Neighbor's Wood-Burning

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I have a friendly helpful next-door neighbor here in the woods (PA) where the zoning ordinance does NOT prohibit open burning. This is a lifelong neighbor (30+) who grew up along with us and with whom we have up until now been on very good terms. (The good terms do not extend to neighbor's wife.)
For the past month, our home has REEKED of whatever it is that he has been burning. We live on a dead-end road, but I don't want to give the impression this is, like, Deliverance-style territory. It's just a 70's-era development in the Poconos. We're not concerned that he's burning something necessarily illegal as we are that our home is becoming uninhabitable because of the smoke.
I phoned two Saturdays ago. Neighbor's gnarly wife answered, claimed "We've burned twice a week for ten years!" (patently untrue), and that "*I* don't smell a thing." The response, while not out of character for this woman, was a bit more unfriendly than we're used to, even for her.
The smoke got even worse, so we actually phoned neighbor's mom, who lives in a house out of line of the drifting smoke. Result was that smoke stopped, and next day, neighbor drives over to apologize and give me a hug. I thought the problem was solved.
Two days later, the burning started again. Because neighbor is extremely well-employed, I could see it wasn't a matter of his burning on yet another Monday mid-morning, and I started to wonder if he installed some sort of wood-burning device inside his home whose vent is aimed directly our way.
What if anything can we do to settle this nightmare? This would be like something from Seinfeld if it wasn't causing such pain. If we contact him again (and we'll have to do it when we're sure we won't instead get wife-from-Hades), we'll 1) "take back" the friendly reception of our complaint to his Mom, or 2) show that we don't believe his explanation of "just extra wood left over from chopped trees." He would have had to cut down half his lot in order for the burning to be going on this long.
Any advice--mechanical, structural, legal, seasonal (!)--desperately needed and appreciated.
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I would maybe ask him if he could move his burn pile to amother location on his property (so you are NOT downwind), or, seriously, move.........
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Update-- Zoning Officer came (the most useless piece of humanity I ever met in my life, a decrepit tax-sucking hypocrite) and agreed smell was "real bad, but there's nuttin' I can do. Call D.E.P."
Called DEP-- Was told by woman smoke from excessive burning is an "unregulated problem" and agency can do nothing. "Go to the magistrates."
I left voice message on neighbor's phone, thanks to brilliant idea from mom, currently in Florida. I said "Mom wants to know if this situation is temporary or permanent, because if it's permanent, she will not return to her home." Mom's 75 and handicapped.
Last night, the smoke seemed less. The tragedy of this--and it IS a tragedy--is the good relations we've always had with the *husband*. The situation didn't improve until he came home from work. The gnarly wife... I don't think she's going to let peace on earth, if you know what I mean.
Mom will probably dance on my grave, she's a tough old lady. She said if we have to sell the house because of them, we'll sell privately and bring in the LOUDEST, PARTY-HARDYEST family of thirty and cram 'em into this three bedroom ranch.
Thanks, everybody. Just reading the posts encouraged me and made me laugh.
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soundem like wife make much smoke while hubbyman at work
mebbe do nothing
mebbe getem hubbyman and wife in you house at same time while smoke bad
mebbe givem wife electric blankey to replace smoke while hubbyman at work
mebbe have em wife holyman/woman visit you house while smoke beum in air much
mebbe move into house upwind
mebbe install "stop the smoke" protest signs
mebbe some, all, or none of the above
but in you title, you call them neighbor, so mebbe bottom line be nice
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First you have to watch the movie,"Neighbors" to see how good you've got it. Then I'd probably write him a note to explain how bad the smoke bothers you and appeal to any sense of compassion he may have. I was in a similar situation some years back and I did the wrong thing which made matters worse and ultimately moved.

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RBM wrote:

call fire department, he must have a permit to burn grass or leaves nothing else is allowed
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fsteddie posted for all of us....

