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Posted by Mary in PA on 12/17/2009

Our neighbor to the east bought his parcel shortly before we bought ours. Being a general contractor by profession he promptly put up his house, partially finished barn and fencing. However, he neglected to locate the property boundary - with the unfortunate result that a portion of the fencing seemed to cross the boundary. Since we weren’t using that land per se, and weren’t going to be building for a few years, we decided to take no immediate action. Within two years the neighbor’s property was listed for sale and about a year later he finally found a buyer; a nice Amish family.


Soon after moving in the new neighbor contacted us to ask if we knew where the property line was... since the fencing seemed ‘odd’. Apparently they wanted to plow a section of the western part of their property (which backs up to our eastern boundary) in order to get cover crops in this winter. Since time was short on his planting schedule, we all agreed that he should use his best judgment to plow and plant what he believed to be his land. In the meantime, we would schedule a survey for our property. If it turned out their cover crop of radishes was encroaching on our land, then he would still be able to plant a crop for the 2010 growing season so as to not lose the effort and cost of prepping that ground.


The autumn weather has been terribly rainy and it took a while for the survey crew to schedule us. I hired them to mark the boundaries with survey pins rather permanent concrete markers. But survey pins don’t last many years in farm fields before they’re forever lost or plowed out. Enter handy-hubby, who made a series of heavy metal stakes, three feet long, two inches in diameter and with a giant nut welded to the top.


When the survey company notified us that the job was done, we headed out the very next day to tackle the task. It was a cold and very windy day – but sledgehammer work has a way of warming you up! We pounded each stake into the ground leaving about a foot exposed, then piled rocks around it and topped it all of with a dab of fluorescent paint. We had just finished when I was surprised to see the survey crew coming up the driveway. It was a bit of a letdown when they told us that there had been an error in their pins and they needed to redo the entire job, essentially rotating the perimeter by a few degrees and thereby changing some of the pins by several feet. Bummer. The bad news was we would have to redo all our work. But the good news was we were only dealing with three foot long metal stakes and not with a building foundation!


When all was said and done, it turns out the neighbor’s fence erected by a previous owner and the newly placed cover crop both encroach on our land. This is something we’ll need to discuss with them and we feel confident that with all being reasonable people, we can work things out. I’m glad the boundaries are now known to all and well marked, as good fences really do make good neighbors.



Our metal stake in rock pile, surveyor's marker yet to be removed. Yellow line shows our east & north boundaries. Pink line shows misplaced neighbor fence and crop field.

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