In a move designed to prevent property owners from converting their homes into rooming houses, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors decided this week to limit to three the number of unrelated people living together.

The decision, which amends county zoning regulations that allowed up to six people to live in such arrangements, came five months after residents in the Stonewall Acres area complained to Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn III (R-Gainesville) about three homes on Rolling Road that had been converted into rooming houses. The owners of the houses were renting rooms to convicted sex offenders.

Wilbourn brought the matter before the board, which unanimously approved a resolution in February allowing zoning officials to take any legal action to close down the rooming houses.

Residents in the Stonewall Acres area had searched the Virginia State Police sex offender registry on the Internet and discovered that three convicted offenders lived in the houses.

In late March, a Prince William County Circuit judge ordered that the boarding houses be shut down and reconfigured in order to meet zoning requirements, and the owners agreed to evict their tenants and make physical changes to the buildings.

Wilbourn originally had proposed that only two unrelated people be allowed to live in a single-family dwelling, but supervisors agreed to three.