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Manassas Park Must Want To Kill It’s Residents

By Greg L | 24 February 2008 | Manassas Park | 89 Comments

The residential real estate market is in the tank, but in Manassas Park they’re still granting building permits to transform affordable housing into monstrous boarding houses that just beg to be overcrowded.  Here’s a picture taken today on Holden Drive in Manassas Park, where a nice little house that would probably have suited a small family is being transformed into a monstrosity that clearly has structural deficiencies that will not only make this into another ugly home that doesn’t fit the character of the neighborhood, but is structurally unsafe.   How the City of Manassas Park can approve these disasters-in-waiting is beyond me, and I’m stunned that they can be so casual about the safety and security of their residents.

Now I don’t claim to be a structural engineer, but even this home remodeler can easily identify that the cantilever (it’s not supposed to be a cantilever, but effectively that is what it is) over the carport is insufficiently supported, and that the framing being attatched to the roof on the right side is inadequate.  Trying to build a second story on top of an existing sloped roof and cutting out roof trusses to provide space is beyond stupid.

Here’s a look at this abysmal carpentry job from another angle:

Here we have oriented strandboard exposed to the elements for months on end, and water damage has started to delaminate the boards which are effectively the only real structural support for these walls.  Notice how the joints between these boards are starting to warp?  The framing for the roof is ridiculously inadequate,  and the second story doesn’t seem to have any provision for windows, except for one in the middle which wasn’t framed out properly.  This carpentry job should be listed as an example in trade schools for what not to do, not only in their execution, but as an example of absolutely piss-poor planning.  Just how does one cobble in structural support for the center roof beam as an afterthought, and make this structure safe?  I’d be fascinated to learn that magic trick.

As far as the City of Manassas Park is concerned, as soon as they can cover all this up so you can’t see the inherent structural defects, it will be a fine idea to move your family into this house.  I don’t attribute this to simple incompetence, because no one charged with enforcing building permits and the building code could possibly be this astoundingly negligent.  The only plausible explanation for this outrage is corruption.  Pay the right people, cut all the corners you want, and endanger the lives of the people who get saddled with this inevitable eyesore so you can try to make a buck.

It’s business as usual in Manassas Park, where residents are commodities, not constituents.



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89 Comments

  1. Nick said on 24 Feb 2008 at 1:38 am:
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    Perhaps they should have paid for better builders rather than “the right people” Hopefully if this house was sold a building inspector would notice. Probably not, though.

  2. Lafayette said on 24 Feb 2008 at 8:17 am:
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    I wonder if anyone is even living in that house. It’s pretty rare to find an occupied house without a single car there.
    Do really think someone is living there?

    Is someone going to be turning this property in?
    If it hasn’t been turned in. I sure hope the Patty and/or Greg L will be contacting the City of Manassas Park. Otherwise, what’s the point in this thread.
    http://www.cityofmanassaspark.us/Public_Documents/ManassasParkVA_Inspections/index

    Nice photography Patty!!
    This is exactly how 10131 Lomond Dr. was built. 9 bedrooms and 5 baths in West Gate. What a joke.
    http://www.trulia.com/foreclosure/2000644733–Lomond-Dr-Manassas-20109

  3. silverfox said on 24 Feb 2008 at 8:21 am:
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    “The only plausible explanation for this outrage is corruption”.

    Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear has been the way MP has operated for a long time. As corruption breeds contempt, little wonder nothing in being done to correct anything wrong in MP. It is and always has been about money and cutting deals.

    Now why the rational, sensible and intelligent residents of MP cannot see this is beyond me. And further, why those who do see what is going on just sit on their hands and do nothing is cause for alarm to all of us.

  4. Not4Nothing said on 24 Feb 2008 at 9:53 am:
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    The next “housing crisis” will be coming in a few years when people who paid top dollar for their McMansions start having problems with them because of shoddy workmanship. Construction work is a skilled craft requiring a fair amount of both training and experience. Wallpaper & paint can cover up a lot of flaws but poor workmanship will eventually come out. All that cheap foreign labor will turn out to be very expensive, with the only people making any money on it being the unskilled workers themselves and mostly the builders who will be long gone or operating under a new name when things start to fall apart.

  5. Johnson said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:36 am:
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    I won’t buy a house made before 1970 unless I know EXACTLY who worked on it. I’ve seen the workmanship since the mid-70’s and it is ATROCIOUS. Buyer beware!

  6. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 1:25 pm:
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    “Can you lay bricks?”

    “Si!”

    “Can you hang drywall?”

    “Si!”

    “Can you do electrical work?”

    “Si!”

    “I bet you don’t understand a word I’m asking you.”

    “Si!”

  7. Big Dog said on 24 Feb 2008 at 1:25 pm:
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    To be fair, there are numerous house “projects” not
    much better than this in the Yorkshire area of Prince
    William County.

  8. Spank That Donkey said on 24 Feb 2008 at 1:27 pm:
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    Virginia just doesn’t have enough ghettos… Overcrowding will make it easier for drug dealers to operate, criminals to hide, etc.

    Are you anti-ghetto or something?

