Trashing East Texas: McCoy Road, Gish Lane

We continue to receive complaints from county residents, who say they can't seem to get anything done about their neighbors who are "trashing East Texas."

A Smith County woman says her neighbors' dumping and littering has made it impossible for her to sell her home.

Sonja McCoy and her husband live just east of Tyler's Loop 323 on McCoy Road. The trash can be seen outside her neighbors' homes and just around the corner on Gish Lane.

McCoy and her husband own 16 acres of land on a road named after them. On that land they've built their own home, swimming pool, and lake stocked with catfish. But their little paradise ends at their property line. Beyond that, all you see is trash.

"Our neighbors just don't take much pride in their surroundings," McCoy said.

Each of her neighbors has a different collection of trash.

In one yard, you can read newspaper headlines from 2001, '02, and '03. Neighbors say Mark and Melanie Mayfield used to live at the now vacant home. Mark is a newspaper distributor for the Dallas Morning News. And we interviewed him last year on an unrelated story about stolen news racks, four of which are in the front yard, along with other trash and old appliances.

Just up the road, an abandoned trailer with trash inside and out. It's these dumps that have made it impossible for the McCoys to sell their property for the past two years.

"Most of the time, the realtor will call and say that they drove by, and the neighborhood was just not up to standards as where they would like to live," McCoy said. "If you live in the county, there's not a whole lot you can do about your neighbors."

But there is something you can do, according to Precinct 2 County Commissioner Don Pinkerton.

"It does create a breeding ground for rodents and other pests that could be a health hazard," he said. "So there is a statute in place that can be applied. And they can get relief by contacting the constable, reporting that, and the constable will go out and make an assessment. And then he will write a proper citation."

Sonja and KLTV have called the county's environmental investigator. He says he'll come out tomorrow to look at the problem.

Mark and Melanie Mayfield contacted us this Tuesday afternoon and said Wednesday they will clean up the newspapers, news racks, and other trash left outside their former home. Melanie's mother owns the house. Mark says he found the newspaper racks in a nearby creek, after they were reportedly stolen from various locations in Tyler.

Julie Tam, reporting.