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Neighbor Dispute Over Bird Nesting in Palm Coast’s C-Section Escalates Into Lawsuit

| May 25, 2016

The dispute over Purple Martin birds has focused on properties at 29 and 25 Collingwood Lane in Palm Coast.

The dispute over Purple Martin birds has focused on properties at 29 and 25 Collingwood Lane in Palm Coast.

A dispute between neighbors in Palm Coast’s C-Section over the copious presence of Purple Martin birds and involving a drone, a laser pointer, the daily Apocalypse Now-like broadcasting of loud predatory bird sounds and complaints to local authorities, has escalated into a lawsuit from one neighbor against another.

Philip Lowe, 77, and his wife Sarah Thompson-Lowe, of 29 Collingwood Lane, filed the lawsuit in Flagler County Circuit Court in early April against Bryan Streetman, 47, of 25 Collingwood Lane. The lawsuit was the culmination of a series of actions the Lowes took against Streetman, including a complaint with the Palm Coast Code Enforcement division, a petition signed by 18 neighborhood residents seeking an end to Streetman’s broadcasting “shrill and screeching predatory bird sounds” from 7:15 a.m. until dark, complaints to police in mid-February, and a lawyer’s cease-and-desist letter seeking to stop Streetman from flying his drone or using a laser light in such a way as to intrude on neighbors.

Earlier this month, Streetman countered with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against him, claiming his neighbors have no “clear legal right” to seek an injunction against him.

The Lowes have lived at their current address for 17 years. For all that time, between each January and July, they’ve maintained 24 bird gourds on their dock as nesting sites for Purple Martin birds, which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act, their lawyer says. Aside from their elegance and aesthetically pleasing presence to many residents—including those at 31 and 11 Collingville Court, who also maintain nesting gourds—the birds help control the mosquito population.

Streetman moved in next door three years ago. In January and February, the Lowes claimed in the lawsuit, Streetman flew a drone in the rear of his property, but also above the Lowes’s property and near the nesting gourds, resulting in altercations between the neighbors. On Feb. 14, Delphine Meyers, the neighbor at 11 Collingville Court, directly across the canal from Streetman’s property, reported to the sheriff that a bright red and green laser beam was penetrating her home from a laser bird deterrent system on Streetman’s grounds. (Code Enforcement issued a nuisance citation to Streetman over the laser and noise issues on Feb. 19.)

St. Augustine attorney Marcus Thompson sent a letter to Streetman on behalf of the Lowes on Feb. 22 citing the “excessive noise” of the drone and its use of a camera as violating the city’s nuisance ordinance and, in the case of the camera, state law, which prohibits surveillance. Thompson also noted the laser incident, which was documented by a sheriff’s deputy at the scene. “It is our hope that these issues can be resolved peacefully and respectfully, without the necessity of litigation,” Thompson wrote.

Streetman turned off the laser only to place an inflatable and noisy “air dancer” device on his property as a new deterrent to the birds. According to the lawsuit, he continued flying the drone and using high-frequency noise devices, which the suit claims have affected the Lowes’s ability to sleep while creating “a serious discomfort, distress and inconvenience” to them and other neighbors. The repetitive nature of the noise is equated to harassment, according to the suit, which seeks an end to the use of those devices, or flying the drones near the nesting areas of the birds, or using laser lights.

In his response on behalf of Streetman, attorney Ryan Mitchell ridiculed the claim that his client was in any way violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, for two reasons: Streetman is in no way hunting, shooting, killing, wounding or trapping the birds, as the act sets out as prohibited actions. And the federal act “has clearly established that there is no private right of action conferred on individuals.” In other words, as Mitchell cites through various federal cases, it’s not an avenue in property disputes between neighbors. The same reasoning was applied to the code enforcement violation.

Mitchell was similarly dis missive of the use of the Lacey Act to back up the lawsuit against Streetman, as the Lacey Act, he argued, regulates the importation and transportation of species, and therefore has nothing to do with the present dispute.

A hearing on the dispute is scheduled before Circuit Judge Scott DuPont on June 30, in Courtroom 402 at the Flagler County Courthouse.