  9. Rocket J. Squirrel said on 24 Feb 2008 at 2:06 pm:
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    Looks like they had the same architect as these guys:
    http://www.seniorark.com/Humor/Redneck%20Things/Redneck%20Images/redneck%20highrise.gif

  10. Ogo On said on 24 Feb 2008 at 3:07 pm:
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    You know as bad as this looks, the same people that are working on this are probably the same people working for Ryan, NVHomes, Brookfield and the rest. New homes are not always the way to go. Personally, I’d rather have an older home and not a tract home. And believe me, anything in a development is tract housing. You can give it all the pretty names in the world, but most of them are shoddily built with the cheapest materials a builder can get.

  11. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 3:58 pm:
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    “You can give it all the pretty names in the world, but most of them are shoddily built with the cheapest materials a builder can get.”

    But the granite countertops make up for it!

  12. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 4:53 pm:
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    I don’t claim to know a whole lot about the building trade, but I have a few qustions: 1. why is MP at fault? They can not deny a building permit to a home owner who submits and pays the fees. 2. It appears as constructions has recently started, so why would you say it is shoddy until it gets farther into the process. 3. If it is shoddy, then I am sure the building inspector will take care of failing the construction. I guess I am wondering why you are riding around looking at homes that are under construction making comments when you yourself admit you are not an engineer.

  13. Patty said on 24 Feb 2008 at 5:03 pm:
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    Bayberry resident

    Are you an engineer? My father-in-law built houses. Never did he do anything like this. I would think that a larger house would need an appropriate size foundation. Don’t you think it should? Common sense would say yes.

  14. Patty said on 24 Feb 2008 at 5:24 pm:
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    “Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 4:53 pm:

    I don’t claim to know a whole lot about the building trade, but I have a few qustions: 1. why is MP at fault? They can not deny a building permit to a home owner who submits and pays the fees. 2. It appears as constructions has recently started, so why would you say it is shoddy until it gets farther into the process. 3. If it is shoddy, then I am sure the building inspector will take care of failing the construction. I guess I am wondering why you are riding around looking at homes that are under construction making comments when you yourself admit you are not an engineer.”

    1. Manassas Park is responsible to check all construction work to make sure it meets code. If a local government can check a deck with scrutiny then they better check house construction.

    2. Wait till it gets farther into the process - please you’ve got to be kidding me. If the underlying structures are not sound, no amount of drywall and paint is going to fix it.

    3. Are you sure a building inspector will take care of it. Did it ever occur to you that this might be going up without a proper permit? I’ve seen houses being repaired which had fire damage on the inside that had a lot more permits on the window than this house.

    Why do we go around looking at these homes? So people do not get injured and killed when shoddy construction collapses. So that a potential buyer doesn’t get a money pit and a grave.

  15. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 7:21 pm:
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    Patty,
    Mp is responsible to inspect when caleed by the permit holder to do an inspection. Maybe they have not yet called. I didn’t say wait until drywall is going up, but the framing is not even complete, what is MP going to inspect, incomplete framing? My mother happens to live in MP on the old side and I don’t believe a job of the size could go up without an inspector noticing it, but most people on this blog believe gov’t employees are all crooked anyway. The bottom line is the images in this picture indicate that it is not ready for even the first inspection. Not my opinion, but my neighbor’s who is a contractor. And he says the construction at this time does look bad, but could be corected after the initial inspection when the MP inspector fails the construction. He states that it is not uncommon for the inspectors to fail a job on the initial inspection and give homeowners a few helpful hints. I trust my neighbor who is a VA licensed contractor. It is not MP’s job to ride around and tell contractors how to do their job until they are called to do an inspection. In fact, as long as a permit has been obtained, the inspector has no right on the job until he is invited to do an inspection. If the inspector feels the contractor has progressed to a point that he has not obtained the proper inspections, then he may stop and enter the property to see the progress. Not only that, you don’t even know if MP is inspecting this site. The contractor could have hired a third party inspector which is not only allowed, MP has no right to refuse the results of a third party inspector. Please check all your facts before you shun the homeowner/contractor and MP employees.

  16. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 7:22 pm:
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    Correction: MP is responsible to inspect when “called”…

  17. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 7:30 pm:
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    By the way, why does this house have to be ripe for an overcrowded boarding house? Why can’t it just be a hard working family who has finially found a way to make their life better. Oh, I know why because anyone who tries to better themselves must be illegal or preparing to make a boarding house. You people are unbelievable!! And I don’t mean that ina good way. A group that once had so much promise is becoming the laughing stock of the middle class of PW, Manassas and MP citizens. I ask myself, I once saw that the membership of HSM was about 2000 people. That is not great for a community of about 300,000 people. I realize my numbers may be off, but I think I have made my point.

  18. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 7:42 pm:
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    For an addition like this, there is a footer inspection for the foundation that needs to be complete before any framing is done.

    The foundation needs to be extended on both sides of this house and there needs to be an 18″ footer (as I recall, may need to be deeper) which I bet is absent from that concrete driveway. So that driveway cannot be the foundation for this addition, not by code anyway.

  19. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 7:55 pm:
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    And MP Resident, you can tell that there is no footers there from these pictures? Look, I am not saying that this construction is sufficent, I am just saying that there have been unfair acqusations here. Unless you know these people personally and have talked to them about their intentions, your comments are very unfair.

