Junkyard on Bartow property finally cleaned up

Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 18:45:00-05

The smelly trash piling up in a Bartow neighborhood is now headed to a real landfill.

Code Enforcement worked for several hours Monday, clearing a property on Oak Street in Bartow that turned into a junkyard over the last few months.

"It was very much a nuisance," said Alan Adams, who lived across the street from the eyesore.

The property is filled with couches, chairs, probably a dozen old TVs and all sorts of trash. All of it, at one time, used to be someone's curbside trash.

The city said David Boyette and his mother dragged the trash to their property to add to their collection.

"We can't just let it continue. It's not fair to the neighbors," said Gregg Lamb, a building official in Bartow.

Lamb said it's a clear violation of the city code, and since the owners failed to act, the city is doing it for them.

As tractors scooped up debris, police officers were standing by, just in case tempers flared.

A few months ago, police arrested Boyette after he got combative when code enforcement officers tore down his family's dilapidated and dangerous home.

"I'm not fighting them, do you see me fighting them?" Boyette said Monday outside the cleanup zone.

This time around, he played it cool, practicing his golf swing as crews loaded up three and a half dumpsters with his junk.

At one point, when another dumpster arrived, he caught up on his sleep on the sidewalk next to the belongings he salvaged.

Neighbors are not just dealing with an eyesore, they're also contending with a very noticeable stench. The owners stay in the junkyard on and off, but there are no bathrooms.

"All of the houses are 100 years or older here, and we take pride in our houses, and it's just bringing our property values down," Adams said.

Although the mess will be gone by Monday night, there's no guarantee it will stay that way.

The owners face a $500 per day fine, plus $15,000 in demo costs, but the city will probably never see the money. The family is homeless and shows no desire to sell the property.

Lamb said the city has repeatedly tried to help them,but they refuse.

"We'll probably have to deal with this again at some point, but we won't let it get to the point where it is today," he said.