You may have noticed as soon as the first rays of sun came out that many of the locals were suddenly out in the public gardens, parks and outdoor cafes, soaking up the sun and enjoying the eagerly anticipated beginning of the warm season. Without a doubt, summer is now in full swing.
In the garrison, we find as the temperature rises, so do complaints about noise, litter and traffic in the family housing areas.
Neighborhood relations are based on a foundation of mutual respect. Being a good neighbor means being considerate, resulting in a friendlier, safer and more comfortable living environment.
It doesn’t take much to build neighborly goodwill:
• Keep the common outdoor areas safe and clean by putting toys, bicycles, skateboards and strollers away in storage rooms.
• Keep music at a reasonable volume. If it’s loud enough for your neighbors to hear … it’s too loud. Turn it down or use a headset.
• There’s nothing more unpleasant than stepping in dog poop. Remember, it’s the duty of a pet owner to clean up after their pet.
• If you see litter, pick it up. We all use the installations, and have a shared responsibility for keeping them looking good.
As good neighbors, we must also consider smoking in Army Family Housing. The policy that allows smoking in family housing is not a local policy, but rather a Department of Army policy.
According to Army Regulations, smoking is permitted in individually-assigned family and unaccompanied personnel housing living quarters, as long as the quarters do not share a common heating/ventilation/air conditioning system.
View Stuttgart’s on-post Housing Handbook.
The handbook states: Smoking inside one’s assigned apartment is permitted. Smoking on balconies is permitted; if the smoke enters the windows of adjacent apartments, then follow the Good Neighbor policy. Smoking in interior common areas such as stairwells,storage areas,hallways, basements, and building entrances is strictly prohibited. This includes smoking in outdoor areas below windows of buildings where smoke may drift into the quarters. Smoking is prohibited within 50 feet of the building.
While Army policy allows smoking in Army Family Housing, ultimately it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure that their habits don’t negatively impact others. If you smoke, take responsibility for your actions and ensure it does not impact your neighbors.
If you have a problem with a neighbor who smokes, discuss it with him or her. Politely let them know that you smell the smoke emitting from their home in your unit, and that you and your family are non-smokers and find the smell offensive.
Perhaps the smoker will be agreeable to making some changes, such as smoking away from the building, or limiting their smoking while in their homes. If your neighbors are not agreeable to some lifestyle changes, you might want to get your building coordinator involved and apprise him or her of the issue. Remember, the military is a team effort, and being a good neighbor is essential to good teamwork.
Any violations of policies listed in the on-post handbook can be reported to your installation building coordinator or the Military Police.
Editors Note: Commentary originally published in April 2013.