Lowe v. Streetman (2016)

21 Responses for “Neighbor Dispute Over Bird Nesting in Palm Coast’s C-Section Escalates Into Lawsuit”

  1. Big Bird says:

    Worse feeling to be stuck with a neighbor you can’t stand. And unless those birds are causing legitimate property damage that Streetman guy should stop being an immature bully and get a life.

  2. PCer says:

    Are the birds pooping on his boat or in his pool or on his head? What is this guys deal? If you don’t like birds, you really shouldn’t live near the water in Florida.

  3. My thoughts says:

    Wonder if Streetman is “birdaphobic” or just angry at people who actually enjoy where they live.

  4. Bc. says:

    They need to get a life.

  5. woody says:

    Streetman needs to find a hobby like playing in traffic.With hi flutin neighbors like him,makes me glad I live in the R – section.

  6. Agnese says:

    Since you’re all adults, grow up

  7. Common Sense says:

    Sounds like Streetman is an obnoxious individual. No problems in the neighborhood until he moved in.

  8. suewho1010 says:

    Really ??? They have to hire an attorney to litigate on behalf of the birds and noise complaints. Can’t we all just get along. I think , I’m going to re start a mediation group that I used to run up North to assist parents and school age children to set boundaries and rules within the home. This group will help home owners to be good neighbors.

  9. rayart says:

    Every time I drive through the “C” section, I’m amazed at it’s beauty- the wide open spaces, canals and boats.
    But I live behind Publix in the F section but still grateful what I have-
    When you look at the house photo in this piece, it is beautiful-
    Can’t people be happy with what they have and get along with their neighbor- instead of having a chip on their shoulder?

  10. PeachesMcGee says:

    Since both parties have money to waste on attorney’s…give me some. I promise to never bother either of you again.

  11. confidential says:

    This situation created by what seems to me one more bully buying property in Palm Coast is ridiculous!!
    Because someone has enough money to defend his drones, laser and noise ordinance violations disturbing the peace of his neighbors and the also threatening well being of wildlife with a lawyer? I hear too frequently here same excuse other than enforcing our ordinances over “the accused has a lawyer and a good one” Whatever and individual has a lawyer or not if laws had been violated the bully has to be stopped specially while harassing also 77 year old elderly neighbors. We all have to leave together in our small 1/4 to 1/2 acre lots and drones, lasers, high pitch sounds that disturb the peace should have no place in PC whether lawyer or not.
    We have one of those antisocial nuts character in our block always doing things to annoy neighbors discarded commodes in front lawn used as flower pots, insulting scribbles in front wall against a city code enforcement officer for addressing his nuisances, missing sod intentionally killed to generate eyesore lawn, threatening neighbors verbally and physically until thanks to our good current sheriff was jailed and had to appear in court. His 20,000 in attorney’s fees made him calm down and now the most we have to deal with are things like his ladder left against the roof in full view in the front of his house for days while not work is taking place or his intentionally paint splattered driveway for us all to enjoy. Another bully also about the same time was taken to jail and in court given a non trespass in a nearby block for his profanities out loud while menacing neighbors, closing their water utility valves, playing loud music in the middle of the night and speeding among pedestrians some children! He is a goner form here thanks to our current sheriff, our judges in the court hearing and us neighbors uniting against these abusers.
    Best way to help here is to gather support for the Lowe’s family and be present on their side in the court hearing. I am going to try my best to be there as I have endured the same situation before.

  12. Tribal Mentality says:

    Its like a horror movie now days in Palm Coast. Seems there is only dis-respect and violence if your one of the “normal” folks here. The last 10 years has seen an increase of “tribal mentality” moving in from ….ah, I let you guys fill that in !!!

  13. mmsparkcity says:

    This is crazy, the man is a bully and an ornery one at that. No one should be allowed to continue disturbing the neighborhood. We have a new family that has moved in and their barking dog is about to drive us all crazy. We used to sit on the patio and enjoy the quiet. Now barking drowns out the sound of the bird. Sock it to him Phil

  14. Rich Mikola says:

    Every neighborhood has at least one jerk!

