more like 7:30), trying to negotiate a three-point turn in about 18 points and using that flippin' beeper on each back-up (I know, it's hard-wired). At one classic point, the driver was in both bike lanes, blocking kids to Gunn, Terman, JLS, Briones and Barron and across the entire street. He kept getting out of the truck to check the positioning of the dumpster as cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians, dogs etc piled up waiting to pass. Had he waited 45 minutes, the street would have been clear and all would be well. Yes, I called PASCO, but guess what? They don't answer their phone before 8am!!! So, I left a message, got no reply and crossed my fingers for the kids when PASCO came to pick up the full dumpster...

I guess "typical" thinks that letting your neighbor do what they want to there(sic)property impactss that property alone. Think again...

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Posted by kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2007 at 5:29 am

The discourtesy of most contractors is legendary. Typical, you should live next to this for years as one after another of the neighboring properties is torn down and rebuilt. Try having workers squating in the new home blasting their radios and using power equipment at 10 pm Sunday nights for a few years, or 5 am, and then explain to me how that is letting your neighbors do what they want with their property. How about letting me do what I want with my property, which is enjoy it in peace and quiet.

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2007 at 10:48 am

Kate - while I am sympathetic to contractors, many who live a great distance from Palo Alto, if someone is squatting in the house next door, I'd call the police. Aside from the annoyance, its a health issue and a saftey issue for the neighborhood.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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