Aussie neighbours feud over 'monstrosity' in yard
Branko Soda's home has been his sanctuary ever since he bought his "beautiful" property in 1989.
But that all changed on September 4 when the Adelaide man returned home from a holiday to find his neighbour had installed a "monstrosity" of a water tank - within touching distance of his front porch.
The tank is about 200mm from Mr Soda's home, has an area of 15.2 square metres and is 4 metres in height.
But despite now living with the "nightmare" situation, Mr Soda said when he initially contacted Campbelltown Council, he was told the neighbour was entitled to install the 50,000 litre tank as it was located within their property boundary.
Mr Soda estimates $20,000 has been wiped from his property's value, and says he's already out of pocket by around $700 after ordering engineering reports and contacting lawyers.
He said the tank was so close to his home that if it ever leaked, he faced serious potential damage - and that the structure was so huge he could still see it from the back of his secluded 13,000 sqm property.
"I won't stop until this thing is moved," he said.
"It's a worry - I've worked long and hard and I retired 15 months ago. It's a great spot on a beautiful property but the situation is out of control.
"I should be relaxing, but the past 12 weeks have been a nightmare."
The 56-year-old said his neighbour had previously mentioned installing another water tank to accompany several others already on his property, but that there was no warning it would end up so close to his own home - and so massive.
"I had no idea...I thought it would be a little tank tucked away. There were so many other spots this monstrosity could have been put," he said.
"I can't sit on my porch any more. I don't care what they do - I just want my porch back."
Mr Soda said he always had a good relationship with the previous owners of the property, who moved out around eight months ago.
Now, he says his new neighbour can't look him "in the eye" since the water tank stoush began.
"My place is very private and beautiful - at least it was," he said.
"I'm still arguing with the council but technically it is in his backyard - but it's adjacent to my head.
"Words can't explain what's going on here."
Mr Soda said over the years, he had hosted weddings, wakes and birthday parties for friends and family on his block, but that the tank was such an eyesore that may no longer be possible.
He urged his neighbour to "be reasonable" and fix the "ridiculous" problem.
"I know this is pretty insignificant and a lot of people are going through things that are a lot tougher, like the bushfires, but it is affecting me, my family and friends and it's just unnecessary," he said.
Mr Soda said it was important to stand up for yourself and "fight" in situations like these.
Campbelltown City Council has been contacted for comment.
However, according to an Adelaide Messenger investigation by reporter Colin James, there may be some relief in sight.
The council is reportedly now assessing a planning application for the tank which shows it might be non-compliant, as it exceeds the maximum size allowed by 0.2 of a square metre.