  20. Greg L said on 24 Feb 2008 at 8:15 pm:
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    Bayberry, I spent a good part of this summer walking neighborhoods in Manassas Park signing residents up for Help Save Manassas and encountered about thirty of these houses that have been subjected to this sort of extensive remodeling. I made it a point to speak with the adjacent homeowners in each case, and each and every time they told me that the house was either vacant, or overcrowded with as many as thirty men living in the house, or as many as five different families living there. I say that it ripe for overcrowding because when these houses are occupied, according to every neighbor I’ve talked to, that is exactly what happens.

    I could have said they’d be CERTAIN INVITATIONS for residential overcrowding, but figure that there may be an instance or two, which I have yet to encounter, in which unlawful residential overcrowding was not taking place. If I found an instance where one of these houses wasn’t overcrowded, I’d be rather surprised.

    You’re making the assumption that I don’t know what’s going on and just making things up. I can assure you I do. I invite you to investigate this on your own, if you do not believe me. With municipal elections in Manassas Park coming up this November, there certainly are lots of opportunities to knock doors on behalf of a campaign, and you’ll get an opportunity to receive the education of a lifetime in what semi-urban decay looks like.

  21. Saveamerica said on 24 Feb 2008 at 8:28 pm:
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    Bayberry, you have to have a permit to get that far into construction on that house. The footers would have to have been dug and inspected before the frame went up. In addition, ANY PERMITS that had been obtained via Manassas Park as well as the INPECTION certificate have to be displayed in a visible manner. Since no paperwork is being shown - usually in the front of the residence or on the work site itself, where are the permits and inspections? Its a violation in and of itself not to display the paperwork.

  22. monticup said on 24 Feb 2008 at 8:50 pm:
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    My sister lives in a very expensive condo in Falls Church City. Her neighbor had to have work done and when some of the drywall was removed they found bottles of urine between the studs. Imagine the bacteria!

  23. monticup said on 24 Feb 2008 at 8:51 pm:
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    And when one of these jerry-rigged houses collaspes we’ll be treated to sob stories in the WaPo.

  24. Mr. Anon said on 24 Feb 2008 at 9:13 pm:
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    It’s funny how we went from defending the construction practices of the homeowner to bashing HSM. Or maybe that was Bayberry’s intention from the beginning?

    Flophouses aside, this is the very type of construction that most communities in the DC area are trying to eliminate. While MP may not be the hot zipcode right now, the issue of asthetics and blending in with the surrounding houses are equally as valid here as in Fairfax or Rockville.

  25. me said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:14 pm:
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    Saveamerica,

    I do not know what MP building permits look like but there is an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper main window closest to the door (or is that a notice for trespassing on another foreclosure?). PWC permits usually look like this. Perhaps this is the permit?

    I have several of the cape cods in my neighborhood that have been renovated and expanded into what I would say looks like a colonial and they look nice. Those homes in particular are not the ones that have the over crowding problems in my neighborhood. They do exist but not the newly renovated.

    I understand the concern, however I don’t want my rights a property owner to be infringed when it comes time for me to make my home a larger and more accessible just because of the possibility that others may break the law in the future with their expansions and try and put to many people in the house. It’s not an easy decision that is for sure!

  26. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:31 pm:
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    Greg, Maybe you do think you are an expert on overcrowding, but I assure you that you don’t and in my opinion you are nothing but a sh!@ stirrer. You make up problems where there are none. Saveameric, you are correct there has to be a permit displayed but the inspections results are not required to be displayed, but that is only a technical violation and I know that at least half the permits in Manassas are not displayed so try again. None of you know who these people are and you have condemned them for what, because they are trying to make their home better. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. And believe me, I got an education on overcrowding when I called a house near me on my street and the inspector called me back and said there are nine people living in the house and there could be 16 according to state code. He explained the state laws to me and told me that no matter where you put the house in VA the occupant load would be the same. It was an eye opener! He also told me they all state they are related. I asked him did he make them prove it and he told me it was his responsibilty to prove they aren’t related, not theirs to prove they are, made sense to me since this is still America and in America you are innocent until proven guilty. It didn’t make me happy, but if that is the law then who am I to say they can’t have nine in the house. Mr. Anon, my intention was to bring up a point and I did, if you don’t ike it, don’t read it. I think we all know there are many problems with illegal aliens, but to start going after people who are adding additions to their house when we have no idea what their intentions are is wrong. My whole point is Greg is not as smart as he thinks he is and many of us including me make assumptions that shouldn’t be made and I think in this istance this was a poor subject since the project has obviously just started. And by the way, the footer inspection would have been done before any of whet you see in the pictures would have been started.

  27. PWConservative said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:37 pm:
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    WOW, My house looks like the freakin Versailles palace compared to this place

  28. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:43 pm:
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    It’S UNDER F-IN CONSTRUCTION. TAKE A RIDE THROUGH THE OLD SIDE OF MP AND LOOK AT SOME OF THE VERY NICE HOMES!!

  29. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:46 pm:
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    NICER HOMES MEANS MORE TAX DOLLARS!

  30. Vigilant1 said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:55 pm:
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    That “joint” should be a number 1 priority for the fire marshall to check on.

