- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Contractor says applicant stalled paperwork
By LINDSAY RENNERStaff writer
Following months of delay and a dispute that spanned three parties, the Indian Head Pharamacy appears to finally be on the fast track toward completion.
At Monday night’s Indian Head Town Council meeting, things finally came to a head, but did not boil over. Rather, Town Manager Ryan Hicks said, he feels the progress pharmacy owner Vince Ippolito has sought for months is nigh.
During the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, Ippolito took the microphone and presented the town council and residents with two questions.
“I would like to ask the residents ... if they know what Planchek is,” Ippolito said. “My next question after that is why did the town choose Planchek?”
Ippolito waited while Indian Head Mayor Dennis Scheessele addressed the crowd with the former question, and answered the latter by saying that Planchek had presented the best value for the bid when the town was seeking its contractor for code enforcement.
Ippolito then addressed what he called Planchek’s “notorious reputation for hindering small business” in Charles County before rescinding the microphone without another word. Following the meeting, Hicks said he and Ippolito sat down to discuss the pharmacy’s progress.
“Mr. Ippolito and I had a very good talk,” Hicks said. “We don’t need any more negative back and forth ... we just want to get the pharmacy open. I wish he had come to me sooner, but things are on track now, and I’d say I anticipate him getting the [use and occupancy] permit within the next two weeks.”
In December 2011, the Independent first reported that the pharmacy was set to open in late January or early February 2012, following the relocation of the CVS in town, which served as the only pharmacy within the town’s limits.
However, a follow-up report in January indicated that construction had been halted following a stop-work order nailed to the door shortly after beginning.
Despite the holdup, construction resumed at the end of January.
In late June, a conflict occurred between Ippolito and the town regarding his “green card,” a document that Hicks said established the need for inspection by the state fire marshal’s office and health department, along with electrical, zoning and building and plumbing inspections. Without it, Ippolito said he “went in blind” for six months until he said he finally received the card, which Hicks confirmed had been printed and distributed twice, although he could not confirm who had received a copy.
Further, Indian Head Planchek contractor Richard Wilcher said he informed Ippolito, who had called him regarding the U&O two weeks ago, that he needed the certification for floor repair from the architect, La Plata-based R.L.Litten and Associates, along with an electrician to conduct work on the building’s wiring. Although Wilcher said he has confirmed with the architect that Ippolito is in possession of the letter from the architect, he cannot vouch for the status of the electric work.
David Rose, president of Planchek, was adamant that the company is not looking to hold up construction.
“We have no motive to prevent a permit holder from finishing their work,” Rose said. “In fact, we don’t get paid until the work is completed. The issue is that [Ippolito] is either unwilling or unable to give us the documents that we need. I’m scratching my head here. The path is clear.”
Scheessele responded similarly.
“That’s just ridiculous,” he said. “Why would we want to prevent a business from opening in our town? We need the storefronts, and the residents need the service they will provide. From my perception, we haven’t done anything to hold him up, and now he’s blaming us.”