Trashing East Texas: Pine Trail Shores Residents Fed Up With Neighbors - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/11/05-Near Lake Palestine

Trashing East Texas: Pine Trail Shores Residents Fed Up With Neighbors

Some members of the Homeowners' Association in Pine Trail Shores tell us they're sick and tired of living among piles of trash. It's trash they say, lying on top of what used to be paradise. Pine Trail Shores is located in the south-western part of Smith County.  

For years, residents say they've pleaded with their neighbors to pick up their yards, but it's been no use.

It is a beautiful view of the lake, but to get to it, you have to pass lot after lot, trashed.

Resident Ralph Hurm: "You don't want to invite anybody out because you don't want them to see it."

Hurm lives next to a home on Channelview where there are abandoned cars, buckets filled with standing water that can breed mosquitoes, and even empty bottles of motor oil.

"It hurts our property values really bad as you can imagine," he says.

It's hard to walk around because of all the trash that's underneath leaves that fell in the fall, but the problem with this property is everything from rusting appliances to oil containers, everything, flows right down the sloping property into a stream.

"The debris that runs off here in the water is going right down in the creek and into Lake Palestine," Hurm says.

Dinah Coffield, president of the Homeowners' Association, has pleaded with her neighbors, but she says they're organization is powerless.

"We're like a dog with no teeth, because we can't do anything without the county helping us," Coffield says.

Smith County Precinct 2 Constable Frank Creath addresses their concerns.

"You can assess [the homeowners], you can fine them, you can put them in jail, but you can't make them clean up their property," Creath says.

He adds there are laws on the books to penalize homeowners, but it takes time and money. Also, there's just one litter abatement officer for the county.

"Conservative estimate, there are 3,000 places like that that need cleaning up [in the county], and it's going to take time."

Creath says many steps have to be taken before a ticket can be issued, but that 168 homeowners in Pine Trail Shores alone have been told to clean up their act. In the meantime, these folks say they'll try to pick up trash themselves.

Ralph Hurm looks at the piles of trash on Channelview and adds, "We've come out and cleaned up this yard already, and it's back like this."

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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