  31. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:58 pm:
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    Vigilant1, why the fire marshal? The building official has jurisdiction in this case not the fire marshal. He has no authority here unless a fire has occurred or has evidence of a fire related crime or fire code violation.

  32. Vigilant1 said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:01 pm:
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    Don’t MP building inspectors check the work to make sure it confirms to code? Apparently not. Is this the type of work the big development builders are looking for when they pick up their “laborers” at the local 7-11?

  33. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:03 pm:
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    Vigilant1, read my earlier post. Yes they do, when they are called to do an inspection. The framing inspection would be the first inspection after the footing inspection and the framing is not complete, so why would they go there now.

  34. 999 said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:10 pm:
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    A building permit must be promintly display when undergoing massive changes as this house indicates. The front of the house appears in the first photo. I don’t see a building permit but I do see what appears to be a foreclosure notice in the boarded over window to the left of the front door.

  35. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:16 pm:
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    999, as I said earlier, that is correct, but many inspectors do not enforce as it is a technical violation. How the HELL do you know that is a foreclosure notice? Please explain!

  36. 999 said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:16 pm:
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    Bayberry, are you the same individual that said “propped open screen doors were not a sign that rooms were for rent?”

  37. 999 said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:25 pm:
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    Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:16 pm:
    999, as I said earlier

    I SAID WHAT APPEARS TO BE A FORECLOSURE NOTICE! LOOK AROUND THE ENTIRE AREA. YOU WILL SEE MANY, MANY EXAMPLES IN THE WINDOWS OF “SOME NICE AND SOME NOT SO NICE HOUSES. YOU HAVE THE ADDRESS OF THIS PROPERTY. GO READ WHAT IT SAYS AND COME BACK AND TELL US IT IS BUILDING PERMIT (NOT).

  38. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:35 pm:
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    Bayberry Resident, you said:

    “And MP Resident, you can tell that there is no footers there from these pictures? Look, I am not saying that this construction is sufficent, I am just saying that there have been unfair acqusations here.”

    Bayberry Resident, you also said:

    “Mp is responsible to inspect when caleed by the permit holder to do an inspection. Maybe they have not yet called.”

    In response to the first comment, no, I don’t know if the footers are there.

    In response to the second comment, I do know there should have been an inspection for the footers, so MP should have been to this site once already.

  39. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:37 pm:
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    “Greg, Maybe you do think you are an expert on overcrowding, but I assure you that you don’t and in my opinion you are nothing but a sh!@ stirrer.”

    So which of the useless sacks of s**t on the MP city payroll lives on Bayberry?

    [Ed note: comment edited.]

  40. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:37 pm:
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    Why does it appear to be a foreclosure notice? Since when do they put foreclosure notices in the window. In fact I believe building permits are generally put in windows. What a novel idea, maybe it is a building permit. No, I asked for someone to prove to me propped open screen doors are a notice rooms are for rent and no one ever did.

  41. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:39 pm:
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    “NICER HOMES MEANS MORE TAX DOLLARS!”

    In terms of revenue vs. expenditures, it’s better to have an empty house with nobody paying any taxes on it than it is to have an occupied house with so much as one school-age child living in it.

  42. MP Resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:41 pm:
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    “Why does it appear to be a foreclosure notice? Since when do they put foreclosure notices in the window.”

    Usually they will put a notice in the window stating that the plumbing has been WINTERIZED. There’s a few of those around here.

  43. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:48 pm:
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    Thank you MP Resident, that makes sense. But the post that it appears to be a foreclosure notice is about the stupidest comment I have seen on here as the only think you can see is something white in the window.

  44. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:51 pm:
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    MP Resident 11:35, yes MP should have been to this site to do a footer inspection only. None of what can be seen in the picture would of been built at that time and therfore would not have been inspected and should not be inspected until the framing is completed and the homeowner calls for an inspection.

  45. Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 11:58 pm:
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    I happen to know he hasn’t called for a framing inspection as Will Armstrong, the MP building Official, who I just spoke to on the phone says they are not ready and he thinks this whole discussion is stupid. He also says permits have been issued for this work. He also said it is quite common to build the new portion then remove the old roof when they are ready to install the new roof so that they can remain in the home while remodeling.

  46. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:15 am:
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    Interesting you can get ahold of Will Armstrong at 11:50PM on a Sunday night.

  47. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:18 am:
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    Incidentally, I don’t know about Manassas Park, but most jurisidictions expire the building permits if it’s been more than 6 months after the last inspection.

  48. Bayberry resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:20 am:
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    MP Resident, are you calling me a liar? I actually happen to be very good friends with him. We play cards together at least twice a month. And all jurisdictions permits expire after 6 months if no inspection has taken place as that is the state law. However, the building official has the final say.

  49. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:34 am:
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    No, certainly I’m not calling you a liar, in fact I believe you. Who else in the park do you know?

  50. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:51 am:
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    For those who are wondering why this sort of thing seems to happen in MP:

    The minimum side yard requirement in MP in the R1 district, which is the older section of the city, is 5 feet from the lot line.

    How does that compare with the other jurisdictions?

    For the City of Manassas:

    R1 district — 15 feet from the lot line.

    R2 district — “Side, all structures shall be located a minimum of ten feet from any side lot line, and the two side yards shall total a minimum of 25 feet with no side yard less than ten feet.”

