Good Neighbor Notes
You can change the experience you have in your own neighborhood by getting more involved with those around you and taking pride in the area in which you live. The following are some ideas and resources that can help you to feel more at home in your neighborhood:
- Home Pride: Knowing the people who live around you provides a strengthened sense of pride in your home and neighborhood. Coming home just feels nicer.
- Smile: It’s simple enough, but if you’re not in the habit of smiling and giving a friendly hello to the people you encounter in your neighborhood, it’s a good habit to start. While not everyone will return the friendliness immediately, it’s a quick way to get to know people and build relationships, even if you’ve lived close for years and haven’t really said much to one another.
- Talk to Your Elders: The more veteran members of the neighborhood often have the inside scoop on the neighborhood. You may be surprised at how much you can learn if you stop to take the time to talk to the sweet old lady at the end of the block.
- Start a Neighborhood Watch Program: To feel safer at night and build a sense of community at the same time, starting a neighborhood watch program is a great idea. For more information, visit: http://www.siouxfalls.org/police.aspx.
- Know your Neighbors: The number one way to be a good neighbor is to be friendly to your neighbors. Wave or say hello when you pass them. Be kind to neighbor children, reach out to the elderly or others who might need a helping hand, and be willing to keep an eye on your neighbors’ houses or take in their mail when they are away. Knowing your neighbors will help you to develop a safety net of people to call in case of emergency, will help foster a feeling of community where you live, and will make it easier to identify wrongdoing or strangers in your neighborhood.
- Watch the Noise: Realize that not everyone is on your schedule. That means that while you may be up and raring to go with the leaf blower, the night nurse next door might just be bunkering down. Find out what the noise ordinances are in your community and follow them, or you could be breaking the law. Above and beyond legal restrictions, a basic rule of thumb is to keep volumes extra low before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m., but that doesn’t mean you can blare things in between. Be courteous, just as you would want your neighbors to be to you when your fussy baby is finally sleeping or you’re trying to knock out that overdue report in your home office. Need additional sound control? Extra insulation, special ceiling tiles and windows, and ambient sound systems can help. For more information about the Sioux Falls noise ordinance, view City Noise Ordinance. Generally speaking, in residential areas, noise should be minimal at all times, with special consideration between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Celebrate Smartly: Pave the way for a smooth celebration by following a few basic recommendations. Alert your nearest neighbors a few days early as to the date and time—you may even want to invite them. That’s a great way to get to know neighbors better and to build goodwill. Abide by noise ordinances during the party. Make sure your guests park legally and that they don’t constrict traffic by parking on both sides—that can lead to a crisis situation if you or any of your neighbors need emergency assistance and emergency vehicles can’t navigate the street. And finally, just like your mother always said, clean up after yourself! Pile garbage neatly on trash collection day. In the unfortunate event of any damage done by you or any of your guests to neighbor property, be sure to replace, repair, or pay for it.
- Light with Care: Illuminated neighborhoods increase security and serve as deterrents to prowlers. However, be sure your floodlights don’t flood out your neighbors’ privacy, and that other outdoor lights don’t cause glare for drivers. If your home exterior is currently poorly lit, it is a prime hiding spot for prowlers or others who are up to trouble.
- Be Responsible with Pets: Get in the habit of leashing and curbing your dog, and, of course, picking up after it. Make sure your pets are up to date on inoculations, and get professional training for your dog if it growls or acts aggressive when going for a walk or if it barks excessively. Additionally, realize that a roaming cat is a menace to a neighborhood because it can soil sandboxes, attack birds and small mammals that may be welcome in your neighbors’ outdoor wildlife habitats, contract rabies from nocturnal animals such as opossums and raccoons, and increase feral populations.
- Build a Fence: You know the old saying—fences make good neighbors. It’s true. A fence can keep children and dogs from trampling through neighbors’ flower beds, improve the safety of backyard pools, increase security, and provide you with glorious privacy in order to enjoy your outdoor sanctuary. Fence Guidelines
Okay, so now you’re a great neighbor. What if everyone around you isn’t? First, try talking with your neighbor—a cup of coffee, a stroll around the block, or a friendly chat accompanied by a bag of home-grown tomatoes can work wonders. Chances are your neighbor had no idea his dog’s barking was driving you crazy.
If that doesn’t work or if it’s somehow not an option, determine if your neighbor is breaking any neighborhood association rules or community or county laws. If so, contact the appropriate authority and file your complaint. A great resource if you are unsure of who to report a problem to is the City’s “Who to Contact Brochure,” found here. WHO TO CONTACT