Most neighbors respect each others’ properties. If someone decorates another person’s yard, it is considered rude. But one neighbor in Osceola, Florida, took this rudeness to a new level.
When an elderly man returned home to find that a line of cinder blocks blocked his driveway, he knew something wasn’t right. His new neighbor was planning to pave over the man’s driveway. See how this 79-year-old man reacted and how he won his driveway back.
A New Neighbor, A New Problem
In 2013, a new neighbor moved into a neighborhood in Osceola, Florida. This was no problem for 79-year-old Oliver Lynch. He had lived in the same house for 25 years and had seen many neighbors come and go.
Little did Lynch know that this new neighbor was going to give him a world of trouble. Fortunately, Lynch was not willing to be pushed around, even though he was an elderly and kind man most of the time.
Building A New House With A Lot Of Problems
Lynch’s new next-door neighbor had bought an empty plot. He was building a new house almost entirely from scratch. This caused a lot of noise in the neighborhood.
On average, building a home takes at least seven months, but it can extend to a few years. But Lynch never complained about the noise or disturbance. After all, he was a soft-spoken man, and the construction did not affect him… until the day that it did.
The Day He Lost His Driveway
It all began when Lynch returned from work to see a line of cinder blocks along his driveway. The line covered half of his driveway to where he couldn’t even move his car. Lynch believed that it was a simple misunderstanding.
Since the next-door neighbor had been building a new house, Lynch walked over to talk to him. The neighbor claimed that he was building a new driveway. In other words, it was his driveway now, not Lynch’s.
“I Just Hate Being Bullied”
Lynch did not believe his neighbor had a right to do this. The neighbor claimed that it was his property, but Lynch knew he was wrong. The cement blocks were placed without warning.
During an interview, Lynch said, “I just hate being bullied.” He felt as if he was forced to give up his driveway against his will. But until Lynch could prove that his driveway was his, he couldn’t do much. He was too old to move the blocks himself.
But What Could He Do?
Although Lynch was kind, patient, and elderly, he wasn’t ready to give up. “I have little fight left in me, and I hate to see somebody bulldoze over me,” he told The Dayton Daily News.
The cement blocks covered a few yards–not too long in terms of house-building, but far enough to prevent Lynch from entering and leaving his home. “What’s he going do with these extra few yards of concrete?” Lynch asked in disbelief.
Searching For Proof
While Lynch felt certain that his driveway was his property, the neighbor disagreed. Lynch had to find proof that he owned the driveway. Otherwise, his neighbor could do whatever he wanted with it.
Lynch scavenged through old documents. Finally, he found records detailing the land that he had bought. He was entitled to two 12-yard-long driveways. Legally, the neighbor could not take over half of Lynch’s driveway. But Lynch would have a harder time than he expected.
The Neighbor Wouldn’t Budge
After Lynch found proof that he owned the driveway, he showed the documents to his neighbor. They talked a few times, but the neighbor wouldn’t budge. He still wanted to use Lynch’s driveway.
Lynch felt stumped. He couldn’t move the cinder blocks himself, and his neighbor refused to accommodate him. With few options left, Lynch decided to make his plight public. All the other neighbors knew, anyway. It was only a matter of time until the story made headlines.
How Lynch’s Story Made Headlines
With few choices left, Lynch made his story public. He shared his plight with Channel 9 News. The story spread from Florida to the rest of the United States. Reporters seemed invested in Lynch’s squabble with his neighbor.
Many reporters tried to reach out to his neighbor. Channel 9 journalists worked to track down the neighbor but were unsuccessful. He seemed to be avoiding the media attention, which was understandable. Most people seemed to think that what he did was rude.
The Neighbor’s Character Fell Into Question
The story did not make Lynch’s neighbor look like a good person. “He said he was a minister or something like that,” Lynch said during an interview. “[A] God-fearing man. But I don’t think that’s very Christian-like.”
The public responded with confusion; this didn’t seem like something a kind Christian minister would do. The news attention must have been embarrassing for the neighbor. Meanwhile, many people praised Lynch for speaking out against injustice. It became a moral battle.
