Two Caroline Co. Mobile Home Parks Could Shut Down - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Two Caroline Co. Mobile Home Parks Could Shut Down

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CAROLINE CO., Md. – Approximately 150 Caroline County residents may have to find a new home, unless certain state health and environmental standards are addressed.

Cedar and Hilltop Mobile Home parks have been under close watch by the Caroline County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, among other agencies, for their water and wastewater treatment issues. Debbie Rowe, mayor of Marydel, Maryland, says she has seen the problems long before any agencies got involved.

"It's bad, really bad," says Mayor Rowe.

"This is a situation that we have where this is not going appropriately and hasn't been for a while," says Laura Patrick, deputy health officer for the Caroline County Health Department.

The issues include arsenic levels above state standards in the parks' drinking water, and a septic system that has been failing for years. Caroline County Health Department officials say they have been urging the housing company that owns the park, Shahi International Investments Inc., to make improvements, but have been unsuccessful.

"The owner has been given plenty of time and has had numerous opportunities to come into compliance, but he hasn't done so," says Don Wilson, director of the Caroline County Environmental Health Department.

Caroline County health officials say there are not any immediate health risks to the residents at this time, but unless Shahi meets the requirements before August 5th, the parks will have to shut down.

"We'd like them to be in situations where the housing is better for them and certainly where the water and sewage is more appropriate for them," says Patrick.

Residents of Cedar Mobile Home Park say they have been in the dark the whole time.

"We are just now learning about it," says Isaac Poncepeleon, a resident at Cedar Mobile Home Park. "Right now were hoping the owner can work with us and get the permits so we can all stay here and have a good stable life."

"I don't think they had the full educational understanding of exactly what was happening," says Mayor Rowe.

Many of the residents in the tight-knit community have spent their whole life in the mobile home park.

"It upsets me because I've been here since I was three years old and I'm 23 now," says Poncepeleon. "It's really hard on everybody."

"It's almost like having to tell your grandmom after 30 years that she has to move," says Mayor Rowe. "You can relocate anybody anywhere but why should anybody have to leave their home?"

Various social service groups, including the Catholic Charities Diocese of Wilmington, are working to get residents new homes. Caroline County Health Department officials say they are confident everyone will be able to get relocated, but residents say they do not want to leave.

"Right now we're hoping the owner can work with us and get the permits so we can all stay here," says Poncepeleon. "There's nothing we can do now but wait, hope, pray to God they change this."

WMDT made a phone call to the owner of Shahi International Investments Inc., who says he is working to get the parks into compliance. He says he plans to send an official statement to our newsroom, and we are still waiting for that response.

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