April 27, 1996 in Washington Voices

Junk Cars, Pigs Mar Once-Beautiful View

Brian Coddington Staff Writer
 

When Bud and Mary Jo Coe moved into their home on Micaview Drive 21 years ago, the field behind the house was filled with golden wheat.

The wheat has been replaced with a graveyard of junked vehicles and dozens of pigs.

Vans, pick-up trucks, dump trucks, campers, tractors, cars and a garbage truck help form the colorful new landscape.

“He’s got beaucoup vehicles in various states of repair or disrepair,” Bud Coe said. “Every year it just keeps expanding. It’s just a graveyard for them.”

Neighbors said the vehicles started to pile up more than five years ago when Duane and Donna Courchaine moved into a mobile home at 19818 E. Sprague. The pigs were a recent addition.

Residents recently complained to the county zoning inspector about the mess and the stench the pigs were causing.

Duane Courchaine, an excavation contractor, said he has yet to receive a complaint letter from the county. Records show the letter was mailed Wednesday.

But Courchaine, who was fined and is still on probation following a previous zoning violation, said he is moving the pigs. However, he does not plan to get rid of the vehicles, from which he takes parts to repair his tractors and race cars.

“I’ll have to see what the complaint says and go from there,” said Courchaine, who has not lived on the property for several years.

The property is zoned for suburban residential-1 use. The designation allows Courchaine to keep up to 15 animals and a reasonable number of vehicles pertinent to running the household, the zoning inspector said.

Fifty vehicles now clutter the Courchaines’ five acres. Piles of scrap lumber, cardboard boxes, plastic pipes and dozens of pigs also have a home among the mess.

For months the number of pigs nearly tripled the number of cars, creating a foul smell that wafted throughout the Greenacres neighborhood, residents said.

“You can’t believe how bad that was,” Bud Coe said. “On Easter Sunday I had friends and family over and it chased them off the deck.”

That prompted him to call zoning investigator Allan deLaubenfels to complain. Others, including Rushell Neil, also complained.

“I think (the cars and the pigs) should be gone,” she said. “They don’t live here, so they don’t care what it smells like.”

The vehicle bodies are visible from Neil’s backyard. She also can smell the pig odor from her yard.

Scott Rein, who lives behind the Courchaines’ property, said he could live with the mess if he didn’t have to smell the pigs.

DeLaubenfels has been fielding complaints periodically for more than two years. He first inspected the Courchaines’ Sprague Avenue property on Oct. 21, 1993.

“There’s no question that it’s an eyesore and causing problems for the neighbors,” deLaubenfels said.

Newspaper records show that Courchaine also was fined $100 and given two years’ probation for storing too many junk cars on another Valley property in July of 1994.

A chain-link fence surrounds most of the mess behind his Sprague Avenue property. Screening strips woven into the links block many of the vehicles from view on the north side.

However, the screening ends halfway around, leaving the vehicles easily visible to neighbors to the south.

Courchaine also previously told deLaubenfels he would store the vehicles inside a large shed on the property, the zoning inspector said.

But vehicles are still parked all over the lot, neighbors complain.

Worse yet, since Courchaine began keeping the pigs about four months ago, as many as 140 shared a pen.

Courchaine said he moved most of the pigs to a farm in Cheney after neighbors complained about the smell.

Coe has planted a row of willow trees along his back fence to help block out the mess. Rein is thinking about planting evergreens.

An immediate improvement would be for Courchaine to finish filling in the fence with screening strips, neighbors said. And, get rid of the pigs.

“That would be a start,” Coe said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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