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Posted at 9:33 AM ET, 10/27/2010

MoCo limits paving over front yards

By Washington Post editors

The Montgomery County Council has voted to limit, but not restrict, paving front yards to create parking space, WTOP reports.

The legislation was introduced by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) after some residents in the Aspen Hill area complained. Others opposed the measure, saying residents should be allowed to use their property as they like.

Violators of the new law will be fined up to $500 a day.

By Washington Post editors  | October 27, 2010; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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They should have done this at least 5-7 years ago.

Aspen Hill? C'mon. Man, check out Wheaton. "Suburban" Wheaton looks like a trashy slum chock full of parking lots and cinderblock monstrosities parading as "retaining walls" built by ignoramuses who don't understand rudimentary physics.

Want to live surrounded by a junky parking lot? Live behind/above your auto body shop, food vending shack, etc. Don't bring your cr@ppy rinky-dink "business" home and trash up the neighborhood, pushing home values to plummet even lower.

Even Brazilian favelas have more appeal than many blocks in Wheaton.

Now will Ike and company go after the overcrowded, low-rent flophouses in the mid-county? Doubtful.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | October 27, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

This is good because there are too many homes that use their front yards as parking lots as it is...which begs the next question - how many adults (unrelated) are living in the house? Aspen Hill (and Wheaton) are full of overcrowded rental houses that typically have 5-6-7 cars parked in front, on the yard, on the curb (and I mean on the grassy curb) all over here. Since when is the grassy curb a parking space?

Posted by: B-rod | October 27, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The county's occupancy laws are outdated and cannot address the explosion of overcrowded flophouses in the mid-county and elsewhere.

Laws like this target the symptoms but ignore the root causes of suburban decay (e.g. the explosion of suburban poverty, residential overcrowding, the rise of opportunistic slumlords and speculators, middle-class flight, the influx of criminal elements).

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | October 27, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm ok with parking a car in their yard. I'm not ok with someone laying unnecessary asphalt and the environmental impact. There lies the difference. Hardscape and paving impacts MY water quality, MY drinking water, and MY environment.

This law is not about personal rights to do whatever one wants in their yard. It is about limiting a person's impact to OUR shared environment. The issue impacting every one of us is paving, not the condition of or presence of cars in a yard or appearance of a fence.

I applaud this and other environmentally supportive regulations the county has passed.

Posted by: borkborkbork | October 27, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we got no problem with PEPCO. Leggett obviously does not mind picking on lower class, playing the role of fashion police. I'm considering paving mine just to legally challenge this invasion of privacy. Can I paint my walls Blue? Can I plant a Maple True? Can I park a Jet Ski in my Yard? What an A-hole.

Posted by: MajorFacemask | October 27, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the root cause of the problem is the need for more parking since a large number of houses have been ilegally turned into rental facilities where rooms are rented individually and it is not surprising to see up to 15 people living in a three to four bedroom house. Then there are house where house has been subdivided without permission into six or seven tiny rooms. In many of these cases the owner does not even live on properties. So a large number of tenants creates a need for larger driveway, heck on new hampshire ave south past Randolph there is a house which has completely paved the lawn front to back and around to create a parking lot. These rental property owners (slum lords) are converting nice neighborhoods in Rockville, Aspen Hill, Wheaton and Silver Spring into slums of the sort while law abiding genuine homeowners in these areas are paying the price of lower property values. Only if people reported and county inspectors did their jobs instead of looking the other way for favors.

Posted by: Jim110 | October 27, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Another progressive paradox. MoCo welcomes the "New Americans" but doesn't want new development to accommodate housing them. MoCo doesn't want to kick out lower wage people including immigrants (nothing wrong with legal ones) but wants to be a suburban utopia with clean streets, low crime rates, pretty houses, and high achieving schools (unfortunate but true). MoCo wants a lot of tax revenue but is unfriendly to businesses who end up not coming here or leaving. MoCo touts having a highly educated populace but thinks that we're too dumb to avoid eating transfats.

Posted by: avpcomp2 | October 27, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is PWC has similar laws. Try living next to one of these homes that have six or seven cars scattered all over the lawn and back yard, then add in the few that stop working so get shoved to the back or side yard and rot. Now live near a house with a tow truck, a dump truck, oh and the flat bed that brings home a small bobcat on the weekends (when zoning is not working), and the cement mixer... Two large food trucks (not a small canteen but the large ones with the full kitchen and propane tanks) that have sat in the side yard and not moved for a month.

I am a small business owner and am limited to what I can do at my house because I would need a special use permit. Yet we have people wishing to make their yards full parking lots in a fully residential area so they can store larger equipment, larger trucks, etc that are right on the cusp of banned from yards and the streets or not.

Yes, we should be able to do with our properties as we please, but when you are in a dense neighborhood, I worry about things like resale values and such. I lived next to a house (white guys) who were running an autobody and repair business it was discovered, from the back yard of their rental. I watched them dump oil onto the ground and into the drains, etc. Yes, we ended up having to have the county get involved because the runoff went into my yard. It was not a nuisance issues of having to look at this stuff and hear the repairs until midnight or later but of our yard being contaminated by waste.

Now add in overcrowded, small homes with 15 adults (six kids) and everyone has a vehocle... Small, three bedroom home (the same style as mine and it is tight with four people) with 21 people living there.


Posted by: Homemom | October 27, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

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