40+ Hernando commercial buildings designated as ‘unrepaired sinkhole activity’

by Michael Mosher on January 7, 2016

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SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) — Do you shop or eat out at commercial buildings with known sinkhole activity? Should property owners who receive insurance settlement checks be required to use that money to repair their public buildings?

First, our 8 On Your Side investigation discovered sinkhole activity underneath the Town Square Mall in Spring Hill. The owner cashed a hefty insurance settlement check after an engineering firm wrote in its report that it could take 450 truckloads of cement to fill up all the voids beneath the shopping plaza.

Now, 8 On Your Side has a list of more than 40 commercial buildings that Hernando County labels “unrepaired” sinkhole activity.

One commercial building on the list is Donnelly’s Deli & Catering. Owner Brian Donnelly says he’s putting the sinkhole problem “in God’s hands” for now. Donnelly says he used some of his insurance money to pay off his mortgage and put the rest in the bank.

But he’s not planning to fix the problems under the ground, he said, unless he sees problems above ground, such as holes opening up in the parking lot or cracks in the building.

He worries that fixing the problems by pumping cement underneath the building now might cause even more problems.

“I’m not too concerned about the whole building falling in, but you never know,” Donnelly said. ” I mean I could fix this thing with cement and two weeks from now, the whole thing could go in he ground.”

But what about public risk?

“I’m not trying to defraud anybody,” Donnelly said. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”

Also on the list is office buildings, car wash, furniture store and warehouses.

Hernando County’s building department knows all about the list, but can’t do anything to force the owner to make repairs if the building is not in “imminent risk” of collapse.

Full story here

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