The Neighborhood Got A Bad Reputation Too
While everyone seemed to agree that the neighbor was wrong, the entire neighborhood received negative press as well. Why didn’t any other neighbor help Lynch move the blocks? Why weren’t the landlords stepping in?
Of course, the public didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes. They only heard Lynch’s side of the story. But one thing was for sure: Lynch’s neighbor made the entire neighborhood look bad. It was an unintended side effect of his actions.
Still, Nothing Changed
Despite all of the negative press, Lynch’s neighbor still intended to dig up his driveway. Because the house was still being built, the neighbor was not around too often. Lynch had only spoken to him a couple of times, and he still didn’t budge.
Perhaps the neighbor wasn’t responding because he didn’t want to talk to reporters. Or maybe he was waiting for the plight to blow over. Either way, Lynch was left with no other choice.
Grabbing The Media…Again
Since Lynch had no way of contacting the neighbor (no phone number or current address), he reached out to the media again. This time, he contacted WFTV saying that his neighbor still hasn’t budged.
Ryan Hughes, one of WFTV’s reporters, tried to get in contact with the neighbor. But he could not find him. Understandably, the neighbor seemed to hide from any media coverage. If Lynch wanted to solve this, he would have to do it personally.
Even The County Wouldn’t Step In
Trying to resolve the dispute, Lynch grabbed his house deeds and reached out to Osceola County. The evidence proved that he was entitled to two adjacent 12-foot-long driveways. But for the county, this evidence was insufficient.
A county spokesperson told Lynch that they could not intervene on his behalf. They suggested that Lynch could pay for a surveyor to inspect the deeds and his property. But this opened the door to a long list of complications.
Lynch Didn’t Want To Resort To Legal Action
The Osceola county spokesperson advised Lynch to take legal action against his neighbor. But Lynch didn’t want to start a tedious lawsuit; he only wanted his property back.
Court cases take a long time to settle. By the time Lynch sued his neighbor and settled it, his driveway could already be gone. Plus, his relationship with his neighbor was already strained. If they were going to live next to each other, they didn’t want to harbor resentments.
Everyone Else Began To Resent The Neighbor, Too
Lynch wasn’t the only one who had a hard time with the new neighbor. The rest of the neighborhood began to resent this person. Lynch’s neighbor was never around, and yet he managed to bring the town a lot of negative press.
The residents did not appreciate reporters roaming down the street looking for the bad neighbor. If the neighbor would just answer Lynch, the situation would get resolved, and everyone could move on with their lives.
Some Residents Even Came To Lynch’s Aid
While some Osceola residents did not enjoy Lynch’s media attention, others rushed to his side. Many began supporting him in taking back his land. They could not believe that someone would stress a 79-year-old man over his driveway.
On top of that, several residents believed that the neighbor should at least show his face. Many felt disgraced by his attitude. After living in Osceola for 25 years, Lynch had a better community standing than his new neighbor.
Lynch Was Out Of Options
Lynch felt like he was out of options. He could not get in touch with his neighbor, and the cinder blocks were still on his driveway. If this continued, he would have to resort to legal action, which he did not want to do.
Throughout all of this, Lynch couldn’t even drive up to his own house. The media attention only seemed to make things worse. How was he going to get his property back if his neighbor wouldn’t cooperate?
But The Neighbor Would Eventually Cooperate
Eventually, all of the media attention must have gotten through to Lynch’s neighbor. Somehow, the two got in contact. Although Lynch never explained how the two began talking, he implied that the neighbor reached out first.
This time, it seemed different. The neighbor was willing to discuss changes with Lynch. For once, things seemed to be looking up for Lynch. As the neighbor heard his side of the story, Lynch wanted to hear his side of the story.
The Media Attention Had Done Some Good
When Lynch and his neighbor spoke, the neighbor said that the media attention had gotten through to him. Now aware of his mistakes, the neighbor was willing to sit down and have a mature conversation with Lynch.
The neighbor glossed over the deeds that Lynch had, proving his right to his property. After calmly discussing the matter, the neighbor decided to remove the cinder blocks and return Lynch’s driveway. Lynch sighed with relief–he didn’t have to go to court after all.
