Does a parking lot between residential homes need safety barriers and zoning?
Question Details: The Catholic Church bought the dirt lot between my home and another home. They are now using this lot as parking. They refuse to put up safety barriers to protect the homes or people who live in them, and told us tough luck, they will do as they please. I contacted the police and the local township board and they refuse to do anything too. I live in fear of someone driving through my house, and my peace of mind is wrecked every service when people pull their cars basically into my yard and right against my house. Sometimes they back right up to my home and the exhaust fumes come in to my house from the tailpipes being right against my house. Do I have legal recourse?
There is no federal or state law requiring safety barriers for a parking lot or that it be zond properly. Those would be local (e.g. municipal requirements), so you have to check what local ordinances say--though if the local authorities will not enforce their ordinances, you will have a problem, since it is difficult to enforce those ordinances without town cooperation.
They have no right to pull onto your yard: any car that does, you should photograph it doing so and contact the police to have them ticketed for trepassing. Any damage done to your yard (e.g. by wheels tearing up grass or pressing furrows into it) or home (from an impact, from being disclosed by exhaust, you can sue the car's owners for the cost to repair.
You can put a fence or other barrier at the edge of your property, to stop them from putting onto your space. As long as it is on your property, they can't complain about it.
You can potentially bring a "nuisance" suit agains the church if the use it is making is inappropriate for the nature and character of the neighborhood and seek an order stopping them from doing this and/or seeking compensation. Such a suit can be expensive and is not certain; consult with a attorney about this, to see if it is worthwhile, before committing yourself to it.