The proposed zoning law that would prevent Fairfax County residents from working on their own cars on their own property is certainly unconstitutional.
I edit a newsletter for a club that has nearly 500 members who restore antique racing cars. We have vehicles that ran at Indianapolis before World War I. The latest was built in 1965. I belong to the Antique Automobile Club of America, the Model A Ford Club (1928-31 cars),the Ford V8 Club of America (1932-48),the Vintage Sports Car Club of America and other old-car groups, for all of whose members working on their cars is the essence of their hobby.
This ordinance would ban working on our cars in our own garages or behind privacy fences, where there is not the slightest annoyance to anyone. Most of what we do is work that no one in the auto business in the Washington area is capable of doing. Do you know a mechanic who can overhaul my 1948 Offenhauser engine? I bet there aren't two mechanics within 100 miles who know what an Offy is.
Most of us in the hobby would agree that to have a yard littered with rusting hulks is unpleasant, but this ordinance wouldn't do a thing for that problem, just prevent owners from working on those cars.
Another point: the proposal would rely on Department of Motor Vehicle records as to ownership, yet it would cover cars, boats, aircraft, etc. DMV doesn't title planes or boats, and it has refused, in writing, to title or license my racing car because it is not equipped to drive on the streets.
This is a wrongheaded idea that should be abandoned. -- Gordon White
The proposed zoning change in Fairfax would prohibit homeowners from doing major auto repair in residential neighborhoods, even on their own cars. My husband made a few phone calls to inquire about the specifics of the law and was told that any repair requiring more than 72 hours would be considered major. In addition, specific activities, such as welding, would be prohibited. How can these activities be any different from , say, refinishing or build furniture, which requires saws, lathes and other large pieces of machinery, and spending more than 72 hours completing the project?
The proposed law is a response to the county's frustration in not being able to stop a few illegal "commercial" businesses from operating in residential areas. Its supporters argue that few home mechanics can perform the complex repairs the measure would forbid. I disagree. Most sports car owners we know own such cars because they enjoy working on them as well as driving them.
There are noise ordinances as well as ordinances forbidding "junkers" outside of residences. If someone who is repairing or restoring his own vehicle is ruining the tranquillity of a neighborhood, enforce the laws that are already on the books. Leave the rest of us alone. We have the skills, desire and time to maintain our own vehicles, and we do so without offending our neighbors. We have the right to avoid the high cost of commercial auto repairs by doing it ourselves. After all, isn't that the American way? -- Diane Painter