Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yes, we mow the lawn of our elderly neighbor

The latest buzz about Seattle is Mayor Greg Nickels' proposal of imposing fines on homeowners whose yards can be mistaken for a garbage dump. The line between private property, community rights and public health and safety is always tense. Here's how I walked that line.

When we were looking to buy a home over 7 years ago, my partner and I did look at neighbors' yards. We saw some lovely houses in North Seattle, but then looked out the kitchen window right into someone's personal excess furniture collection. A big red flag for me is living room recliners sitting out on the lawn. Another big red flag is cars with expired tabs just parked, on the street or in the yard. After living next door to one such neighbor, I vowed never again. Another clue is what happens in the neighborhood on weekend nights--yes, before we bought our house we parked in front one late Friday and it was quiet.

The home we eventually bought is surrounded by neighbors who assiduously keep up their yards. A large part of your safety is self-care, and knowing what you want and need when you come home is critical to your care. We knew that we wanted to live in a quiet neighborhood with well-tended yards. That contributes to our sense of well-being. Whether or not it contributes to our actual safety is the topic of another entry.

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