It can be hard to get along with neighbors, but one man in Harbeson, Delaware is being sued by his, because he built himself a hobby garage to work on his and his friends’ personal vehicles. Charles Williams, who lost his legs in a freak construction accident in 1993, is a true blue car enthusiast. So in 2007, he sold pieces of his five acre property to neighbors, and used the funds from the sale to fix up his house, and to construct a four-car garage loaded with everything a gearhead could ever want, including lifts to work on cars. But Williams’ neighbors are not impressed with his awesome garage, and want it torn down.
Hostility has been mounting since the lawsuit was filed in 2014, when some of his neighbors cited the noise, smells, and increased traffic caused by the garage as reasons to stop Williams and his friends from using the space to work on their cars. The suit also hinted that the workshop was built illegally, says Jalopnik. Yet Williams went out of his way to get permits for every aspect of his garage when building it. In fact, when his neighbors first started complaining, he even applied to the county council to get a permit to run a repair shop. However, the council refused to grant this permit, because officials said he didn’t need it; he wasn’t making any money from the work he was doing. Earlier this year, the judge overseeing the case also made it clear that if the neighbors had an issue with the noise and odors of Williams’ home auto shop, they should be able to resolve it amongst themselves without the help of the court. In short, despite the neighbors’ complaints, there seems to be little point to the lawsuit against Williams and his groovy garage, shown in the following video from the Cape Gazette.
However, without a final decision on the case, the situation is clearly out of control. Jalopnik reports that Williams’ neighbors have spent almost $50,000 to sue him, while Williams says he has had to pay out $30,000 in legal fees in defense. Meanwhile, the feud has only grown more bitter as the opposition has begun posting offensive signs outside of Williams’ property. One of these boards reads, “the LAWLESS ONE will be revealed [whom] the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth.” Ouch.
At this point, the argument is both baffling and depressing. Williams built his 1,920-square-foot dream hobby garage because he loves to work on cars, and has many friends who enjoy doing the same. The workshop forms the focus of his social life, as he brings his friends over to use the space to work on their vehicles too. As far as the law and common decency go, Williams is absolutely within his rights to pursue his passion. Given the immense financial burden of this ludicrous lawsuit, Williams’ daughter has stepped in to help her dad out, by setting up a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund the fight to keep the garage standing. As she explains, Williams’ passion to work on cars goes deep: his father was a master mechanic with Chrysler who passed down his love of cars to his son. Hopefully, the internet community can band together and help out this man, who despite his disability has always been there for others, kindly fixing their golf carts or tractors just because “that’s what neighbors do.” If you would like to help out, you can donate to his campaign by clicking here.