County considers more parking restrictions

Prince William County officials are considering banning box trucks from residential and agricultural areas in an effort to improve appearances and public safety.

Currently one box truck per owner is allowed on private property of less than ten acres as long as it weighs less than 10,100 pounds. The new restrictions would prohibit them from residential and agricultural areas.

Zoning Administrator Sherman Patrick said the county receives many complaints each year about business owners keeping multiple box trucks at their homes and letting employees come and go with them.

“That’s where the problem is,” he said. “When people start to back out, they can’t see up and down the street.”

County officials are also considering other zoning changes to tighten up restrictions on parking.

Among them would be restrictions on parking cars in front yards and limiting the amount of front yard that can be paved.

There are no restrictions now on parking cars partly on lawns where there are no curbs, and supervisors frequently get complaints about the unsighliness of it and lack of adequate parking for others.

Under the proposed zoning changes, residents would be prohibited from parking their cars on lawns smaller than three acres, and they would only be allowed to pave 35 percent of their front yard for parking.

The county has been beseiged with complaints about yards littered with cars, box trucks parked illegally, and inoperable vehicles.

“We need to find some way to get these vehicles out of the community,” said Woodbridge Supervisor Hilda M. Barg. Barg has been the most consistent advocate of addressing cars parked illegally in yards. “Many of these trucks are registered in Maryland and other states but they stay at one house every day,” she said. Meanwhile Supervisor John D. Jenkins, D-Neabsco, has been fighting to put limits on box trucks.

Pictures supplied by county zoning administrators at Tuesday’s Board of County Supervisors meeting brought gasps and laughs from the board. They showed 18-wheelers parked in people’s driveways; properties of less than three acres with as many as three box trucks and a pickup truck; and one home with a box truck over the allowable weight limit with a van parked alongside it in a driveway.

But opposition to the proposed zoning changes is already forming on the board. A few members said they believe employees should be allowed to bring work vehicles home.

Supervisor L. Ben Thompson’s Brentsville District generates more complaints than any other. Close to a hundred people called county officials this year to complain about parking problems in his district. Yet Thompson said Tuesday he opposed restrictions on box trucks because it would be discriminatory.

If people can park their recreational vehicles in driveways they should be able to park their trucks, he said. He and Supervisor Mary K. Hill, R-Coles, said they would prefer requiring some type of screening for box trucks instead of banning them.

The front yard parking and paving changes were more widely sanctioned by the board, and members are expected to discuss both measures further before public hearings are scheduled.

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