Not necessarily local laws dictate. EPA is withholding grant money to force municipalities into "their" thinking.
I'm not clear on this problem; is it a burn 'pile' or a wood burning stove giving off the odor?
--
Tekkie

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Tekkie wrote:

It sounds like he's burning styrofoam, vinyl siding, and old tires in a solid fuel (wood-burning or coal-burning) stove.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

Actually, it could just be household garbage and he's not mixing enough cardboard and dry wood with it to get it to burn cleanly.
Bob
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Or rotten wood. My neighbor had a wood stove in his shop but the last winter I lived there the smell was horrible. Came right in our bedroom window. We talked about and it seems he picked up some free logs, type unknown, that were damp and rotten in the center. Whatever the wood, it stunk bad.
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That's what I was thinking, it sounds like burning garbage. I hate that smell with a passion.
Does your neighbor have stuff out by the road on trash pickup day?
The folks that owned our place before us didn't think it was worth paying for trash removal when they could just pile it up and burn it in the pasture...same pasture the horses were in no less. We spent a lot of time cleaning that and other junk up to make it safe for horses and cattle.
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twstanley wrote:

in
lot
and
THAT'S IT! Thanks to you and Gino, I figured out what it was, because when I called Gnarly Wife, she said "We've been burning garbage twice a week for the last ten years." They're the richest people on the road, but they are the only ones who don't have garbage pick-up. Oh, now I'm REALLY foamin'.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com posted for all of us....

Not that I would do this but maybe call your trash hauler and sign them up.
Either that or get gnarley wife a date w/ skunk!
--
Tekkie

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I HATE the smell of burning garbage. There are a few folks around us, not next door but near enough to smell, that still burn garbage on occasion. It isn't all the time, but it still reeks.
I spent 8 months last year in Baghdad with my national guard unit, the smell of raw sewage and burning garbage will always remind me of that place.
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wrote:

If you were in Bagdad, you should know how to deal with the neighbor. Just toss a hand gernade in the window and say "bye". While you're at it, burn the whole neighborhood so nobody bothers you anymore. You;ll only smell the garbage (neighbors bodies) burning till the fire dept put out all the fires and hauls the dead bodys to the morgue.
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Just put up with it..at least its US garbage..or would you rather be back in Baghdad?
On Mon, 20 Dec 2004 19:19:23 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@non.com wrote:

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I was just remarking to the original poster who had the complaints about neighbors burning something which was later determined to be garbage. The folks who do burn garbage around here do it rarely and it is quite a ways away so I don't have a problem with it. And no, I REALLY would not rather be in Baghdad. haha.
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Hey, I think you said this guy is an old friend, and this is worth a lot to have a friend as a neighbor, even if you don't get along so well with the wife.
If it's not a huge cost, maybe ask them if they'd do garbage pick up if you paid 1/2, 1/3 whatever. Might be worth the cost of keeping a friend and good neighbor.
These seemingly petty problems can really sour a neighbor relationship beyond repair and are worth trying to solve in a friendly fashion.
Camilo

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On 15 Dec 2004 02:45:30 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

It is against the law to create a public disturbance.

Even the die-hards had to give up painting their houses with lead paint, tell her to get with the time, it's winter time, don't burn on stall air days or when you are down wind.

Respond with, from your personal habits, I guess nothing else does smell to you. :-P JUST Kidding. Document on your calendar this call, time and date. Keep this calendar into 2005.

If it's a piece of equipment that is installed, it doesn't seem very well 'drafted' might want to pry and find out if it was under permit and inspection. If not, and he becomes a problem, give the city and his insurance company a call. ;) Only if you are truely evil. muhahahahahah

If you his smoking problems are creating a serious problem, maybe when you smell the smoke again, call the fire department. A few calls about you smell something, or it's so much 'smell' it might be out of control calls, he will be shut down. BUT..... even though he instigated the problem, and continued after you asked him to stop, you will be seen as a bad boy. So, you might want to get advice from adjacent neighbors before you make your decision.
IMHO,
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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snipped-for-privacy@intertainia.com wrote:

back in 1982 i was burning leaves. the fire dept came and said it was legal and i had a hose there and was doing it fine, but the epa said it was illegal not the county code. go figure. so i had to stop.
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