The owner of a Woodbridge mobile home park that was inundated during flooding last year is asking a Prince William County Circuit Court to allow mobile homes to be rebuilt before the court considers a pending lawsuit.
Holly Acres Mobile Home Park in Woodbridge was flooded during last September’s Tropical Storm Lee. Soon after the wreckage was cleared — and the dozens of people left homeless were relocated — the legal battle began.
The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals ruled that the county erred when it demolished many of the mobile homes in the wake of the storm and barred the mobile home owner, Henry “Hank” Ridge, from rebuilding. But when the Board of County Supervisors took up the issue, they opted to take the Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision to court.
The Circuit Court has combined that case with the owner’s lawsuit, said Mark Moorstein, Ridge’s attorney. Ridge has sued the county for $8 million, saying officials failed to act when they knew the area posed a flooding danger, among other issues.
While that case is still pending, Ridge’s lawyers want a Circuit Court judge to issue an injunction that would allow him to rebuild. Moorstein said county officials have not explicitly ruled that the area is unsafe.
“You have 283,000 people in Virginia that live in a flood zone,” Moorstein said. “If you apply that theory, that means the state can come in and tell [the town of] Occoquan to move out.”
County officials have said Ridge should not be able to rebuild because of safety issues there. They also have said that county homeowners’ flood insurance rates would increase and it would affect the county’s ability to apply for federal disaster aid if mobile homes were allowed to be rebuilt in a federal flood zone.
Thirty units are still standing in the mobile home park, and Ridge hopes to rebuild the approximately 60 units that were destroyed.
The court is scheduled to hear Ridge’s injunction request March 23.