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Home Market Foods Creating a Nuisance for Neighbors?

A neighborly nuisance dispute is cooking up between a Norwood resident, Bill Clough, and neighborhood meat factory Home Market Foods.

The cause of the dispute? The constant smell of barbecue.

According to Wicked Local, Clough opened his window one morning several months ago and noticed a meat-cooking smell. Clough initially ignored the odor as the smells of a nearby restaurant.

But as the smell persisted for the next few days, then weeks, then months, Clough discovered that the meat smells were actually coming from Home Market Foods, a nearby factory that produces meatballs and meatloaf.

Now Clough says that he's forced to become a shut-in, keeping his windows closed to avoid the "dense, toxic type of smell" reports Wicked Local. For its part, Home Market Foods described the smell coming from the plant as the smell of barbecue.

Most of you have probably dealt with an annoying neighbor at some point. Though probably not quite as annoying as a meatball factory less than a mile away.

So what legal options would someone like Bill Clough have against his neighbor and the unwanted smell?

One option is for Clough to bring a nuisance lawsuit.

If Clough were to sue Home Market Foods for nuisance, he would essentially be saying "your property use is interfering with my property use ... so stop." The relief that Clough would be seeking would be the stoppage -- for Home Market Foods to either stop producing the foods that give off the odor or to find a way to produce the food in a less offensive way.

In deciding whether to grant relief in a nuisance action, a court would likely consider several factors including:

  • Zoning. Is the land zoned for a factory like Home Market Foods? If so, the court will be less likely to grant relief.
  • Move-in Date. Did Clough move into the neighborhood after Home Market Foods was already established? If so, the court may mind that Clough moved to the nuisance and so he should deal with it.
  • Economic Hardships. How expensive would it be for Home Market Foods to change its manufacturing process to eliminate the smells? The cheaper the changes, the more likely the court will require them.

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