Nobody wants to look at your junk

When your neighbor’s back yard is an eyesore, you don’t have a lot of options.

You can try addressing the problem face-to-face, but that has the potential to be unpleasant, especially if your neighbor’s personal hygiene matches that of his or her yard.

There’s always the passive-aggressive approach. Build a massive hedge and pretend that collection of auto parts and rusting appliances isn’t there. Even if that’s feasible where you live, it’s expensive, and it will eat at you every time you trim the hedges.

Thanks to your neighbor, you can’t sell for what your house is worth. Mostly all you can do is fantasize about what you’d do if someone handed you the keys to a bulldozer.

Depending on where you live, your best option may be to file a complaint and hope a code enforcer takes your side. That often works in visible areas, but government intrusion into our back yards is a thornier subject. That’s the case in Marysville, where a plan to tighten enforcement on unsightly back yards has run into some discomfort over privacy concerns.

In our latest poll at HeraldNet.com, we asked what local governments should do about homeowners who won’t clean up their messes.

The response? Privacy shmivacy. Fifty-six percent of our voters want to get tough and enforce fines and jail time. If we had offered an option to draw and quarter violators, that might have won instead.

A little over 26 percent said homeowners should have free rein. If your home is your castle, who’s to say you shouldn’t turn your back yard into a museum of old refrigerators and washing machines? The rest of us, apparently.

And 17 percent said governments should offer help cleaning up. Maybe some people just need a little encouragement, but most of our voters want a stick rather than a carrot. And they would prefer you keep all carrots and sticks out of your yard.

— Doug Parry, parryracer@gmail.com; @parryracer

NEXT POLL:

We know you’re willing to intrude on your neighbors when their lawns get out of order, but what about their vehicle speed or rolling stops near a school? Lynnwood is considering its contract for controversial traffic-enforcement cameras.

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