County Planning To Raze Former Stores

SNOW HILL — Short of some drastic, last-minute restoration by the owners, two troubled properties in Worcester County will be demolished within the next few weeks.

Two properties, the Bishopville Store in Bishopville and the Pusey Store in Snow Hill, have finally reached the point of dereliction where they are heading to the chopping block, according to county officials.

Director of Development Review and Permitting Ed Tudor informed the County Commission this week that his office has already collected bids for the demolition of the Bishopville store and expects to have another set of bids for demolition of the Pusey store in two weeks.

In the case of both properties, demolition is a “last resort,” noted Tudor, who added that the owners still have time to come in and bring their buildings up to code. The Pusey store especially could still be saved since bids haven’t even yet been collected regarding demolition.

“I wouldn’t say the demolition of the Pusey store is definite yet,” said Tudor.

Again in both cases, the county granted the owners several months to bring their buildings up to code. Both properties were significantly worn down and below code. Besides being unsightly, the condition of the stores presented some health and safety concerns as well, with Commissioner Louise Gulyas calling the Pusey store in particular “a mess, an eyesore” at a previous meeting.

Tudor did stress that “any building is restorable if you have unlimited funds” but was realistic about the likelihood of either stores’ owners moving forward at this point.

With the two buildings slated for demolition late summer or early fall, depending on the contractor’s schedules, Tudor confirmed his office still has a large number of similarly derelict properties on the table.

“I’ve always got some in the process … we’re working our way through them,” he said.

While every owner is given several warnings and opportunities to repair damaged structures before the county moves in with demolition, Tudor revealed that, with a number of cases, an owner cannot even be found to contact.

“With most of these properties, it’s either impossible to get a hold of [an owner] or there’s no one to get a hold of,” he said.

The commission unanimously approved Tudor’s request to seek bids for the demolition of the Pusey store as well as agreeing to accept a $19,991 bid for the demolition of the Bishopville store.