- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:30
- Published on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:30
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“It will be nice to have a location where we don’t have to go ten miles to get a jug of milk,” Cabin Point resident Russ Culver told the Westmoreland Supervisors during a hearing on July 9.
Culver’s stated sentiment is shared by residents of Tidwells, Cabin Point, Glebe Harbor, Erica, Mount Holly and the extended Machodoc Neck community. The little country store at the intersection of Erica and Mount Holly roads went out of business during the past winter, but prospective buyer Don Hess has plans to rebuild as quickly as Fall 2013.
No one in the community can remember a time where Erica corner did not have a country store. When an older structure was destroyed by fire, a new building was quickly put in place. The establishment took care of the extended community when power failed as a result of ice storms and hurricanes.
Watermen and recreational boaters used the establishment to purchase gas and the establishment’s kerosene fueled stoves when power lines were felled. Staples such as milk and bread were available on that corner any time supplies ran short at home.
With a dilapidated building and newspaper boxes even hauled away, residents from surrounding neighborhoods had to travel to Montross or Carmel Church to purchase gasoline to fuel their cars. Workmen have likewise been compelled to travel extended distances to purchase cold drinks when they break for lunch.
Hess negotiated a purchase agreement and expects to close on the property some time in August. The contract was contingent on obtaining the requisite county government and state agency approvals. With Department of Transportation, Health Department and other approvals in hand, Hess went to the Westmoreland Planning commission on June 25. On July 2 the Commission issued a determination that recommended Board of Supervisors approval of that applicant’s special exception request.
Because the prospective purchaser planned to completely demolish the existing structure, the long established retail use of that Agricultural, A-1 parcel could not be sustained under modern zoning rules. A special exception approval was required.
In addition to the special exception approval the Board of Supervisors issued on July 9, a setback variance was required. The store’s half acre lot necessitated siting of the replacement structure too close to the state road. The Westmoreland Board of Zoning Appeals issued that approval when it met on July 23.
Himself a former member of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, Russ Culver articulated the sentiments of the extended community when he addressed the subject of the corner store’s strategic importance on July 9.
“The people who live in the Cabin Point and Glebe Harbor subdivisions are very happy that there is someone who is willing to do what is needed to put the store back where it has always been,” he stated. “Don Hess is going through the processes to get the approvals he needs and all the people want his efforts to succeed.”
“I’m very pleased with the response I received from the Department of Transportation,” Hess told the Westmoreland Supervisors. “The county’s Land Use office has been extremely helpful. I expect to close on the property, have everything open for business a year from now.”
“I am very excited to see a business coming back to that area,” said District 2 Supervisor Rosemary Mahan.
Residents who historically relied on the country store at the intersection of Erica and Mount Holly roads know they must steel themselves through the upcoming twelve-month interval, weathering the current season’s hurricanes and the next round of winter storms with no milk, bread and fuel from the little country store.
A sewer project is coming to the neighborhood later this year and workmen will have to learn to pack their lunches and cold beverages during the first phase of that construction project. Hess told The Journal he wishes it could have been possible to have everything in place much sooner but is pleased to have finally cleared the final hurdle on July 23.