County Eyes More Nuisance Properties

SNOW HILL — As part of continuing efforts to clean up Worcester County, the County Commission agreed this week to move forward with three different demolitions of properties considered nuisances.

All three properties had previously been slated for demolition. In each case, however, obstacles arose that persuaded the commission to alter the approach at last week’s meeting.

In the case of two nuisance properties in Newark, 8205 and 8213 Newark Road, demolition had been requested and approved earlier in the year. Originally, the commission decided to use the demolitions as training exercises.

“As a result of that discussion, the commissioners agreed that training exercises by controlled burning would be their preferred method for removal of dilapidated structures in nuisance abatement cases throughout the county,” said Director of Development Review and Permits Ed Tudor in a memo to the commission.

Tudor explained that while the Newark Fire Company was interested in the opportunity to conduct training exercises and was willing to demolish the structures, it was determined that power lines on the property might be damaged if the buildings were burned. Subsequent talks with Delmarva Power revealed that it would cost the county an estimated $20,000 to have the lines relocated.

“Given this high cost to move the lines, I respectfully request that the County Commissioners allow us to abate the nuisances by simply tearing down the structures instead of having them burned,” Tudor said.

Public Works Director John Tustin confirmed that his department would be able to tear down the structures easily, as they were small, and demolition could be done at a fraction of the cost of moving the lines with the only cost being man-hours.

A third property located in Snow Hill, Pusey’s Store, has come before the commission repeatedly over the last several months. Singled-out as a public hazard and nuisance last autumn, demolition on the structure has been delayed due to the insistence by owners that the nuisance would be abated. However, earlier this summer after a final deadline had been broken, the commission voted to move ahead with demolition.

Tudor returned this week to report that only one contractor out of the original three who completed a different, recent demolition had returned a bid for the Pusey’s Store project and that the bid “exceeds the $10,000 threshold for formal bidding.” Tudor recommended that because of the lack of interest and the fact that Pusey’s Store is not in immediate danger of collapse the commission solicit formal bids for the work.

The commissioners voted unanimously to move ahead with all of Tudor’s recommendations.