Wednesday, January 19, 2011

mediation of neighbor to neighbor disputes

If you are new to this blog do not start with this entry. Go to the big news at the beginning: problems in assessments and contractor invoices.

If there is a neighbor to neighbor component to my experience with the town of Stuyvesant, and I'm not sure there is, my experience proves conclusively that PUNISHMENT and ENFORCEMENT are not productive.

At the town board meeting in January, I sent a letter to Valerie Bertram that she read out in the correspondence section. Here is the letter in full. Here is the audio of the letter read at the meeting.

"... after an enforcement action, or non-action, the loser doesn't disappear from the face of the earth: they will still be neighbors..."

I proposed that all neighbor to neighbor disputes be sent to mediation first. Following the meeting there was some discussion of the issue on the Stuyvesant Forum, a Yahoo group on local concerns. Following that discussion, we seemed to see that there may be state grant money available for mediation. Here is a brochure about available resources.

I wrote a letter to the local agency listed on the state site, Common Ground. Hopefully someone can come and talk to the town at the next board meeting about the potential for neighbors to attempt to resolve their differences through mediation rather than turning immediately to enforcement and punishment.

Other towns have done this with these kinds of complaints. Here is an article from Arizona.

I'm all for it.

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