A Senior Citizen Gets His Driveway Blocked By His Neighbor
Osceola, Florida, is generally a pretty peaceful family-friendly community. In one Osceola neighborhood, that peace was shattered one day when a new neighbor moved in. What did the new neighbor do? How would you react if a new neighbor caused the kind of problems that this one did? Let's get started!
Oliver Lynch was a 79-year-old retiree in living in Osceola County. He was a longstanding resident of the community and had lived in the same home for 25 years. He had seen different people come and go over that 25 years. He was comfortable in his home, and everyone in the neighborhood knew him. However, something was about to change in the neighborhood.
One day, word spread that a new neighbor was moving into the sleepy neighborhood. When Mr. Lynch got word that he was getting a new next-door neighbor, he had no reason to think that anything would change. As stated earlier, lots of people had come and gone over 25 years. He was about to find out that this neighbor was very different, though.
The New Neighbor
Mr. Lynch also found out that his neighbor was a minister of some sort, and that also put his mind at ease. He didn't worry about anything that the neighbor might be up to. He thought he had seen everything in living there for 25 years. Mr. Lynch was 79, and he didn't think there was much that could surprise him. It turns out he was wrong.
The new neighbor was building a house in a vacant lot next to Mr. Lynch's house. It was a bit loud, but there wasn't much of a problem with the construction, at least at first. People had built new homes in the neighborhood before. There was something a bit odd about this one, though. For Mr. Lynch, the new construction was about to take a turn for the worse.
One day, Mr. Lynch came home after a trip out to find a row of cinder blocks lined up on his driveway. He didn't exactly know what the cinder blocks were for, but he had a pretty good idea of where they came from. They were in a perfect row, and cinder blocks weren't exactly a material that a random prankster would use. So where did they come from?
It had to be from the new neighbor's construction. It was the only thing that made any sense. The building was happening at a pretty fast pace, and in Florida, cement blocks are used as part of a foundation. There was a question going through Mr. Lynch's mind, though. The question that Oliver Lynch wanted to know was: Why would his new neighbor do this?
The neighbor said that part of Oliver Lynch's driveway was built on his property, and now he was reclaiming it. This did not sit well with Mr. Lynch. He had lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, and he couldn't just take this one sitting down. He wasn't 100% sure what he was going to do, but he knew it would be something. He had a few things to say first.
Mr. Lynch told the Dayton Daily News that "I just hate to be bullied," He went on to talk about the situation with his neighbor and added, "I have little fight left in me, and I hate to see somebody bulldoze over me." The situation was very confusing for Oliver Lynch, but he knew one thing: He was in for a fight, and as it turned out, he was right.
When Mr. Lynch approached his new neighbor, he found out that the neighbor went to the county recorder's office. Apparently, the new neighbor was under the impression that Mr. Lynch had built his driveway onto the neighbor's lot, even though it had happened 25 years ago. The neighbor wasn't done being passive-aggressive, though. He had moved to full-on aggressiveness, and now he had done something to prove it.
Act Of War
The neighbor had now used cement to glue the cinder blocks onto Mr. Lynch's driveway. Mr. Lynch was furious, and he needed to do something. Mr. Lynch was beside himself at this point. He had a lot of questions. Mr. Lynch had seen a lot in his 79 years, but never anything quite like this. He was having a lot of trouble making sense of it.
It didn't make sense for the neighbor to continue to build when the blocks were clearly not where they were supposed to be. After all, it was just a few feet on to the property. There were a lot of questions running through his mind, but there was one in particular that he was asking himself. What was the foremost question in his mind?
Oliver Lynch asked rhetorically, "What's he going do with these extra few yards of concrete?" He decided to find out exactly what was going on, so he headed down to the county recorder's office himself. There had to be some kind of record that would indicate that his driveway was legal. He was going to get to the bottom of this.
When Oliver Lynch went down to the county assessor's office, he found the legal boundaries for his property. He found records on the original deed that said that there could be two 12' driveways side-by-side. The new neighbor didn't agree and kept building anyway. Mr. Lynch tried to talk some reason into the new neighbor, but it was to no avail. What did he say to the neighbor?
The Neighbor's Response
Oliver Lynch spoke to his neighbor and was just blown-off as an annoyance. He later told TV station WFTV, "He said he was a minister or something like that. (A) God-fearing man. But I don't think that's very Christian-like." The construction just kept continuing. What would it take to stop all of this madness?
According to Florida law, neighbors are not required to erect fences to separate property lines. So, it is possible that without a proper land survey, either neighbor could have been in the wrong in this situation. Since there was no fence or property marker, it was going to be tricky to figure out the exact borders. There was one way they could do it, though.
Mr. Lynch could have had a land survey done. Despite the best efforts of many homeowners, the boundaries and property lines are not always clear. They can also shift a little over time. A property surveyor will often be able to tell you where to build a fence and can help in legal matters such as disputes over property lines, which is what happened here. So why didn't Oliver Lynch get a survey?
Normally, if you are building a new house, the former property owner (that is, the person you are buying from) will have already had a land survey done. This is required in some states because you have to disclose the exact borders of the parcel of land that is being sold. It would also be ridiculous to buy a piece of land without knowing the exact borders. There is one more reason to get a land survey.