    R2S district — Side, all structures shall be located a minimum of ten feet from any side lot line, and the two required side yards shall equal 25 feet with no side yard less than ten feet.

    For Prince William County:

    “Setback shall mean the minimum distance by which any building or structure must be separated from a lot line or other feature.”

    SR1 district — “The minimum side setback shall be ten feet.”
    SR3 district — “The minimum side setback shall be ten feet.”
    SR5 district — “The minimum side setback shall be 15 feet.”

    R2 district — “The minimum side setback shall be ten feet.”

    R4 district — “The minimum side-setback shall be ten feet.”

  51. Greg L said on 25 Feb 2008 at 1:10 am:
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    Now what kind of building permit office would issue a permit based on plans that have resulted in this atrocity? I’m well aware that inspectors come when they’re called, and perhaps haven’t seen this disaster-in-the-making, but unless you want to allege that the owner/builder has gone totally off the reservation and deviated from the plans that were approved, there’s a huge problem in the city that is demonstrated here.

    Now if this were the only case I’ve heard of, I’d be willing to accept the possibility that this is just a builder who submitted one set of plans, and then did something completely different. Unfortunately, this is rather consistent with what I’ve personally observed this summer at about five different sites in the old section of town. It is also consistent with several personal reports I’ve gotten from residents on structures that have since been completed, alleging all sorts of faulty construction. There’s something terribly wrong going on in the city, and I really doubt it’s just a couple of bad carpenters who eventually get caught by building inspectors.

    There is no way to ameliorate the framing we see in this picture. The framing in the front part of the house is attached to the existing roof which will obviously be cut out. When that happens, what is going to support the front wall? Prayers? When you put in an overhanging story as seen above the carport, don’t building plans require more than single wall of 2×4 studs spaced 16″ for support?

    I would hope this would fail a framing inspection, but I can’t imagine building plans being approved for something like this in the first place, yet this seems to happen with disturbing regularity. Were this an isolated case it would be worth nothing more than making fun of the people who did the “work”. It’s not, which merits at least the question of what in the heck is going on here.

  52. AWCheney said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:03 am:
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    “There’s something terribly wrong going on in the city…”

    So what else is new?

  53. Mr. Anon said on 25 Feb 2008 at 8:33 am:
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    Bayberry:

    You’ve obviously got a personal involvement here, or otherwise you are the s&%t stirrer. I wish I hadn’t read your posts but tend to give people the benefit of a doubt when I start reading. Here’s a better idea: why don’t you stop posting? It’s obvious you don’t like Greg, are contrarian on most of the expressed opinions, and are really just here to try to annoy people. It may be fun for some people to fight with you, but it’s a waste of time and doesn’t solve the problem. I hope that the MP residents that have read this blog are calling the Building office this morning to complain.

    We need to start taking ACTION on these things, not sitting around like lazy asses debating the issue with morons, thinking we can change their minds.

  54. The Patriot (Got E-Verify?) said on 25 Feb 2008 at 8:40 am:
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    What would “Holmes on Homes” have to say about all of this?

  55. Batson D. Belfrey said on 25 Feb 2008 at 8:44 am:
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    “And believe me, I got an education on overcrowding when I called a house near me on my street and the inspector called me back and said there are nine people living in the house and there could be 16 according to state code. He explained the state laws to me and told me that no matter where you put the house in VA the occupant load would be the same. ”

    Oh, so YOU’RE the expert, Bayberry? Greg, Laffayette, Patty, and a whole bunch of others in and out of HSM are the closest things to “experts” on the subject of residential overcrowding in this area. They know that the occupant load is based on the international firecode, which has been adopted as the standard by Virginia. Like you said, this was an “eye-opener” for you. You thought 9 people were too many. What this should show you is that the standards used by the state are insufficient to deal with the problem.

    What’s your deal? Do you want people crammed into improperly built homes, stressing the local schools and taking far more in public services than they pay in in taxes? It sure sounds like it to me.

    “No, I asked for someone to prove to me propped open screen doors are a notice rooms are for rent and no one ever did.”

    Guess what? No one has to “prove” anything to you. Those involved in fighting illegal immigration know this to be true. They have done more than a little digging on this subject. They have pulled the “for rent” notices off of bulletin boards at WalMart, Global Mart, etc., and tracked down where the homes are. Guess what they found? Propped open screen doors. If that ain’t enough for you, then maybe you can explain why in a residential neighborhood, HSM members have observed that only the overcrowded homes seem to have the screen doors propped open. They’ll see a portion of the people moving out, and then the door gets propped open again, and more people come calling. What do you require for proof? Some official city document?

    I think MP Resident nailed it. Bayberry is one of the insiders in MP. If he doesn’t work for the City, then he’s someone who has a business or otherwise benefits from knowing people on the inside. He has a stake in keeping MP over crowded and sliding into ruin. There, Bayberry. PROVE I am wrong.

  56. The Patriot (Got E-Verify?) said on 25 Feb 2008 at 9:17 am:
    Flag comment

    Bayberry, do you “aid and abet” illegal aliens? That is a felony according to Federal code.

  57. 999 said on 25 Feb 2008 at 11:03 am:
    Flag comment

    Me thinks Bayberry won’t be responding anytime soon to the above.