It Was One Big Misunderstanding
Lynch described the ordeal as “one big misunderstanding.” It seemed that his neighbor did not know the property boundaries, and he may have gotten spooked from all the media coverage. Either way, the issue had resolved.
When Lynch told news reporters that the plight was over, the entire community sighed with relief. No longer would reporters run through a quiet neighborhood in Osceola. The residents could go back to their daily lives, and Lynch’s neighbor resumed building his house.
Today, The Osceola Neighbors Are At Peace
Today, Oliver Lynch is 86 years old. He lives in the same house next to the same neighbor. The two have never had any disputes since the driveway cinderblock incident–at least none that involved the media!
The Osceola incident became a learning experience. Because Lynch held his ground while remaining peaceful, he got what he wanted without a lawsuit. He is not resentful against his neighbor: only joyful that everything resolved. It shows what patience and persistence can achieve.
This Man Made His Neighbors Jealous With A Giant Hole
While Oliver Lynch ended up in a situation that nobody wanted, another man became the envy of his town. Wayne Martin has run a YouTube channel since 2008. He was a doomsday prepper that filled his channel with gardening tips, music, and DIYs.
In 2009, Martin dug a 28-foot-long hole in his backyard. It was also ten feet wide and ten feet deep. Neighbors who knew Martin understood that he was working on a large-scale DIY project.
Filling The Hole With A Giant Container
After digging the hole, he filled it with six inches of peat gravel. Then, he brought in a 20-foot-long septic tank with two sets of doors on either side. This kind of container costs between $1,000 and $7,000.
But for Martin, the cost was well worth it. His hole was two feet wider, deeper, and longer than the septic tank. It easily fits inside of the hole and did not sink due to the peat gravel.
Don’t Get Dirt Inside Of The Container!
Before lowering the septic tank into the hole, Martin had to seal it. Otherwise, the container would get filled with dirt should the hole collapse. If that happened, it would be a pain to dig the container out.
Martin didn’t just seal the doors. He adjusted the doors to swing inward, not outward. This prevented debris from entering whenever someone opened a door. He double-checked the container to ensure that no leaks could enter the container.
He Dug A Perfectly-Sized Hole
The dimensions of Martin’s hole were not random. He needed enough room for both doors on the sides. He allowed for four feet in front of the doors so that people can enter and leave.
He also provided two feet of space on both sides of the septic tank. When it comes to an underground bunker, it is better to go big than small. Because Martin’s hole was this large, the septic tank could easily fit.
Although It’s DIY, Martin Needed A Professional
DIY, or do-it-yourself projects, are touted as something that any one person can achieve. But Martin had to hire extra help for this project. A crane driver brought the septic tank into his backyard and lowered it into the hole.
This wasn’t the first time that Martin hired help for his project. He also paid a construction worker to help dig the hole. It was one expensive project, but for Martin, the payoff would be worth it.
The Importance Of A Sump Pump
A sump pump is an underground device that removes water from enclosed spaces. Most people have sump pumps in their basement to direct water outside. A discharge line called an effluent drains water away from an enclosed space.
Martin installed a 30-gallon perforated plastic barrel for the sump pump to sit in. Without the pump, the tank would fill with water if the area rained or flooded. The more water gathers inside, the more mold and rust Martin would find.
Stepping Down To The Entrance
How was Martin going to enter his underground bunker? Surely he wouldn’t just hop into the hole. No, he installed a series of concrete steps leading down to the steps.
The stairs were perfectly aligned so that the top step was at the same level as the top of the container. The stairs lead directly to the front door. For the first time, the project was starting to look like more than a septic tank in a random hole.
Why Martin Needed Support Beams
Martin needed support beams to ensure that the tank would not become crooked or sink. Even with peat gravel, dirt is not a reliable surface for a building. Martin attached two I-beams to the front and back of the septic tank.
The support beams were perfectly level with the top of the stairs. With these, his bunker would not move. But the beams also provided an outline for the other exterior structures that Martin was planning.
He Created A Roof, Too!
If you thought that the bunker would have a roof, you were right. Martin took precautions to ensure that the roof was steady. He laid down a grid of wooden support beams on top of the I-beams. This is why he dug the hole extra deep.
While the bunker may look rough now, it is not the finished product. All of these beams will lay the foundation for the rest of the structure, like a house.
