Henrico homeowners claim new Wawa construction is damaging their homes

Taking Action

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Some Henrico homeowners claim the construction of a new Wawa is damaging their dream homes.

Sharon Fitzgerald of Briardale Lane told 8News her backyard has been her little piece of paradise until now. 

“I haven’t been able to enjoy my backyard for almost a year now,” Fitzgerald said. 

Behind her home, crews are building a Wawa on Parham Road. 

“They took down about three acres of trees, all the debris came over on me,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the construction has damaged her fence. A few days ago crews put up a temporary fence as a barrier but Fitzgerald said the damage is already done.

Dust and debris from the work have also destroyed her patio furniture, costing her $200 to get clean, Fitzgerald added.

That’s not all that’s rattling Fitzgerald.

“The house shakes continuously,” Fitzgerald told 8News.

According to Fitzgerald, vibrations from the construction work, tilt and turn the art on her wall. One shake even knocked a picture frame to the floor and broke it.

Yet, even more concerning, Fitzgerald is now seeing cracks in her home.

“There are cracks up here and as you can see, there are cracks all across up here that were never here before,” she said.

Fitzgerald believes the continuous shaking from excavation, drilling and jack hammering is causing her home of 24 years to crack.

Fitzgerald’s neighbors, James Eason and Alison Berry are suddenly seeing cracks in their house too.

“We’ve got a crack that goes the length of the ceiling here,”  Eason said.

The couple told 8News they often work from home, the construction has made their home environment stressful.

“Shaking the house, rattling things causing damage to our house,” Berry said. “The construction has been quite difficult to live through.”

They say the noise from the work makes it impossible to enjoy their deck.

“It’s just non-stop pounding, beating, jack-hammering anything you can think of,” Berry said.

The homeowners said they’ve all reached out to the developer and Wawa for help. Fitzgerald said that Wawa offered her free hot dogs for a year.

“I don’t think that’s real compensation for the damage that has been done here,” she said.

8News did some digging and experts say vibrations from equipment used in construction can cause cracks in the walls.

Some homeowners insurance claims may cover it but proving it can be difficult. Often you need proof of what the home looked like before the work started. 

The homeowners hired attorney Bill Shields and he thinks they got a case.

“These people have an investment and for most people, it’s their biggest investment and that value is being stolen from them,” Shields said.

8News reached out to Wawa. However, they did not address questions about the construction site.

“Wawa has been part of our Virginia communities for more than 20 years. With every new store we build, we have a long tradition of listening to our communities and responding to questions and concerns. We will always do that.”

8News also reached out to Henrico County since they approved the project. In a statement the County tells us: 

“Development of the site is governed by county ordinances, the Virginia Construction Code regulations, and the rezoning and plan of development approvals.

The on-site activities are proceeding in accordance with the ordinances, regulations and approvals at this time. County staff have received and addressed the resident complaints about the construction activities on this parcel and have been in direct communications with Ms. Fitzgerald and Mr. Eason.

Signage is posted on-site regarding construction activities being limited between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and was confirmed with the contractor as recently as last week.

Staff have not witnessed problems with dust control from the site to date but will advise the contractor of the requirements for preventing dust being generated from the site.

We will continue to monitor site activities for ongoing compliance with the ordinances, regulations and approvals through our routine permitting and inspection processes. We will also continue to follow our policy of communicating our findings and actions back to any complainants. 

Any damages to adjoining properties would need to be resolved between the affected private parties. The county would only be involved to the extent that permits and inspections are required to complete those repairs.”

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