YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A pile of construction debris created controversy between the owner of a Peninsula diner and a local businessman. But commenters on social media decided which side would prevail.
Driving up George Washington Highway in York County, it’s hard to see The Good Time Diner. The restaurant is is hidden by a pile of concrete rubble on an empty lot next door.
“I’m just a single mom. I struggle every day to keep these doors open” said Restaurant Owner Deanna Reese. “You put this stuff here and people can’t see me, and I can’t pay the rent. I violate my lease, and then it’s a no win situation for me.”
Reese said her new landlord, Dan Rosinski with Able Archer LLC, has tried to convince her to move out of the Grafton Shopping Center that he is trying to refurbish and restore.
“I told him you’ve got to move this dirt … why? Because you can’t see the restaurant,” Reese said. “I said you gotta move the dirt. He said, ‘it’s not my dirt, it’s VDOT’s.’”
That’s not exactly the full story. Rosinski, who was not available for an interview with WAVY.com, has a short-term lease with EV Williams, who is widening Highway 17 as part of a VDOT contract. Rosinski gets paid for storing the construction debris.
This week, Reese took the matter to WAVY’s Facebook page, and that changed everything.
“When I went to the WAVY Facebook page with the story, it blew up,” She said. “It blew up all over my Facebook page, the restaurant’s Facebook page. As soon as I put it on WAVY’s Facebook, it blew up, and the response has been phenomenal.”
Rosinski’s response seems to indicate he’s moved too. Reese said he conveyed to her he understood what she was saying.
“There was concern about what was here. It was a major eyesore,” said
Rosinski’s construction manager, Dale Stephens, was directed to clean up the site: “All I was directed to do was to come and clean this mess up. That is why I am here,” he told 10 On Your Side.
At the site Thursday, dump truck after dump truck was getting loaded with dirt, taken a mile away and dumped at the widening project.
For now, Reese has a sense of victory. “Our cries have been heard. The little people won this battle,” she said.
The question is: will she win the war? She still has a two-year lease.
Letters from Rosinski’s attorney, Conway Shield, note she was offered her $10,000 deposit back to move. She countered with $50,000 and her $10,000 back for a total of $60,000. Shield told WAVY.com, “We asked her to move, but when she said she wanted to stay, that was it. She can stay.”