  15. confidential says:

    To promote a brighter environment in order to lighten our residents and motivate more neighborly attitude in some newcomers, maybe our Palm Coast and County officials should try to do what Gilbert AZ and his Mayor have done in this a short video of happy residents, workers and administrators in Gilbert, AZ:

  16. Brandon Honeycutt says:

    Lmao if florida had to have an enema palm coast is where it would be inserted….

  17. confidential says:

    Brandon you should direct that location for the procedure instead to the local government officiasl that rule Palm Coast instead and some obnoxious newcomers, as our city is beautiful and welcoming to all if not for the mentioned officials and recent arrival bullies.

  18. PCperson says:

    Something must have been annoying him. There’s always two sides of a story. Not taking sides.
    A neighbor’s cat has been a nuisance for sometime now. They do not keep a litter box so this cat poops all around my yard, which stinks horribly when it rains. It pees in my flower pots. Have told them to provide a litter box in their yard, but no, they are just happy that it does its business in someone else’s yard. Have complained to code enforcement but these neighbor’s just don’t care. I fear for my health and that of my family. Cat poop is dangerous. Wish department of health could do something as it’s just getting out of control.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I totally get him NOT wanting bird crap all over his home and property!! BUT this is not the way to go about stopping that.

  20. Brandon says:

    Although the “cat poop” in your yard I’m sure is unpleasant to step in. In no way is it endangering your health unless the cat is doing it in the same exact place every single day and has built the pile up to where it is equal with an open window and coming into your house.

  21. Environmental Educator says:

    I’ve been on this canal, there are around 60 bird houses within yards of each other, which is extremely excessive! Birds are everywhere. Loud birds, year around. If it’s purpose is to give homes to the migrating birds, shouldn’t the bird houses go down when the birds aren’t migrating? Having this many si called “temporary homes” for these birds on a small canal system is ridiculous! What ever happened to letting birds live naturally in trees and not having birds relying on human care? What’s going to happen when these bird house owners are no longer at these homes? Won’t that disturb the migratory bird paths? Seems more hindering than helping. Also, I agree with you Brandon, the birds leave fecal matter all over the place, on people (documented), on patios, pool covers, spa covers, docks, and patio furniture. You can’t even sit outside in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee or sleep in late since the birds are so loud. Please just imagine 60 birds houses each with 4-6 birds using them. It’s a nuisance. Also, when neighbors have respectfully asked for the bird houses to be taken down during the times when the birds were not migrating, the bird house owners blatantly refused (even though they were not even there during the summer). Has anyone thought about what it must be like to be the neighbor who everyone is attacking? I’ve seen first hand this man be cussed at, video taped when he’s gone outside, and given the finger from the plaintiff and other bird house owners. It’s sad, Mr. Streetman is a quiet man, well respected by many of his neighbors. He’s one of the youngest in the neighborhood and has helped many of them move heavy items, fix things, and even gone and run errands for them. He is in no way a bully. He’s actually being harassed. The plaintiff (Lowe) has pulled a gun on him, has trespassed on his property, walked into his house, parked vehicles in his driveway, unauthorized but trimmed trees on his property. Mr. Streetman has been patient through all of this, he has done nothing wrong. If you read the documents posted, Streetman was the person who called the sheriff’s to the property on Lowe (several times). In addition, even the FL Fish and Wildlife officer has been out to the property to assess the situation. Like the Sheriffs, FL Fish and Wildlife agents agreed that Streetman has not done anything wrong. He’s not harming the birds in any way by trying to deter the birds from his own property. Understandably, he wants peace and quiet. Who doesn’t want to be able to relax outside after a long hard day of work? He’s on the canal, has a very nice home, but can’t even enjoy it because of an unnatural amount of birds and documented harassment from his neighbor) Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a home that they worked so hard to own? 60 bird houses is excessive, please take some of them down, for all of us who would like to enjoy the canal. Let’s get back to a peaceful place to live. Isn’t Palm Coast named the city of trees? Shouldn’t we be honoring that and letting the birds love and live in our natural trees. Be nice to each other, please respect each other’s right to a peaceful environment.

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