County supervisors add new parking laws

Prince William County residents who live on lots of one acre or less who park their cars on their lawns will be breaking the law under new zoning regulations.

They also will no longer be allowed to pave over more than 35 percent, or 720 square feet, of their front yard to allow more parking space.

Residents in Gainesville and Brentsville who have gravel driveways in lieu of asphalted or cement ones will be allowed to keep them, but no new makeshift driveways will be allowed.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors amended the zoning code Tuesday to allow greater ease in enforcing the existing law, and added new parking restrictions aimed at addressing residents’ complaints.

Too many cars parked on front lawns where multiple family members live in small homes is one of the main complaints, zoning officials said.

“The existing code didn’t address where people could park,” said Assistant County Attorney Jeffrey Notz. “The new restrictions say cars can’t be parked in unpaved areas.”

Residents in the western end of the county will be particularly affected by the new restrictions, said Supervisor Edgar Wilbourn, R-Gainesville. “There are a lot of driveways in Gainesville or Brentsville that aren’t asphalted or concrete,” he said. With larger lots where neighbors aren’t so close, it doesn’t make sense to impose such restrictions, he said.

He and Supervisor L. Ben Thompson, R-Brentsville, argued for the restrictions to apply only to homes in the development area — mainly the eastern end of the county — not those in the 100,000-acre rural area where the lots sizes are much larger and there isn’t much chance of overcrowding. However a majority of board members wanted to maintain the restriction for all areas of the county.

Residents needn’t be concerned that if they already have a gravel driveway, the county will be out inspecting their property, Notz said. The county is mainly concerned with parking on grassy areas. If a gravel driveway already exists, it will be grandfathered.

In another change to make it easier for county officials to successfully prosecute parking violations, all large vehicles — commercial or not — will be prohibited on residential and agricultural properties of less than 10 acres.

The previous zoning ordinance barred commercial vehicles of more than 10,100 pounds on those properties. The county was having trouble proving in court that large unsightly vehicles were commercial because they weren’t always registered as such, or were registered in another state.

The new regulation prohibits all vehicles — not just commercial ones — of more than 10,100 pounds from parking in residential areas or agricultural areas of less than 10 acres.

Staff writer Diane Freda can be reached at (703) 878-4723.

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