Someone has been illegally dumping on a piece of secluded property in Smyrna. Now the county is coming after the landowners to clean it up.
Just past the posted and no trespassing signs on David and Betsy Helton's serene piece of land in Rutherford County sits an illegal dumping ground.
"It's peaceful, and away from everything," property owner Betsy Helton said. "We got almost 12 acres in Smyrna that is a completed dump because people won't stay off of it."
Old tires, construction and roofing material, household trash, and much more litter the property.
"There is aluminum siding, plastic siding, and bricks, ton of bricks," Helton said.
The Rutherford County Building and Zoning Department recently sent the Heltons a letter, notifying them someone had complained about the trash. Even though the property owners are not to blame for the dumping, the county had no choice but to go after them.
"A lot of times the property owner doesn't even know that people are dumping on their property," zoning official Joanne Criswell said. "Our letter is a shock to them."
The fence to the entrance of the property meant to keep people out has been torn down multiple times. Despite using old tires as a make-shift fence, people are moving them, and continuing to dump.
The Heltons have agreed to clean up the property, but they are hoping Rutherford County Sheriff's officials are able to catch the illegal dumpers in the act. The property owners have filed an incident report with the sheriff's department about the illegal dumping.
"We've found mail leading to who dumped household trash, we've found (receipts) from Lowe's where they purchased the siding, but we haven't had any way of tracking the people down who are responsible," Helton said.
Zoning inspectors will be visiting the property every 30 days to make sure the work is being done.
"We're going to monitor the problem and check back in 30 days and just note the progress," Criswell said. "As long as we see progress, we just leave the property owner alone and hopefully close it one day."
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation contacted the Helton's because some of the old tires were set on fire at the property. The family was given 20 days to find out who did it or they could face a fine from the state for illegal burning.
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