County or HOA?

“Welcome to Prince William County a gated community, overseen and governed by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors’ HOA.”

That could be the inscription on a new sign welcoming drivers to Prince William County. The sign can be placed next to those high-dollar Kathleen Seefeldt Parkway signs.

While Stafford welcomes folks with a sign declaring the county a “Certified Business Community” and Dale City makes the claim of “The Friendliest Little City Around,” Prince William County can be labeled: “A County and Home Owners’ Association All in One!”

Earlier this year, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors set out to regulate the size of residential driveways in relation to front yards. This week, they announced that box trucks might be the next target. What’s next requiring homeowners to paint their window shutters to match their front doors?

Aside from being elitist, this proposed ban on box trucks in residential and agriculturally zoned areas just shows how far the local government will go to micromanage neighborhood affairs. Some county supervisors say they have received several complaints about the box trucks blocking the line of sight of neighbors attempting to pull out of their driveways. Line of sight problems accompany many large cars and trucks, including most sport utility vehicles, but the county seems less eager to throw limits on SUVs.

Yes, there are extreme cases in the county where multiple box trucks are being parked in neighborhoods. If this is the case, then those situations should be investigated under existing zoning statutes perhaps dealing with businesses being run out of the home.

For the most part, however, a person who drives a box truck home may be doing so because its the only available means of transportation available at that time. Saying that these types of trucks are forbidden from residential and agriculturally-zoned land (less than 10 acres) is a slap in the face of anyone who works for a living. The county supervisors might as well tell these people to move to Stafford because they’re not wanted in Prince William. How long until delivery vans and muddy pickup trucks are targeted?

Our basic concern with the county supervisors’ eagerness to regulate trucks is the proverbial slippery slope. The deeper the county supervisors dive into neighborhood regulations, the more restrictive our neighborhoods will become. It does no good to micromanage our communities to insure well-kept driveways with manicured lawns if the entire county is being overrun by sprawl and runaway residential growth.

County supervisors should keep their focus on the broader problems and the smaller things will take care of themselves.

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