  58. Red, White and Blue said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:10 pm:
    Flag comment

    If you want to see the quality of the “workers”, “carpenters” and brick layers” in the area (or better stated - the”Who’s, who of the local building trade by majority”) just go to the Home Depot on Liberia and hang out in the parking lot for 15 minutes from, say, between 8 an 9 am, then take a stroll around the lumber and mortar areas.
    These are the “quality experts” who building the Manassas area.
    Good luck.

  59. Red, White and Blue said on 25 Feb 2008 at 12:36 pm:
    Flag comment

    To Bayberry:

    Forget innocent until proven guilty. A picture is worth a thousand words. How is this home going to raise the value of the real estate? Of course, the Park or any city would reassess and raise the value based on the final appearance but that does not mean the “value” of the house speaks its actual worth in workmanship, quality and construction. I have seen some of these homes properly rebuilt with good construction techniques which usually involces a full tear down or a complete roof removal and proper construction. I am not a builder but a buyer as most of are in all we purchase. Junk is junk no matter how you sugar coat it.
    As for expansion and overcrowding, this should be clear common sense. After all, most of the McMonsters of this stature that are “created” have multiple vehicles parked in the driveway (which is usually expanded as well) or the street is littered with additional vehicles. Is Greg creating a non-issue? Look around the entire area, read the newspaper, see the names on foreclosures, look at the vehicles in front of a house, look at the driveway that encompasses the front yard, side yard and the 3 vehicles parked the backyard, next to the tent, the outbuilding, the lean-tos and the sheds.
    Is Greg creating an issue? Or are you ignoring the issues?

    We have rules, laws, codes, statutes and procedures. For far too long many of these are been ignored and some folks just want to play to the audience and play devil’s advocate but that road to hell is well paved and traveled on far too much.

    Our government, from top down, too many times abrogates its responsibilities and the working public ALWAYS pays the price. No wants to offend anyone - play the middle (which is not the middle) seems to offend fewer (more votes) people.

    Finally, tell me how these McMansions really serve the community. Through foreclosures? Through sales of premium houses? Through more tax revenue? I need to know.

    So what is this house and do you agree it is being built properly?

  60. Dingleberry said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:16 pm:
    Flag comment

    Why would you need 9 bedrooms anyway?

    I’m sure some rich business man recently relocated to MP, and decided that he wanted to live close to his company. So, he found a nice quarter acre lot in a nice part of town and decided to build a 6,000 SQUARE FOOT HOME. Sure, that sounds reasonable….

  61. starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:28 pm:
    Flag comment

    MP Resident, you posted good info on the minimum side set back. I now am puzzled, however. Several streets from me, a HUGE two story detached garage was recently built. It was approved for a set back of 5 feet. The neighborhood services won’t do anything about it, as it is 5 feet from the fence. This is the the PRC zone. So, is it 5 feet or 10 feet. I called zoning and was told 10 feet. Does this get to stand, whether or not someone made a mistake?

  62. madmom said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:33 pm:
    Flag comment

    Bayberry,

    Think of 4 or 5 of your favorite overcrowed houses.

    Now, drive by and see if ONE of the following is not in the
    majority of these houses:

    1) propped open storm door
    2) one curtain tied in a knot, sometimes in side windows if not
    in front window
    3) one curtain pulled to the side (the latest “for rent” signal)

    Then come back and report.

  63. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:42 pm:
    Flag comment

    “This is the the PRC zone. So, is it 5 feet or 10 feet. I called zoning and was told 10 feet. Does this get to stand, whether or not someone made a mistake?”

    I believe the property owner can apply for a variance if they want to build closer to the lot line but that would have to before the planning commission.

  64. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:42 pm:
    Flag comment

    That would have to go before the planning commission, that is.

  65. /\/\3|)iç 64 (Winner of the BVBL 40k and 50k post award) said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:53 pm:
    Flag comment

    I would want to see a recent picture of the construction. My eyes see wood that has been exposed to the elements for awhile. I notice the telltale signs of it turning brown. Only part of it seems to be a “yellowish” tint. I know projects can take time, but if they are, you would think they would get it under cover to protect the wood. At least some sort of plastic wrap.

    [Ed note: picture was taken on Sunday, Feb 24th.]

  66. 999 said on 25 Feb 2008 at 3:27 pm:
    Flag comment

    /\/\3|)iç 64 (Winner of the BVBL 40k and 50k post award) said on 25 Feb 2008 at 2:53 pm:

    you would think they would get it under cover to protect the wood. At least some sort of plastic wrap.

    That is usually done by people in the construction business that know what they are doing. Wood and water don’t mix.

  67. starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 3:28 pm:
    Flag comment

    MP Resident, if someone does go before the planning commission for a variance, are neighbors notified so that they may weigh in?

  68. starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 3:33 pm:
    Flag comment

    MP Resident, my DH is being told 5 feet for the property line. He can’t find anything in writing for the PRC zone that says 10 feet. He may have found something that says if the structure is over 20 feet tall that it may need to be further away. This garage is most likely over 20 feet tall, closer to 30 feet.

  69. starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 3:33 pm:
    Flag comment

    Should be RPC zone.

