Days after residents of Leesburg Mobile Park marched to the Board of Supervisors and pleaded with county representatives to save them from potentially being evicted after an $11 million offer to buy the land, residents turned their pleas to Leesburg’s town leaders.
Dozens turned out for the petitioner’s section of Tuesday’s Leesburg Town Council meeting. They shared memories of the years they have called the community home, and of the spirit of togetherness that pervades there. They also expressed their fears that a plan to purchase, and potentially redevelop, the decades-old property could mean the days of it being a mobile home community are numbered, and their futures in doubt.
Beatriz Perez, a single mother of three girls, spoke of the years she spent working long hours, sacrificing time with her daughters, to be able to afford to pay $1,800 rent at a previous residence. Upon discovering Leesburg Mobile Park, she borrowed money from her brother to buy a trailer and has since raised her family there. She called it a “blessing” to be able to live affordably and spend her time with her children.
“It’s a very quiet place. We all know and support each other. I ask you to please help us so we can continue living here as a community,” she said in addressing the council.
Beatriz’s daughter Emily said she and her sisters are worried about their mom if they have to move from the community.
“We know that my mother will have to work more to pay rent,” Emily Perez said. “She already works a lot cleaning houses.”
It was a similar refrain echoed by some of Perez’s neighbors—living in the mobile home park allowed them to live more comfortably, save money, or have some money for discretionary expenses. Emma Ortiz said she was looking forward to having extra money to be able to save for her young son to go to college one day. Now, with the possibility of them being forced to move, she said she does not want to have to uproot her family to move to an apartment.
“I want my son to have a better future,” she said. “Please help us. Please preserve Leesburg Mobile Park.”
Jose Mario Turcios, a resident of the mobile home park for more than 10 years, said just two years ago he and his family invested $30,000 to make improvements to their trailer.
“We bought this trailer with the hope that it would be our home for the rest of our days. We have dreamed of seeing our grandchildren growing up,” he said. “Receiving the letter that this property will be sold, we are filled with sadness. It is you who must protect us as a people.”
Sofia Saiyed, an organizer with the New Virginia Majority, which has been assisting community members, said they understand that the Town Council cannot interfere with a private sale, but said there are things they can do. She said the town could include the mobile home park in its Crescent Design District master plan and commit to no more upzoning of the property. The area of the mobile home park is currently listed in the plan as high-density residential. Saiyed said the council can also include the mobile park in its Legacy Leesburg Town Plan update.
At the conclusion of the petitioner’s section of the meeting, Mayor Kelly Burk said she received a copy of a letter that the potential purchaser of the land would be sending to residents, and an indication that “nothing would be done for at least a year” after the sale of the property closes, expected by the end of 2021.
Loudoun Now obtained a copy of the letter, which was signed by Crescent Mobile Partners LLC. Though the identity of the potential buyer has not been confirmed, Darius Saiedi has been connected to interest in the property, though he has not responded to multiple calls to confirm or deny that interest.
The letter to residents promises clear communication throughout the entirety of the purchase process and said there should be no change in the day-to-day operations of the mobile home park for the time being.
“If we acquire the Mobile Home Park, our goal will be to make the transition from the current ownership to our ownership as smooth as possible and with minimal immediate effects on the residents of the Mobile Home Park,” the letter stated.
But the letter does not shed much light on what the future will hold for the mobile home park or its residents.
“[..] We are still in the process of conducting our due diligence inspections and reviewing property documentation as we determine our eventual intentions for the Mobile Home Park. If we take ownership of the property in December, we expect to continue with business as usual for the Mobile Home Park for a minimum of 12 months while we evaluate and decide what changes may occur that might affect you and the other tenants of the Mobile Home Park,” the letter stated.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting, Vice Mayor Marty Martinez asked town staff to explore what options the council had for protecting the property, “to give residents some confidence they won’t be kicked out of their home.” He mentioned exploring options like a zoning text amendment or rezoning of the property. The council unanimously supported staff doing research and returning to the council with a report.