The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Monday to review enforcement of the regulations for parking on residential streets, saying junked vehicles, boats, trailers, trucks and too many cars have become a constant source of homeowner frustration.
"It's one of the bread-and-butter issues we hear about all the time," said Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (D-Braddock).
The motion, introduced by board chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D), calls for County Executive Anthony H. Griffin to convene a committee including members of the police, zoning, transportation and legal departments. The committee would also look at streamlining regulations.
The county has sought more authority in recent years to regulate street parking. Because streets in the county are owned by the state, the county's power to restrict parking has been limited.
"The problem in this state is that public streets can also become public parking lots," Connolly said. Indiscriminate parking on the street "can create line-of-sight issues and detracts from the neighborhoods. The purpose of this effort is to end the fragmented approach we have in place for enforcement."
Connolly said, for example, that on the section of Nutley Street between Route 50 and Route 29, buses, 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are often parked overnight.
In effect, "they're narrowing the road that we paid for," Connolly said. "Rather than incur business expense for parking it elsewhere, they just park their vehicles in the street because they can. That's not right."
Currently, neighborhood groups seeking to limit parking on neighborhood streets have two primary options.
With petition signatures showing at least 60 percent support, the neighbors can designate their area a community parking district or a residential permit parking district.
Community parking district regulations forbid the parking of watercraft, motor homes, campers, trailers, vehicles with three or more axles, vehicles weighing 12,000 pounds or more, and vehicles transporting 16 or more people, excluding school buses.
The community parking districts were approved by the county in 2000. There are now 17, with several dozen pending.
"We're receiving a lot of requests for these," said Ellen Gallagher, acting division chief for traffic operations and capital projects.
In residential permit parking districts, parking by non-residents is prohibited. The county installs signs saying "No Parking Except By Permit" every 200 feet on all affected roads. The county has 38 residential permit parking districts, most of them near high schools, where parking is often tight, or Metro stations.