  70. starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 3:59 pm:
    Flag comment

    Well, DH researched it and it appears that for the RPC zone it is 5 feet. Not so good for neighbors of those putting large structures so close to their property lines. :-(

  71. MP Resident said on 25 Feb 2008 at 4:46 pm:
    Flag comment

    Here’s what I found:

    Sec. 32-305.10. Regulations and uses within residential areas.
    Regulations and uses, in addition to uses permitted in section 32-300.07, within areas designated on the master RPC zoning plan for residential use shall be as follows:
    1. Residential uses shall be permitted in accordance with this subsection or subsection 2. below:
    (a) Single-family dwellings shall be permitted in all density areas, provided that every single-family dwelling (or addition thereto) shall be constructed not less than ten feet from each lot line. Single-family dwellings constructed before November 22, 1991, may have additions which encroach into the required ten-foot setback, provided the following conditions are met:
    (1) Dwellings have been constructed on adjoining lots;
    (2) The addition shall be located not less than 24 feet from any other dwelling;
    (3) The property owner of the dwelling located closest to the proposed addition has agreed in writing to the encroachment;
    (4) Construction of the addition shall begin within one year of the date of the issuance of the zoning approval.

  72. /\/\3|)iç 64 (Winner of the BVBL 40k and 50k post award) said on 25 Feb 2008 at 4:47 pm:
    Flag comment

    999,

    I do not know what I am doing in construction either, but I used some common sense. :)

    I can understand that the project is ongoing and time as well as weather can play a factor in how quickly it is done. Does anyone know when this project was started?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it should have something done to it.

  73. starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 5:36 pm:
    Flag comment

    MP Resident, that is for additions to a single family dwelling. What about a 2 story detached garage?

  74. Vigilant1 said on 25 Feb 2008 at 10:49 pm:
    Flag comment

    starryflights said on 25 Feb 2008 at 3:59 pm:
    Well, DH researched it and it appears that for the RPC zone it is 5 feet. Not so good for neighbors of those putting large structures so close to their property lines.

    Vigilant1 said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:55 pm:
    That “joint” should be a number 1 priority for the fire marshall to check on.

    Bayberry resident said on 24 Feb 2008 at 10:58 pm:
    Vigilant1, why the fire marshal?

    Starryflights has answered bayberry’s statement “why the fire marshal.”
    There is an issue with houses being too close. What if the next door neighbor also decided he was going to build within 5′ of this house (10′ separation between structures?) Slip-shod construction also puts firefighter’s lives at risk as we are well aware.

  75. Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2008 at 4:47 am:
    Flag comment

    I think most of us here are pretty upset that the concept of “single family home” has drastically changed and not in the best interest of the economics of the neighborhood.

    A single family home used to be:

    1 dad
    1 mom
    1-4 kids, with a total of about 6 people living in it.

    The total income of a dual working couple paying a single home payment on one single family salary is $1000-$3000 per month

    Your grandmother might move in with you.

    1 Bedroom for mom and dad, 3 bedrooms for the kids, typical 4 bedroom house.

    Now how is it that a single family home now means

    4 additional rooms for a total of 8-9 bedrooms, or

    1 dad
    1 mom (in 1 bedroom)
    2-4 kids in one bedroom (with 1-2 cars) (income $1000-$2000/month)

    1 cousin (with a car) (3rd bedroom) rent $300.00/month
    1 grandmother
    1 grandfather (4th bedroom)

    1 sister and her husband (with a car) (5th bedroom) rent $300.00/month
    1 brother and his wife (with a car) (6th bedroom) rent $300.00/month

    2 day laborers from the church the owner attends (7th & 8th bedroom) Rent $200/month each
    2 girlfriends and their 2 kids (7 & 8th bedroom)

    1 renter from off the street. $100/week

    This makes a total of 16 people according to the “fire code”.

    Total income from the renters ($1700.00)

    This new definition of “single family” can now afford a house payment of $2700.00/month or a house costing around $300-400K (in “your” middle class neighborhood)

    Following that “low income family” is the typical “ethics of a low income family, and increased crime, theft and gangs in your neighborhood.

    AND 5 additional cars, plus 2 construction vans and a dump truck on your street and in the backyard.

    This is why we want the zoning laws changed to allow no more than 4 bedrooms in a single family dwelling (maybe 5 with >3500 sq feet restrictions based on total footage) and with no more than 2 people per bedroom in a single family home and no more than 4 adults and 4 kids (8 people) living in a single family home (regardless of relationship. Even better if relationship residency “proof” must accompany a DMV license for each residence, (number of cars (max of three, except teenagers) restricted by Home owners Associations with tags & parking spots permitted) and SSN number proof of residency, new home contract, and applications for zoning and building permits.

    What idiot would want 9 bedrooms and 16 people with 6 cars in front of each house in their neighborhood? Do you really want that, BR?

  76. Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2008 at 4:57 am:
    Flag comment

    Peope don’t get it. When you rent to others in your home, especially up to 16 people, you can potentially make 16-2 = 14x$500.00) = $7000.00

    or as much as a 7-14 unit apartment complex. That really changes the definition of a “single familiy home”.

    I knew one such “home” that had 14 renters, and 8 cars parked in the street.

