Friday, September 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Bird street’ house looks like it’s being used as a commercial building

By
From page HSR2 | July 19, 2014 |

Q: My husband and I have owned our home in the “bird streets” in Fairfield for almost 30 years. Last year, a house across the street was foreclosed and ultimately bought by someone else.

At the time we were glad there was going to be a new owner so the yard and the appearance of the place would get fixed up. Or at least we hoped so.

Turns out it was purchased by somebody who wanted to use it like a commercial building. We think the owner is some kind of contractor because he has numerous big trucks and people are constantly hauling building materials in and out. At first we thought it was just a major remodel, but it’s become obvious the place is just being used for storage.

My husband looked in the windows last night and all you can see is lumber and hardware neatly stacked throughout the house. In the evening there are always at least two trucks parked in the driveway and several along the street. First thing in the morning people show up, load the trucks, and leave. They return around mid-afternoon.

The house is not being repaired and the yard is dead. The trucks and the noise are really hurting the quality of the neighborhood. Is this legal? Is there anything we can do?

A: Home businesses are one thing. The law generally allows for them. But this sounds like something completely different.

I’m glad you gave me an idea of where you live. In other parts of the town there are housing developments with CC&R’s that would clearly prevent this type of activity. But in developments, typically older developments, residents are stuck using state law and local ordinances to see if a neighbor’s activity is somehow prohibited.

Additionally, even if an ordinance isn’t being violated, a neighbor can file a lawsuit for creating a nuisance. But let’s take one at a time.

It sounds like the owner is using a residential building as a commercial building. We’ve all seen former homes that have been converted to offices, dental clinics and even retail stores. So what exactly is the difference?

Simply put, the difference between a commercial and residential building is zoning. Zoning is just the term-of-art used by municipalities to legislate what types of uses a particular property can be put to.

When seen on a map, zoning looks like an odd patchwork quilt with all types of complicated shapes laid over a map of the city. If your property lies in a particular piece of the quilt it may mean you have a low density residential property where only one family can live on the lot. Or you may have a property in a high density residential area when you own a condominium or apartment building. And then you may own a property in one of a variety of commercial quilt pieces. Added to that are combination areas where a property can be put to a number of different uses.

In your case, your neighbor’s property is undoubtedly in a low or medium density residential area. And while that may provide for a home-based business, it likely restricts the number of commercial vehicles and undoubtedly requires the residence to be a residence. In other words, somebody has to live there.

So the easiest thing to do is to go down to the city’s planning department and talk to them about the situation. They may serve a cease and desist order on the owner and solve your problem.

You could also talk to the police department’s code enforcement people to see if there’s an ordinance they can enforce.

Finally, if all else fails, you and your neighbors can bring a civil lawsuit against the owner of the house claiming their use of the property unreasonably creates a nuisance.

The problem with this last option is the time and expense, most particularly the expense. That’s why joining with your neighbors would at least help defray the cost.

Tim Jones is a real estate attorney in Fairfield. If you have any real estate questions you would like to have answered in this column you can contact him at SolanoScene@TJones-Law.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Missouri Street Theatre set to open ‘Bonnie and Clyde’

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Shelter uses technology to reunite pets, owners

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Weekend full of jazz on tap in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Royal Tailor plans high-energy, genre-blending show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Fairfield Delicatessen became Joe’s Buffet

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

Police make child molestation arrest

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Dignitaries celebrate opening of $30M courthouse

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Gender identity measure splits Garamendi, Logue

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Fairfield police arrest 2 in robberies investigation

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Police seek help to find missing Fairfield man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield eyes sale of excess government land

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Men, again, are seen as missing in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Stolen vehicle investigation leads to 3 arrests

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Weather for Sept. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

Suisun City police log: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Man arrested in fast-growing California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Strong Senate vote for Obama on Syria rebel aid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Scots reject independence in historic vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Passenger says JetBlue plane filled with smoke

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Law makes earthquake insurance more understandable

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
GOP pushes diverse candidates, but will it matter?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

PG&E emails may have violated rules, judge says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
500 Berkeley students missed sex abuse classes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boxer indicates big decision to come next year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Father arrested in fatal stabbing of 6-year-old

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health exchange addresses dropped policies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
UC system plan calls for anti-sex abuse effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Democratic state lawmaker arraigned on DUI charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sheriff: Fla. man kills 6 grandchildren, daughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Couple in Craigslist slaying sentenced to life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
In wake of beheadings, Busch Gardens removes props

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Trooper ambush suspect added to most wanted list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
CDC tells healthy adults not to forget flu vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Border Patrol to test wearing cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Kansas court: Remove Democrat from Senate ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Ukraine’s pleas for lethal aid from US go unmet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
British hostage appears in new video

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Militant gains illustrate plight of Syrian Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Series of attacks kills at least 36 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Sierra Leone to shut down for 3 days to slow Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Opinion

 
Did the ‘War on Poverty’ fail?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

3 obscure bills show how big policy gets buried

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
Do you feel more secure?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

My support for anyone but Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Mother-in-law bothers me at work for kid’s minor infractions

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Sept. 19-25, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘Leave You’ has A-list cast, B-grade result

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Adam Driver shifts into hyper drive

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

 
‘The Voice’ winner goes to Broadway’s ‘Pippin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TV Guide Network renaming itself POP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Peter Fonda’s ‘Easy Rider’ bike going to auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Sept. 19, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

Darrell Hammond takes over for Don Pardo on ‘SNL’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

The Roosevelt trail, from Maine to North Dakota

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Vanden volleyball team remains undefeated in SCAC play

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
49ers’ Derek Carrier ready to step in at tight end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Raiders seek ways to get Reece more involved

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Athletics out of top wild-card spot as Texas sweeps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Nashville new home for Athletics’ Triple-A team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Falcons romp to 56-14 win over hapless Buccaneers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
2-time Grand Slam winner Li Na retires from tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Stacy Lewis, Mi Jung Hur share LPGA lead in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
WR Simpson, in more trouble, released by Vikings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Royal & Ancient votes to admit female members

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
MLS says Chivas USA might not play in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tiger Woods says he might coach himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Prep football capsules: Week 3

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Appeals court reconsidering Barry Bonds conviction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Nissan’s small car excels at affordability

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Self-driving cars now need a permit in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Ellison gives up Oracle CEO role, becomes chairman

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
California bill increases Hollywood tax credits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Fed keeps rates low, but brace for the inevitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Home Depot says malware affected 56M payment cards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US jobless benefits fall sharply

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Apple locks itself out of devices with passwords

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Alibaba’s plan: Today, China. Tomorrow, the world.

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Chevron meets new, voluntary shale drilling rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Mae Frances Jones

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9