A Secure Metal Roof
The wooden support beams were only half the battle. Martin covered the framework with heavy corrugated metal. Unlike wood, metal is harder to crack and warp, which will prevent dirt and animals from entering the bunker.
Corrugated metal can also handle a lot of weight. Look at this woman and her dog sitting on the metal roof with no problem! Now that the exterior began taking shape, Martin could focus more on the interior structure.
One Visible Entryway
Martin wanted to reach the stairs that he built. He created an entryway that people could use from above. Once he set up the roof support, he laid down a rim of rebar to create the “grand entrance.”
Martin welded rebar around the sides and left a space for an entryway. It may seem excessive, but Martin was aiming for a luxury room here. Why even create an underground bunker if you don’t go all out?
Line It With Concrete
After Martin created the roof, he laid down an outline of cinder blocks. He then filled all of the blocks with concrete so that the rods could stick up straight. He clearly wanted this bunker to be secure.
Martin aimed to create something that would last for a long time. If need be, this creation could work as a makeshift bomb shelter. And that’s just a perk; the end result will be much more luxurious.
Making Sure He’s Able To Breathe
The problem with underground bunkers is that they don’t receive air ventilation. If Martin left the bunker as is, he would suffocate while inside. To make the bunker livable, he installed two 12-inch air vents.
The vents, which look like enormous pipes, appear at the front and back of the bunker. Of course, these vents would let rain in too. But that’s what his sump pump was for. Martin had carefully considered every detail before he started building.
Brace The Roof
Instead of raising the roof, Martin braced the roof. Alongside his rebar, I-beams, and wooden support beams, he included even more support for the roof. He installed two foot by four foot wooden bracing underneath the roof.
Martin was not taking any chances. If a tree fell on top of his bunker, it still would not collapse. He wanted to feel safe inside of this building. He planned to use it a lot in the future, and for good reason.
Yep, More Concrete
Now that Martin had installed a pump, air vents, and PVC stubs for utilities, he could finally seal the roof. He covered the entire container in concrete. Not only did it look professional, but it also protected the bunker from anything and everything.
Martin leveled the concrete to appear smooth and seamless. When Martin completed the bunker, it perfectly blended in with the rest of his yard. Some people install a pool in their yard; he created a bunker.
A Whole Six Inches Of Support
If you thought that the layer of concrete would be thin, you were wrong. The concrete roof was a solid six inches thick. No amount of noise or moisture could penetrate that.
This is why Martin dug the hole two feet deeper than he needed to. He needed enough room for the support beams and concrete roof. The top layer was still a bit lower than the ground level of his yard. This will come into play later.
Enhancing The Entryway
Now that the concrete roof had dried, Martin built up the rest of his entry. He lined the entrance with more cinder blocks. At the end of the project, people who walk by would only see the entrance and nothing else.
Martin created a raised wall of cinder blocks and attached them with more concrete. All extra cinder blocks were used to create more stair steps to fill in the gaps. He ensured that everything was as even as possible.
Bye Bye, Temporary Support Beams
The wooden support beams that Martin placed underneath the room were temporary. Now that his roof was complete, Martin could remove the temporary beams. They did their job by aiding the concrete as it was drying.
These precautions may seem excessive, but it pays to play it safe. Because Martin was spending so much time and money, he wanted to ensure that the septic tank would not collapse. Hopefully, his new bunker would be worth all the effort.
You Can Barely Tell It’s There
As soon as the roof was dried and complete, Martin filled in the rest. Dirt covered the entire roof except for the entrance. The underground bunker was now level with the rest of his backyard.
To cover it, Martin used regular gardening soil. “You’ll want to plant trees on top of your cellar someday,” he said in his YouTube video. Imagine an underground bunker surrounded by a garden and grove! It would make the best hangout spot.
Now For The Fun Part–The Inside
Finally, Martin had finished his bunker and could get on with the fun part. “Build whatever you want inside your cellar,” he instructed in the video. “I turned mine into a wine cellar.”
Martin built shelves to store the drinks as well as seating areas to enjoy his new bunker. It makes sense; wine requires cool temperatures and darkness to help them last for generations. Martin’s bunker became a useful addition to his home, as well as an aesthetic choice.
