FORT MILL The two-story castle that has served as a Fort Mill landmark and community conversation piece for more than 20 years is being demolished.
But before the building could be torn down Tuesday afternoon, York County officials made crews stop work.
Once known as Kings Castle, the building was part of the Heritage USA Christian theme park, and later the Heritage Island water park, built by PTL Club founders Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. It attracted visitors to Fort Mill from around the country.
The property is now owned by MorningStar Ministries. Ministry leader Rick Joyner said the castle was being torn down to make room for something the whole community could use, such as a dog park.
The castle hasnt been in use since the 1990s. Joyner said MorningStar considered refurbishing it, but decided that wouldnt be cost effective.
Crews began demolition Tuesday morning, but work was halted around 4 p.m. when county officials put a red stop work sign on the property.
A demolition permit is required by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. DHEC had no record that a permit had been granted for the work.
York County was first on the scene, but DHEC has also been out there and were told (Morningstar) would take the necessary steps to be in compliance, DHEC spokeswoman Lindsey Evans said.
A MorningStar spokesperson said Joyner would not answer questions about the demolition permit.
MorningStar sued York County in January to dispute the countys claim that the organization had defaulted on an agreement to renovate its 21-story tower nearby.
In 2007, MorningStar began renovating the tower and in January 2008 signed a development agreement with York County.
The ministry says the countys default notice has caused significant financial harm, making it almost impossible to renovate the unfinished tower.
County and ministry officials tried mediation but could not come to terms.
Anna Douglas contributed.