Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Monday, October 20, 2003

Over 2 weeks ago I had contacted Walt Zeremba, our County's Supervisor, about the potential plans for a shelter. Unfortunately he was out of town. So we went ahead and invited people from local churches, Joyce from United Way, Captain Shannon from Salvation Army and Paul Aron over to look at the building and get their opinions. Although the main part of the building is a sound structure, you still have to use your imagination to see it’s potential. The following week, Walt Zeremba had called me back and we talked about the zoning and what plans could possibly pass. He informed me I needed to contact Mr. Carter at Planning Office for our county to also discuss the area's zoning. A few days later, especially after the story ran, I contacted Mr. Carter. He explained the zoning regulations and suggested for me to contact Mr. Seaburn of Building/Inspections. I talked with him last week to also assure him that we are wanting to keep this in the up and up. We need to know the process and about building permits, paperwork and so forth. We scheduled an appointment for him to come over Tuesday to look at the building and let us know what can and can't be done. Also, I informed him the building right now is inhabitable because of the hurricane, we lost several shingles and a part of the side was torn down on the outside of the building. Which we are waiting for the insurance adjuster to see it before the landlord has my husband do the repairs.

But, you see most of the building is actually in good condition, since Mr. Woods used it for an appliance repair and retail shop. It reminds me of the house we recently moved out of. It is a concrete block 1200 square foot building. The only difference is that we don't have any bathrooms attached to the plumbing. It came complete with plumbing inside in several areas, and many electrical outlets. Why is this a strange fact to point out, you wonder?

Because this afternoon while taking a break from sweeping out the dirt from inside the building, a gentleman pulled up from York County. Now I had assumed it was Mr. Seaburn a day early, which still would have been fine. I even said "Aren't you a day early? I thought we were meeting in the morn." He introduced himself and said "you are meeting with Mr. Seaburn?" I explained what our future plans are and that Mr. Seaburn is to come tomorrow and go over permits. So he proceeded to tell me he was responding to an email sent a few days ago. He asked me about the electrical, which as I said before the building came with an outlet every 2 feet throughout and many different appliance outlets. I assured him that other than the painting, everything else would be done with a building permit that our new landlords are signing for us. "Your landlords know about your plans?" He asked. "Yes, as a matter of fact, they are in HUD housing developing and also business ventures. When we rented the place, we told them everything about what we do and also about Robert living with us. Do whatever you want and if papers or permits need to be signed, we will sign em." (I explained about Robert and his heart condition and how the landlords approved him renting with us.) So as I explained to him, our landlords have no problem, especially since in 2-3 years they are planning on tearing down all their property in this area and building either apartment complex (which I even told them zoning would have to be changed) or doctors offices. Which we knew this when we rented.

After speaking with the gentleman, he said "Let me get the email and show you. I feel if somebody is going to file a complaint, then the person the complaint is on should know what we received." He handed me a piece of paper and wow was I floored. It was from our old landlords on 10121 Sycamore Landing Rd. They or she specifically stated that we were doing work on the building without permits and that we were doing plumbing and electrical work as well. Even the inspector saw that all we had done was paint the outside of the building. We hadn't done any work other than that to the building.

But, I want to make this clear. We will have permits, we will have business licenses and we do have our new landlords' permission. But to think our old landlords are still involved in this and even more so the fact they are speaking out without knowing the facts and just assuming and turning us into the Building and Zoning Inspectors is shocking. Those of you who know or have access to the internet can go to http://www.regis.state.va.us/jcc/public/ieprop.htm and type in the address of 10121 Sycamore Landing Rd. It will give the mailing address of our old landlords. THIS IS PUBLIC INFO or the COUNTY wouldn't have it on their webpage.


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