Abandoned Route 589 Property Cleanup Called ‘A Nightmare’ By County Officials

SNOW HILL – The county-initiated cleanup of the property once home to Planted Pleasures Garden Center is underway and could be complete within a week.

Ed Tudor, director of the Worcester County Department of Development Review and Permitting, said the nuisance abatement process started at the Route 589 property Nov. 27. The county secured a contractor to clean up the site, which is full of abandoned property and dilapidated structures, when the property owner failed to do so.

“I’m sorry to report the cleanup is much more extensive than we imagined,” Tudor said.

Kevin Evans, owner of the Route 589 property, was advised by county officials this summer that the uncontrolled grass and weeds and dilapidated structures on the site needed to be cleaned up. The commissioners agreed in September to give Evans a 60-day extension to abate the nuisance.

When Evans failed to address the issue, the county hired a contractor to do so.

“The more we clean up the more we find,” Tudor said this week.

He asked the commissioners Tuesday to waive bidding requirements for the cleanup so that if it does exceed $10,000 the contractor currently working on the site can finish the job. Tudor said eight dumpsters of refuse had already been removed from the site. He expects the project to cost $20,000 to $30,000.

“It’s been a nightmare to clean up,” Tudor said, adding that much of the refuse was plastic that fell apart and eventually had to be picked up by hand.

Several of the commissioners said they’d visited the site when the cleanup started.

“I was shocked at the amount of debris that was covered, hidden,” Commissioner Bud Church said.

Commissioner Chip Bertino said he’d already gotten calls from area residents who were grateful to see the mess addressed.

Tudor said the cost of the overall cleanup would depend on the weight of the debris hauled away. While it’s not unusual for the county to address nuisance issues when owners fail to do so, Tudor said this case was complicated due to the unknown extent of the debris.

When the work is complete, Evans will be billed for the cost.