City banishes RVs from yards

Manassas now has a whole new set of regulations banning homeowners from parking oversized campers and recreational vehicles on their front yards, as well as paving them over.

The City Council voted 5-0 on a set of ordinances preventing vehicles more than 10,000 pounds — such as large campers and boats — from being parked in a person’s front yard. No vehicles will be allowed on bare grass, except for a short period of time. And those wishing to park oversized vehicles on their property or change the design of their driveways will have to follow city guidelines.

City Manager Lawrence Hughes says the new rules are simply a sign of changing times. “We have residential areas of the city built in the 1950s and 1960s, when people had one, two cars max,” he said. “Now, people have three, four cars, boats, all kinds of toys.”

Owners of oversized campers and recreational vehicles now have 90 days to move them into their side or rear yards. All types of vehicles will no longer be allowed to park on bare grass, except for temporary loading and cleaning.

Another set of regulations will only apply when oversized recreational vehicles are parked or parking areas are changed on a city resident’s property:

? Only 20 percent of a residential lot will be allowed for parking;

? Residents will only be able to use 25 percent of their front yards, 53 percent of their side yards and 35 percent of their back yards for parking;

? Parking will only be allowed in one side yard;

? Design standards will apply to any on-site parking with two or more spaces.

The new rules are similar to ordinances already in place in other Northern Virginia localities, such as Prince William and Fairfax counties.

More rules may be on the way. The City Council has directed city staff to study whether some types of recreational vehicles should be banned from residential areas altogether. A report on the matter is expected this fall.

“I think the issue will create a great deal of interest in our community, with both pros and cons being expressed,” said Vice Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II. “So I think we need to study it carefully.”