Residents Long Sought

Crackdown on Junk Cars

Thank you for the article [Prince William Extra, July 29] about the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and the zoning commission cleaning up the junk cars and improving the overall condition of some of the residential properties in the county.

My neighbors and I have complained to Supervisor Hilda M. Barg (D-Woodbridge) for more than five years about the junk cars and the condition of some of the properties in our neighborhood. Three years ago, some neighbors and I mailed Ms. Barg a letter of complaint with about 25 signatures, giving addresses and detailed information on the blatant violations on properties within sight of our homes. Not one thing has been done.

Two years ago, I even went so far as to take pictures, print them at my expense and personally hand them to her at the Marumsco Village Cleanup at the Botts fire station. The only thing we have ever gotten is the obligatory "I'll look into it" and "call my office on Monday."

She lived in our neighborhood at one time, and I'll bet if she still lived here it would have been cleaned up. Most of us work hard to keep our properties looking nice, and we pay exorbitant real estate taxes just so we can admire our neighbor's filth, laziness and junk cars parked all over their yards. Rusted cars should not be used for yard or driveway ornaments. That's what the cheesy pink flamingos are for. Not to mention 50 people living in a house that was built for two.

Does it occur to the county that enforcing the laws is a good way to bring in revenue? Believe me, enforcing the laws and compounding the fines would bring in a lot of revenue, from what I've seen. It might even lower our real estate taxes. Residents repeatedly complain to their supervisors and the county about the violations, but they can't, or more likely won't, do anything about enforcing their own laws.

The county has hired a couple of new inspectors and is in the process of training some inspectors. To do what? How much training does it take to look at a complaint form and go to the property to check it out? How much training does it take to recognize a car up on rusty jack stands or on blocks with tags that expired 20 years ago, a refrigerator sitting in the yard, and cars parked in the front and back yard with grass three feet tall growing around them because the cars haven't been moved in 20 years?

The two houses next to Dean Kilby School, between the school and Forest Glen Road, have about nine junk cars parked in plain view right now. Can anyone fathom what would happen if a kid wandered into one of those cars in the summer and couldn't get out, just because the county won't enforce their laws?

There are two definitions that go completely over the heads of the Board of County Supervisors: "inoperative vehicles" and "single-family home." A quick lesson. "Inoperative" -- not working or functioning. Inoperative does not mean that it is has a valid tag, a valid inspection sticker or a valid county sticker, which is the way the county interprets it. "Single-family home" means one family per home. Not 15 different families with 15 people per family in one 700-square-foot home.

We have wasted time more than once by pointing this out to the county and to Ms. Barg. If I sound as though I'm being too hard on Ms. Barg, she's our supervisor, this is what we pay her for, and we expect her to do something for us every so often, and not just pull the smoke and mirrors trick at election time.

Enforce the laws or stop wasting our tax dollars making laws that nobody will enforce.

Christina Griffin