Wisdom of Parallel Block Walls

Old 01-20-14, 10:38 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Wisdom of Parallel Block Walls

Myself along with neighbors on either side (Los Angeles area) have a back block wall to our property that backs against a farm which has just been purchased by a developer to build single family homes, thus our properties will back against one another and share a common property line.

I have an existing 8 foot block wall (4 ft retainer with 4 ft block on top of that) due to our property having been dug out when our house was built, thus their property is 4 feet above ours. The existing wall is on our property

The new developer wants to build a parallel 6 foot wall on his side of the property line (6 foot height on his side) to ours, but is recommending:
1. Remove our 50 year old wall down to the retaining wall.
2. Leave our retaining wall as is
3. Build his new wall parallel to our retaining wall on his side of the property line

We do not want to remove our wall which would mean his wall would be parallel to ours and just leave the retainer, however he says the retainer under the current codes will not allow to build a new wall on our retainer. Further he does not recommend keeping our wall, although he has seen it done before then filling the gap with foam.

Does anybody have any thoughts to this. I am trying to talk to the city inspector as well to get his thoughts.

Thanks very much
Old 01-20-14, 01:39 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,727
Received 852 Upvotes on 747 Posts
I wouldn't think he could make you remove your wall if you don't want it removed ..... unless it was condemned by the city.

Is the ground he plans to erect a wall on higher than your yard? Trying to visualize what you have, pics might be helpful - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

almost forgot welcome to the forums!
Old 01-20-14, 02:49 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
More info

The property behind ours sits 3-4 feet above ours, this was done 50 years ago and a 3-4 foot retaining wall was installed at the same time just on our side of the property line and our wall was built on top of the retainer, so you are right they cannot make us tear down our wall, but wonder given these additional details what is wiser?

Our current wall built at the same time is 7-8 feet on our side as it steps up nearing the neighbor on my north side and continues on. Thus if they put a new 6 foot wall on their side, it would stick above our 50 year old wall by 2-3 feet. Some neighbors who also have the same situation are wanting 8 feet of new wall which would put it 4-5 feet above, fairly close, and parallel to our old wall. I suggested 7 feet as a compromise, as it seems the 8 foot people are concerned for security more than anything, however scaling a 8 foot wall from the new side would mean a 12 foot drop to our property....I wouldn't want to attempt it.

I might also add which I forgot to note is that our 50 year old wall is built of 4 inch block, which I understand could not be done now.

Also the new homes will be 2 story with peaked roof line set back the minimum legal distance of 20 feet from the line, so will look somewhat like the Empire State Building having had nothing there but farm in the past.

I'm concerned also of possible damage to our wall during construction which should be on them, plus during a minor earthquake where the stronger wall is above the older one. I'm thinking that by putting foam to fill the gap between the two, thereby somewhat bonding the walls any movement might damage our wall. Although standing by itself has lasted this long.

Does that help?? There are about 12 properties all with the same situation, and I am sure if we can't all agree, the 6 foot wall will go up.

Thanks much, Jim
Old 01-20-14, 07:20 PM
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 2,838
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
It sounds like the developer is trying to minimize his future maintenance obligations regarding the healthy crop of weeds that will flourish between the two walls. By your wall being removed, he's hoping you will tend to the weed trimming duties, even though many of them will be growing on his side of the property line. I can't think of any other reason exactly why he wants you to remove your wall, on your property.

If I was in your position, I think the only conditions under which I would allow my wall to be removed would be if he pays for the removal, and if you and your neighbors collectively get to pick the style of fence he installs that you will be forced to look at as long as you live there. I've never heard of foam being used as a weed-blocker, as it tends to degrade under UV light exposure. His advantage in using it will be the cost savings, as I'm sure it's a lot cheaper than (properly-constructed) concrete surfacing would be.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title: