A nuisance action - is a legal action to redress harm arising from the use of one's property.
A property owner is entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property.
A private nuisance is a civil wrong; it is the unreasonable, unwarranted, or unlawful use of one's property in a manner that substantially interferes with the enjoyment or use of another individual's property, without an actual "trespass" or physical invasion to the land.
Examples of private nuisances:
1) Nuisances that interfere with the physical condition of the land include vibration or blasting that damages a house; destruction of crops; raising of a water table; or the pollution of soil, a stream, or an underground water supply.
2) Nuisances interfering with the comfort, convenience, or health of an occupant are foul odors, noxious gases, smoke, dust, loud noises, excessive light, or high temperatures. Moreover, a nuisance may also disturb an occupant's mental tranquility, such as a neighbor who keeps a vicious dog, even though an injury is only threatened and has not actually occurred.
To determine accountability for an alleged nuisance, a court will examine three factors:
1)the defendant's fault,
2)whether there has been a substantial interference with the plaintiff's interest, and
3) the reasonableness of the defendant's conduct.
Fault Fault means that the defendant intentionally, negligently, or recklessly interfered with the plaintiff's use and enjoyment of the land or that the defendant continued her conduct after learning of actual harm or substantial risk of future harm to the plaintiff's interest. For example, a defendant who continues to spray chemicals into the air after learning that they are blowing onto the plaintiff's land is deemed to be intending that result. Where it is alleged that a defendant has violated a statute, proving the elements of the statute will establish fault.
Substantial Interference The law is not intended to remedy trifles or redress petty annoyances. To establish liability under a nuisance theory, interference with the plaintiff's interest must be substantial. Determining substantial interference in cases where the physical condition of the property is affected will often be fairly straightforward. More challenging are those cases predicated on personal inconvenience, discomfort, or annoyance. To determine whether an interference is substantial, courts apply the standard of an ordinary member of the community with normal sensitivity and temperament. A plaintiff cannot, by putting his or her land to an unusually sensitive use, make a nuisance out of the defendant's conduct that would otherwise be relatively harmless.
Reasonableness of Defendant's Conduct If the interference with the plaintiff's interest is substantial, a determination must then be made that it is unreasonable for the plaintiff to bear it or to bear it without compensation. This is a "balancing" process weighing the respective interests of both parties. The law recognizes that the activities of others must be accommodated to a certain extent, particularly in matters of industry, commerce, or trade. The nature and gravity of the harm is balanced against the burden of preventing the harm and the usefulness of the conduct.
The following are factors to be considered:
- Extent and duration of the disturbance;
- Nature of the harm;
- Social value of the plaintiff's use of his or her property or other interest;
- Burden to the plaintiff in preventing the harm;
- Value of the defendant's conduct, in general and to the particular community;
- Motivation of the defendant;
- Feasibility of the defendant's mitigating or preventing the harm;
- Locality and suitability of the uses of the land by both parties.
A defendant may argue that legislation (such as local zoning laws or licenses) authorizes a particular activity (ie. having a farm).
A defendant may also argue that a plaintiff "came to a nuisance" by moving onto land next to an already operating source of interference (that you were already operating a farm).
While a new owner is entitled to the reasonable use and enjoyment of his or her land the same as anyone else, but they have little argument if they "came to the nuisance" and the nuisance is allowed by the local zoning.
So, given the facts and circumstances of your situation - I don't think that the neighbor has a valid argument because you were using the property as a farm for 30 years, you were there first, they moved to the nuisance, and you are operating your farm legally pursuant to the zoning laws.
I would inform you neighbor of all of the aforementioned and just say "sorry, but I'm going to continue operating my farm".
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OK, given your situation