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Berlin Initiates Legal Action Against Mobile Home Park Owner for Floodplain Violations


The town of Berlin in Vermont has commenced legal proceedings against the owner of a mobile home park, alleging repeated violations of floodplain regulations. The lawsuit, filed in Washington County Superior Court, seeks to enforce compliance with local ordinances and protect residents from potential flooding hazards.


The mobile home park in question, known as Berlin Meadows, is situated within a designated floodplain, an area at risk of flooding during heavy rainfall or other hydrological events. Floodplains serve as natural buffers to reduce flood impacts, but development within these zones is strictly regulated to minimize risks to life and property.

According to the complaint, the defendant, identified as Richard Hively Jr., has repeatedly violated Berlin's floodplain ordinances by:

  • Placing mobile homes within the floodplain without obtaining the necessary permits
  • Installing sewer lines that discharge into the floodplain, increasing the risk of flooding
  • Failing to maintain floodways and drainage systems, exacerbating flooding conditions

Alleged Violations

The specific violations cited in the lawsuit include:

  • Placement of Mobile Homes: The defendant allegedly placed several mobile homes within the floodplain without first obtaining building permits and floodplain development permits, as required by Berlin's ordinances.
  • Sewer Line Discharge: The defendant allegedly installed a sewer line that discharges into the floodplain, violating regulations designed to prevent the discharge of untreated sewage into flood-prone areas.
  • Maintenance of Floodways and Drainage Systems: The defendant allegedly failed to properly maintain floodways and drainage systems on the property, including culverts and ditches, which have contributed to increased flooding during heavy rainfall events.

Potential Hazards

The lawsuit argues that the alleged violations have created an imminent hazard to residents of the mobile home park. Floods can pose significant risks to life and property, including:

  • Drowning
  • Structural damage to homes and infrastructure
  • Contamination of drinking water
  • Spread of disease

Enforcement and Compliance

The town of Berlin is seeking several measures through the lawsuit, including:

  • Injunction: An injunction to prevent the defendant from continuing the alleged violations and requiring compliance with floodplain ordinances.
  • Penalties: Civil penalties for each violation, as outlined in Berlin's floodplain regulations.
  • Remediation: An order requiring the defendant to mitigate the current violations and restore the property to compliance with floodplain regulations.

Environmental Concerns

In addition to the safety hazards, the alleged violations also raise environmental concerns. Floodplains provide critical ecosystem services, such as:

  • Floodwater Storage: Floodplains act as natural reservoirs, storing excess water during heavy rainfall and releasing it gradually over time.
  • Water Filtration: Floodplains help filter pollutants from water, improving water quality and protecting downstream ecosystems.
  • Habitat for Wildlife: Floodplains provide important habitat for a variety of plants and animals, including fish, waterfowl, and amphibians.

By violating floodplain regulations, the defendant is allegedly compromising these vital ecosystem services.


The town of Berlin's lawsuit against the owner of Berlin Meadows Mobile Home Park represents a significant effort to enforce floodplain regulations and protect the health and safety of its residents. The alleged violations have created an imminent hazard to life and property, as well as environmental harm. The lawsuit seeks to hold the defendant accountable, mitigate the current risks, and ensure compliance with floodplain ordinances in the future.

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