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The State of NoVa
Posted at 05:57 PM ET, 11/28/2011

Pr. William supervisors may decide whether to take mobile home park to court

The chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors said he hopes to fight a recent decision that allows a Woodbridge mobile home park owner to rebuild after the area was decimated by September flooding.

After Tropical Storm Lee pummeled Northern Virginia in September, it was immediately clear that Holly Acres Mobile Home Park would take a long time to recover. Marumsco Creek had flooded the park, washing away several mobile homes, damaging damaging others and leaving dozens of residents homeless.
A man walks from his mother's condemned mobile home in September after inspecting flooding damage. Marumsco Creek flooded a portion of Holly Acres mobile home park in Woodbridge on Sept. 8, 2011. (John McDonnell - THE WASHINGTON POST)

The county condemned the property and issued demolition permits to clear out the portion of the park that sat in a federally defined floodway.

The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously reversed that decision last week, which would allow the park owner to rebuild. But board Chairman Corey A. Stewart said he wants supervisors to allow the Circuit Court to settle the dispute.

Supervisors are expected to discuss the issue Tuesday, and a majority of supervisors would need to endorse an appeal of the BZA’s decision.

“It’s clearly a massive safety hazard, and we’re very lucky people didn’t get killed,” Stewart said of the mobile home park. “To allow this trailer park owner to [rebuild] . . . imperils the safety of these families.”

Mark Moorstein, the attorney who represents the mobile home park, said he is hoping the two sides can come to an agreement without going to court. But he disagrees with Stewart’s assessment and said the county failed to act when officials have known for years that the mobile home park could flood.

He pointed to a 2009 county report that identified $1 million to $2 million worth of improvements needed to the entire Route 1 corridor area, as well as problems with a nearby culvert controlled by CSX Railroad that he said contributed to the area’s flooding.

Moorstein said the county has too easily brushed aside the largely impoverished, Latino community.

“I don’t think it was evil as much as it was neglectful,” Moorstein said.

Residents have shown up at the county office building asking for permits to start construction. But Moorstein said the county has denied those requests pending a decision by the Board of County Supervisors.

By  |  05:57 PM ET, 11/28/2011

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