Community members hosted a Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday evening for the displaced residents of the Holly Acres mobile park in Woodbridge, Va., but the meal may have tasted bittersweet.
On Monday, a zoning appeals board voted unanimously to overturn a ruling that prevented the residents of the community from moving back in after they were displaced by Tropical Storm Lee. But when some of them tried to return on Tuesday, they were told they had to wait until the Prince William County Board of Supervisors had a chance to review that appeal.
During the storm the community, which is located in a designated flood way, saw extreme conditions with water levels up to 10 feet. According to county officials, there were more than 20 residents who had to be rescued by swift boat.
Corey Stewart, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said they will definitely appeal the decision by the zoning board on a safety concern.
"I believe it is our ethical responsibility to try and prevent the rebuilding of this park which is in a flood way that will flood again," he said, adding that next time the results could be deadly.
Kelly Dickerson, the Holly Acres property manager, said the residents of the community understand the risk.
"They lost their home, they're willing to get another home and come back. They're not afraid to be here," she said. Dickerson said it was a real blow when the residents were told they had to wait up to another month before they would know the fate of their former home.
Stewart said the development was created in 1960, before there were stringent rules on where you could build residencies.
"After seeing that devastation, I was personally determined that the trailer park would not be rebuilt in that flood way," he said. "It's unsafe and all those families were in peril then, and would be in peril again."
Until a decision is made, the residents will continue to live in limbo. According to Dickerson, many of them have been temporarily living with multiple families because they are a "close knit group" that is just ready to return home.