New laws may ban yard parking

Residents may be restricted from parking their cars on their front lawns if new county zoning laws are passed by Prince William County’s planning commission.

Parking of so-called box trucks and panel trucks may also be restricted under the new regulations.

A number of proposed zoning code changes are working their way through Prince William County government. They have not been finalized yet by the county planning commission, but they have been approved by the county Zoning Ordinance Review Committee.

The planning commission will consider the proposed zoning code changes, and hold public hearings Oct. 16. The changes were initiated by the Board of County Supervisors, which has been inundated by complaints from residents.

“People are just fed up with people parking their cars in the mud in their front yards,” said county Zoning Administrator Sherman Patrick.

The concern is greatest for single family homes where multiple tenants may be housed, zoning officials said.

Three zoning text changes are proposed:

— Requiring residents on lots of less than three acres to park their cars in designated places, such as driveways or garages instead of on the front lawn;

— Prohibiting paving of more than 35 percent or 720 feet, whichever is greater, of the front yard; and

— Adding box trucks to the list of prohibited vehicles in residential and agricultural districts if they weigh more than 10,100 pounds.

Patrick said a good definition for box trucks, generally smaller white moving vans, has not yet been devised, but the county is working on it.

Not all ZORC members agreed with the proposals. Clair Collins said not allowing people to pave their front yards was an abridgement of their personal property rights.

“How can you say what a person can do on their private property,” she asked. “You don’t think we’re overstepping here? I asphalted mine and I would resent anyone telling me not to.”

The measure is aimed partly at keeping people from operating businesses, particularly car repairs shops, in their yards.

Patrick said the county is within its rights in instituting such a measure, but those with front lawns already paved would be grandfathered.

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