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Overcrowding By Design

By Greg L | 31 August 2006 | Prince William County | 10 Comments

My wife was talking to some neighbors who were trying to find out what the story is with the Prince William County Code regarding overcrowding, due to some problems with some new neighbors. The house in question is about 2400 square feet, has four bedrooms, and 2 1/2 baths. Guess how many persons are permitted to occupy such a dwelling according to code, according to the county?

Fourteen, plus two boarders.

Now how in the heck are we supposed to protect our quality of life when the county code is so permissive? Maybe it’s time to have some of our county supervisors revisit this ordinance and see if we can tighten things up a bit.

If we’re lucky, maybe Mexicanos Sin Fronteras will show up to protest. That would be a hoot.

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  1. Maureen Wood said on 31 Aug 2006 at 10:06 pm:
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    It’s the same in Manassas. That is why we tried to do something about it earlier in the year. But people like Rishell and the ACLU made our city council back off of it.

    Most of this wouldn’t be nessecary if the Federal government would enforce our current immigration laws.

  2. Greg L said on 31 Aug 2006 at 10:34 pm:
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    I’ll bet that if a similar tightening of the overcrowding ordinance was proposed now, it would pass and if well crafted would clear any legal hurdles as well. I wonder if there’s a Manassas City Resident that might want to spearhead this sort of effort, perhaps someone with a political future, who might benefit from some additional exposure regarding a popular policy? Hmmm.

  3. Joe Budzinski said on 31 Aug 2006 at 11:26 pm:
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    Get organized and build a group. A huge number of your fellow residents are right there with you on this but the vast majority have no idea what they can do about it. Talking to politicians can be particularly frustrating as even the ones whose hearts are in the right place are inclined to pass it off as a federal issue.

    Tightening the ordinance and convincing the public officials to direct resources to zoning enforcement is key - and so is going after the employers.

    Contact me directly sometime and I’ll fill you in on what we are doing in Loudoun.

  4. Joe Budzinski said on 31 Aug 2006 at 11:48 pm:
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    You might get a kick out of this if you haven’t seen it


  5. Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2006 at 9:23 am:
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    I wouldn’t bet that it would clear all legal hurdles. If my experience is any guide, new hurdles wil be created if there aren’t sufficient obstacles.

    I have a lot to say about this but now isn’t the right time.

    -Andy H

  6. Greg L said on 1 Sep 2006 at 9:49 am:
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    Thanks for weighing in to the extent you’re able. Although your observation is brilliant, the electorate is so absolutely behind this idea that getting it passed would not at all be difficult. How the council may choose to write the ordinance, whether it’s an additional restrction on the number of occupants based on the number of bedrooms or some other objective criteria, I really think this is doable. Last time it all got hung up over a definition of the word “family” as it pertains to the ordinance. Sidestepping that, or otherwise avoiding hot-button terms will make it a lot easier to have an ordinance withstand challenge.

    Doing nothing is not a viable option. I’d actually rather see a fight which movers the debate along, even if it’s uncertain whether an ordinance would stand. It’s worth it, and worth trying.

  7. Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2006 at 10:48 am:
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    I just can’t say anything else w/o seeking council. However, I do think that you’re more right than wrong.

    BTW, If you or anyone else wanted to sit down for an off the record discussion, I’d be happy to. The City’s current situation would necessarily be off-limits but I’d be happy to share everything else.

  8. Maureen Wood said on 1 Sep 2006 at 11:43 am:
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    Limiting the number of people per bedroom space in a house is the most logical way to go. That would have been done along time ago if the city was able to do that. Because of the Dillon Rule this is not an option.

  9. Greg L said on 1 Sep 2006 at 12:37 pm:
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    How would you like to guest post something which talks about the options available for localities to tackle this problem?

  10. Maureen Wood said on 3 Sep 2006 at 11:24 pm:
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    I would love to, but you have to give me some time to work on it. I have done a lot of research on this and do have a few idea’s. Actually I have a BIG idea that will take a lot of work and I will share it with you when I find out how to accomplish it.

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