Lawsuit likely in the battle over Holly Acres

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON — Sixty-Six families lost their homes when water from Tropical Storm Lee inundated their trailer park Sept. 8. Now, there could be a court battle in over rebuilding it.

Holly Acres Mobile Home Park is hard to find. It is wedged in between a fast food restaurant and several strip malls along Route 1 in Prince William County.

Some of the families who lived there — mostly minorities — have not been able to find new places to live. The county condemned 66 trailers that were then destroyed, even though only two were actually inspected for the extent of the damage.

Hank Ridge, the owner of the trailer park who does not live locally, wants to rebuild the park, and the Prince William County zoning board has approved his request to do so.

But Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart says that would put the residents in danger again.

“We’ve got to look at the policy implications of allowing the trailer park owner to rebuild when we know that there has been a flood and when we know there could easily be a flood,” says Stewart.

“We were lucky that nobody was killed the first time around.”

A number of the families who lost their homes had to be evacuated by the fire department in swift boats when the water rose rapidly during the tropical storm.

Stewart says it would be “irresponsible” to allow the park to be rebuilt.

That means the board of supervisors would have to appeal the zoning board’s decision by going to district court. A decision on whether to file a lawsuit could come at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The park remains open with some of the homes that were not damaged during the storm. Some of the families flooded out have found new homes.

Stewart says he’d like to see the land used for some other commercial venture where flooding would be less of an issue.

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