But It’s More Than Just A Cellar
Martin has far more uses for his cellar than just wine. He also stores nonperishable foods, cleaning supplies, and seasonal decorations. It provided plenty of storage for items that Martin couldn’t fit in his house.
The bunker also had working electricity and water. An inside view shows that he also included a sink to clean the bunker and water his plants. And the best part is that he built it entirely by himself. He must be proud!
His Bunker Went Viral
In December of 2009, Martin uploaded an instructional video telling others how to create their own bunker. He included pictures of his creation as well as written instructions. Today, the video has over 14 million views.
People loved his creativity and practicality. News outlets picked up the story about a man who created his own bunker from scratch. The video also inspired others to make their own underground space using his directions and a little of their own creativity.
Martin’s Project Was Cheap, All Things Considered
When people consider building a bunker, they often consider the cost. Wayne Martin spent less than some people may expect. His entire project cost $12,500, fairly cheap considering that a septic tank costs at least a few thousand dollars.
Martin said that he did most of the work himself. He already owned a tractor, which allowed him to dig the hole and fill it again. Others may end up paying more for help with the hard jobs.
Want To Make Your Own Bunker?
Martin has provided many resources to help others create their own underground bunker. Along with his YouTube video, he published diagrams, a list of recommended materials, and a cost breakdown.
Martin even went into details about the specs of his container. He mentioned some details that aspiring builders should pay attention to, such as the door placement, the hinges, and the material. Over the past ten years, Martin has become an expert in building underground storage areas.
Some Tips For Aspiring Builders
Two years after his original bunker video, Martin published a new YouTube video with tips for aspiring builders. One of his tips was to install handrails for the stairs. This is especially important for people who live in areas that become icy or wet.
He also recommended that people build a small overhang above the entrance to prevent the staircase from flooding. Perhaps Martin wished that he had thought of these ideas before he starting building his bunker.
He Was Not The First Person To Have This Idea
Wayne Martin was not the first person to create an underground bunker. Historically, most bunkers served the military. They popped up consistently throughout World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.
Some bunkers were above ground, while others were partially underground. Many were designed in fun shapes, such as horses. While not many people built bunkers for personal use, there are still some individual builders out there. Many have popped up as recently as 2020.
Hiring A Business To Make Your Bunker Costs More
If you don’t want to build a bunker yourself, you can hire a business instead. But that will be much more expensive. Paul Seyfried, the CEO of Utah Shelter Systems said that his smallest bunkers cost around $50,000. The largest ones, “12 [foot] by 50 [foot],” are closer to $100,000.
Most people who hire bunker-builders live in California, New York, and Texas. According to Seyfried, most people who build bunkers are families who want a building that can deflect electromagnetic pulses and radiation.
The Bunker Business Is At An All-Time High
In early 2017, the bunker business exploded. According to the Independent, bunker sales increased by 400% from 2016 to 2017. Some businesses have increased profits by $10 million per year.
Clyde Scott, the owner of the Texas-based company Rising Bunkers, believes that Americans are preparing for the unknown. With international tensions rising, Americans are working to prepare for a worst-case scenario. Until something like that happens, builders will have an outdoor space for storage or hangouts.
Bunkers With Luxurious Comforts
Many modern bunkers come with luxuries such as heating, air conditioning, electricity, and wifi. A California-based company called Atlas Survival Shelters has sold many of these bunkers since the 2016 election.
Some of these bunkers include carpet, rugs, outlets for a TV, and other conveniences. According to the company, most customers are older adults. They may remember the threat of bombing from the Cold War. Or, perhaps some people prefer an outdoor building with modern luxuries.
Some Decommissioned Army Bases Are For Sale
Believe it or not, some people can even buy army bunkers. A company called Vivos sells decommissioned army bunkers. In Wyoming, around 575 bunkers concrete bunkers are located “off-the-grid” in the grasslands. Most of these are no longer in use.
Some people can buy state bunkers. For instance, you can lease a South Dakota army bunker that has not been used in 1967. If you pay $25,000, you can lease it for 99 years. They are also a max of 2,120 feet, albeit with no circulation, electricity, or water.