For months, a partially constructed building has stood on the corner of S. Main St. and Waverly Ave. in Kilmarnock with no visible progress being made. The idled project is raising questions from the public and has sparked numerous complaints.
Town and county permits show Hurst Harvey Oil planned to build a Get N Zip convenience store with a fuel canopy and car wash on the site.
Representatives from the town and county said they have not taken any official action or issued any orders that are delaying the project.
In September, Kilmarnock’s planning and zoning director, Marshall Sebra emailed Melinda Lewis, who is named as the applicant on the town’s zoning permit application for the project.
In addition to telling her the town hopes to see construction resume and reach completion, he added that they were fielding a lot of inquiries about the status of the project, “many of which are complaints” about sediment and stormwater runoff as well tall grass that impaired drivers’ visibility.
Lewis replied saying she would have the grass cut and would have someone look into the erosion.
She also revealed a potential reason why work on the site had stopped.
“Sona Bank pulled funding from us, and it has been a nightmare. But things are starting to come together with funding from another bank, and we will resume soon.”
But December arrived and construction still hadn’t restarted.
As of earlier this month, Lancaster hadn’t taken any action regarding sediment and stormwater runoff from the site. But Brian Barnes, Lancaster’s director of planning and land use, said if construction on a site has idled for more than 60 days, the open ground must be seeded and strawed and the other open ground areas must be graveled.
And Lancaster doesn’t set a limit on how long a construction project can take, but there is the risk that the related permits could expire if progress isn’t made, and that’s enough of a deterrent for most people, Barnes added.
According to the terms cited on the county’s construction and erosion/land use permits, they can be deemed invalid if there are no construction inspections after six months. And the next inspection for the project on S. Main and Waverly is slated for January.
At that time, Lancaster’s director of facilities, Ernie Sadler, said he will reach out to the owner or contractor for an update on the construction schedule.
If no construction schedule is provided, the county has the option of issuing a Notice of Violation for abandonment of work. But Sadler also has the authority to extend the six-month inspection deadline if there is a viable reason for delay on construction. And with COVID-19 and the availability of materials we are providing more time if requested, he said.
As of the time of press, Lewis had not responded to requests for information about the project’s delay or projected completion.