  77. The Patriot (Got E-Verify?) said on 26 Feb 2008 at 6:46 am:
    Flag comment

    Furthermore, think of all the taxes (NOT BEING PAID). If each of those adults lived in their own houses…the county would get a lot more tax money (in the legit fashion).

  78. Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2008 at 6:55 am:
    Flag comment

    Maybe taxes should be “per bedroom”

    or the zoning laws changed to increase tax revenue for the county?

  79. 999 said on 26 Feb 2008 at 8:48 am:
    Flag comment

    Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2008 at 4:57 am:
    Peope don’t get it.

    And all of that money is tax free.

  80. On West said on 26 Feb 2008 at 12:03 pm:
    Flag comment

    Anyone see the wonderful bit on constuction on the approx corner of Grant and Sudley Rd. Sits in Old Town on Grant ave across from the gazebo in the park. Second floor stuck right on top of the existing slope of the roof and the windows on the side of the addition are off level. Very pretty addition to The Old Town area.

  81. AWCheney said on 26 Feb 2008 at 1:16 pm:
    Flag comment

    Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2008 at 4:47 am:
    “This is why we want the zoning laws changed to allow no more than 4 bedrooms in a single family dwelling (maybe 5 with >3500 sq feet restrictions based on total footage) and with no more than 2 people per bedroom in a single family home and no more than 4 adults and 4 kids (8 people) living in a single family home (regardless of relationship.”

    There’s been a lot of discussion about “wording” of resolutions, laws, and proposals around here lately…and, I must admit, although your sentiments are appreciated, your specifics are rather constraining and impractical.

    Are you saying that ALL residential zoning should be predicated on such specifics? What about the day when you can afford to live in a home on an acre or more, and would like to build a genuine mansion with 9 bedrooms and, perhaps, 9 baths? Square footage must DEFINITELY come into play with regard to zoning, building code, occupancy permits, etc., as well as lot size and location. Not everyone lives in a middle class home (no more than 4 bedrooms) in a middle class subdivision, with a middle class HOA. That’s probably the reason that this is presenting such a problem for those who are attempting to address this problem. The wording could be a killer…and it’s a lot easier to change than it is to fix a change that’s gone wrong.

  82. MP Resident said on 26 Feb 2008 at 5:10 pm:
    Flag comment

    “MP Resident, that is for additions to a single family dwelling. What about a 2 story detached garage?”

    I didn’t see anything about the setback requirements for a garage. I wouldn’t think a garage would be allowed any closer to the property line than the house.

  83. madmom said on 27 Feb 2008 at 1:36 pm:
    Flag comment

    My husband and I went by to take a look at this house. Here’s what we came up with:

    The wood is getting weathered, which means it has been exposed to the
    elements for quite some time. It could be that there are people still
    living in the original part of the house, and they are making arrangements
    to live elsewhere when the roof is removed.

    By the looks of things, the construction can go no further until they take the roof off the original part of the house, and that’s something you don’t do in the middle of winter on this big of a project. I’m sure they are trying to protect/save the first story walls and possibly the bath(s) and kitchen. Rain or snow would ruin these rooms overnight.

    Another situation could be that they ran out of money, and construction has stopped until more funds become available. But regardless, they are at the point where the original roof must come off before they can go any further.

    It does look like there could be openings made for future windows, and these
    do not have headers at these locations, something the inspector would
    notice right away. We couldn’t tell what the paper was in the window, if
    it was a building permit or something else.

    To sum it up - construction like this in wintertime is a risk. Could be that
    they are waiting for the weather to break before they resume work. Or, waiting for bank money to be released (construction loan) upon the
    framing inspection.

    *Note - the house can be under roof when the framing inspection is done.
    So if the house looks finished on the outside (siding, windows, etc.) the
    inspector can see all the open walls/rafters/trusses/joists from inside.
    Then they can hang drywall. (After plumbing and electrical inspections, of
    course)

  84. Patty said on 27 Feb 2008 at 10:37 pm:
    Flag comment

    madmom,

    It wouldn’t surprise me if it got foreclosed before they finished. I understand that this project had been going on since last summer.

  85. MP Resident said on 27 Feb 2008 at 11:17 pm:
    Flag comment

    Based on what I’ve seen, with all these foreclosures going on, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras might need to change their name to Mexicanos Sin Haciendas.

  86. Lafayette said on 28 Feb 2008 at 6:19 am:
    Flag comment

    Patty/madmom,
    My niece carries mail in the Park, and her route includes Holden St. She says the house has been like that for a while. One man lives there ALONE. He works on a very little at a time.
    Patty,
    Have you heard more back from Mr. Armstrong?

  87. 999 said on 28 Feb 2008 at 9:18 am:
    Flag comment

    WT said this am that another wave of foreclosures will be coming in May due to a new wave of ARM’s coming due.

  88. Patty said on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:28 pm:
    Flag comment

    Lafayette,

    No, I haven’t heard anything new from Mr. Armstrong. He did say he was going to check it out.

  89. 10 feet tall and Bulletproof said on 29 Feb 2008 at 11:05 pm:
    Flag comment

    I am a carpenter/builder. This is not the way to add onto a house.
    They should have addressed footers and then built out the first floor walls and petitioning, covered it, and then …and only then.. removed the second floor in it’s entirity, and build their entire second floor decking system.
    Only at that point should any second floor petitions have been visable.

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