San Diego stepping back from some neighborly disputes

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego woman says she lost a lot of sleep when her next-door neighbor installed an air conditioner that was excessively loud.

"All night long, waking up every time that thing went on and off," Laurel Miller told 10News.

Miller made a noise complaint to San Diego’s Code Enforcement department, but she received a surprising answer when she followed up with an officer several weeks later.

"She told me that she was no longer investigating my case and that they were no longer investigating noise complaints," Miller said.

It's because the city’s Code Enforcement division is making a series of changes after a 2015 audit, which found that the city was spending too many resources on "lower" priority violations. The city is categorizing those violations as:

  • Noisy electronic equipment like air conditioners and pool cleaners
  • Barking Dogs/Other Animal Noise
  • Signs, including portable signs
  • Lighting
  • Garage Sales
  • Parking in the Front Yard
  • Street Trees

The city is instead sending neighbors a letter with correction requirements, and a referral to the National Conflict Resolution Center for mediation. It will then consider the case closed.

A city spokesman said Code Enforcement can reopen a case if there continues to be violations, but the city is emphasizing higher priority issues, such as those that threaten the public health and safety.

"You have a reasonable expectation that the city will help you out when someone's breaking the code," Miller said.

Miller's home life is much quieter these days because the builder of the air conditioner covered it with a shed, which he said he did voluntarily.

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