Bright Lights, Parked Cars Spark Neighborhood Feud
Posted January 28, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — It happens in all kinds of neighborhoods, from low-income to those with million-dollar homes. Old-fashioned feuds between neighbors acting like the Hatfields and McCoys still go on. They may start with simple name-calling, but can quickly escalate into volatile situations.
Blinding 1,500-watt lights have ignited a sizzling feud between neighbors in a North Raleigh subdivision.
"It's shocking, but it's also very harsh because it's so bright," says neighbor Dave Brubaker.
"I don't know how bright. What's too bright? Do they look too bright to you?" asks neighbor David Medvetz.
In one home, neighbors must hang up blankets over their windows at night to block out the lights.
Medvetz says he put the lights up, along with eight surveillance cameras, to protect his property from his neighbors.
"They have stolen from my vehicles, they have done mischief to my vehicles," says Medvetz.
This past week, Medvetz says someone vandalized his Hummer and Bobcat, cutting lines and contaminating the fuel tanks.
"This is just a malicious act. This isn't anything as far as what a common criminal would do," says Medvetz.
Medvetz points the finger at his neighbors.
"This act right here has put a lot of people on the hot plate," he says.
The neighbors deny the accusations, saying Medvetz wants revenge.
In August, the neighborhood convinced the city to take away Medvetz's permit to operate a business in his home after traffic got out of hand.
"It's like a child. It's like you've taken his candy away from him, so he's throwing a little tantrum," says one neighbor.
The neighbors have also complained about Medvetz parking five vehicles on the street in front of his home on a regular basis.
"I just wish I had a tank and could just mow them down," says a neighbor.
"I actually have to feel as if I do have to protect myself. I really do," says another neighbor.
"He's even hostile to the kids, and it is scary," says neighbor Dan Dye.
"I've never done anything that is illegal," says Medvetz.
Medvetz and his neighbors have turned to law enforcement for help. But police cannot always help in these cases.
"A lot of times you just have to let the people know upfront that it is just not something that we can deal with, it is not a police matter and we have no legal grounds to make someone do something," says Sgt. Don Hamilton of the Cary Police Department.
When it comes to neighborhood complaints, police have heard just about everything.
"[We] had a call last week where a lady was blowing leaves to the back of the property, and some of the leaves were blowing over into someone else's property," says Hamilton.
Most neighborhood disputes are about small issues like barking dogs, property lines and parking. But they can escalate into big problems.
"I mean, why have the kind of animosity that there is?" one neighbor wonders.
"I'm a little surprised that not a lot of neighbors came to my defense," Medvetz says.
"He doesn't want to end the feud," says Dye. "He's enjoying the amount of time that he is inside of my head, and the peace of mind that he's taken away from me."
And peace of mind is something no real estate agent can sell you.
If you have a problem in your neighborhood, what should you do?