Constructing A House
Most states require a land survey before any new kind of construction can be done on the land. So, the new neighbor most likely already had that done by the time the house was built. He's never said as such, but it can be assumed Mr. Lynch probably knew this. There are a few reasons why he might have known ahead of time.
Usually, when a property survey is completed, the neighbor would have put up flags or giving Mr. Lynch notice that he had overstepped his property bounds. That being said, it's clear that by putting up the cement blocks, he hadn't given notice. The neighbor clearly did NOT mark where the surveyor marked the property boundaries, though. Without his survey, what could Mr. Lynch do?
As mentioned earlier, Mr. Lynch did go to the county assessor's office to get the paperwork to confirm the property lines. Unfortunately for him, the county assessor agreed with the new neighbor. There was a clause built into the original land deed allowing a driveway to be built on the neighbor's property. All of this meant that he had a foundation for a legal case. The neighbor had a point too.
The county assessor's office used GIS to determine the property lines of the two pieces of land. This is a controversial practice because GIS is sometimes used in place of actual surveyors and can be less accurate in the case of boundary disputes. This bolsters the neighbor's case a bit because he would have had an actual land survey done. The neighbor apparently thought so too.
In a dispute like this, the neighbor probably had the right to build in the area where he was building even though it was right on Oliver Lynch's driveway. It is possible that the way that the original deed was written was a bit vague, and that he simply wanted to use the full size of the property. There was one way to settle it, but it wasn't going to work for Mr. Lynch.
What To Do?
Oliver Lynch knew he was going to have to take legal action to get his new neighbor to stop building. The problem was that by the time he got it in front of a judge, the new construction would be complete. This method just wouldn't be fast enough to stop the construction, and once it was finished, there was no point in fighting it anymore. Mr. Lynch had to find another way.
There were actually a lot of options for Oliver Lynch in this situation. He could have had the neighbors harass the new neighbor, but that would have probably caused a divide in the neighborhood. He might have also just hired his own construction crew to tear the blocks up. All of these were possible, but there was a much more powerful ally that he enlisted.
Mr. Lynch contacted the local media and got them involved. This escalated the problem, but now Mr. Lynch had someone on his side. He reached out to WFTV in Florida, and to one particular reporter named Ryan Hughes. Hughes tried to reach the neighbor several times to no avail. The neighbor was stubborn, but the tide was turning. Something was going to happen, one way or another.
All of this media attention naturally made the neighbor look really bad. Even other people in the neighborhood began to hassle him. After all, Oliver Lynch had been a fixture in the neighborhood for 25 years, and now this new neighbor was clearly harassing him. He was eventually going to have to give his side of the story, or was he?
More Media Response
Pretty soon, the story went viral, and the WFTV story started showing up everywhere. His property was all over the news and began showing up on websites all over the internet. The pressure would have to get to the guy eventually even if he didn't exactly have protesters on his door. The neighbor had to finally talk to someone about his side of the story, right?
Wrong. He refused to talk to the media, and he still refused to move the blocks. In fact, not much was known about the neighbor at all. He never came out from hiding, nor did anyone learn his name. All of that being said, some of the media pressure had to be getting to him because he began talking to Mr- Lynch. What did the two men say to each other?
Something Is Happening
After all of the media pressure, and all of the hassle that he went through with the media, the neighbor STILL didn't want to talk to the media. It was ridiculous. According to Mr. Lynch, though, the neighbor decided to remove the cement blocks from his property and relinquish his claim to it. That saved both of them a lot of money since neither wanted a legal battle. Did he actually remove the blocks?
Back To Normal
The neighbor removed the blocks the very next weekend. They were gone, and that was the end of the feud. Oliver Lynch told the media that he had gone to the neighbor's house, and they had worked it out. He didn't give a lot of details about what they said to each other, but apparently, he must have appealed his better nature. There was only one detail he gave him.
According to Mr. Lynch, the neighbor said that it was all a big misunderstanding. That's pretty vague, but it's hard to tell what the misunderstanding could be in this case. It's more of a case that the neighbor finally knew what he was up against and offered an olive branch. Would he really remove the cement blocks?
The Walls Fall
The neighbor wasn't petty enough to keep fighting over this, so he sent the crew out on the very next Monday. Mr. Lynch was relieved. He could use his driveway again, and he could also call off the media. This meant that he could resume his own private life. There was one more thing he said about this incident, and it was remarkable.
No Ill Will
Mr. Lynch said that he bore no ill will to the neighbor. This is remarkable because after all the neighbor put him through, and after all of the garbage that they had gone through, he could have had a big grudge against him. Those kinds of grudges can get ugly and they force the neighborhood to take sides. What did he do instead?
Instead, though, he just let him be. He could have sabotaged the building project or done something a bit more extreme. Now, to be fair, the only thing he told the media, was that he bared the man no ill will, so anything else is up to speculation. It's still a great outcome for Mr. Lynch, who can live out his life in peace.
This was really the best possible outcome that Mr. Lynch could have gotten. As for the neighbor, at least he showed that he was somewhat reasonable after all. It goes to show that with a little persistence and some help from the news, a lot can get done without resorting to a court or anything else. They have to live next to each other, potentially for a long time, and its great that there was a resolution. If you enjoyed this story, please share it with your friends. Thanks for reading!