Can I sue the noisy, unsightly neighborhood hockey rink?

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Question:

My neighbors have built a hockey rink close to our house, approximately 60 feet from my master bedroom window. They recently built five-foot-high wooden walls around the structure and have floodlights directed on the rink. The noise of the pucks hitting the fence is almost constant. We live in a small town that doesn't have any ordinances about noise, fence height, or residential-only zoning. What can I do?

Answer:

Short of donning a jersey and playing along, it will likely be tough to beat these rankling neighbors at their own game.

Your best bet is to gather other offended neighbors together and write an ordinance, then lobby your local lawmakers to pass it. Unfortunately, this can be an onerous process that stirs up much in the way of personal politics and backbiting.

Also, consider mediation. Your neighbors might be amenable to working out a time and lighting agreement that makes your home livable again and keeps them out of the penalty box with the neighborhood. For more information, see Nolo's Mediation Resource Center.

If none of these suggestions seem plausible, then consider suing the neighbors and their hockey rink in small claims court for creating a private nuisance that interferes with your ability to enjoy your own property. For more information, see Nolo's Small Claims Court Resource Center.

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