revisions, which are intended to bring the code up to current
national standards, are still in the preliminary stage, but
Charles Baker, general manager of the Department of Land Use,
unveiled some of the directions they are taking at a meeting of
County Council's land use committee.
promised that the final recommendations, which would have to be
voted on by Council, will not be presented in full-blown
take-it-or-leave-it fashion. They will be tested before areawide
civic associations and in other public venues before they become
definitive, he said.
Nevertheless, there is no confidence among Council members that
anything resembling a consensus among their constituencies will
emerge. On the contrary, whatever comes forth is expected to
generate strong feelings, pro and con, on just about every point
looking forward to having this conversation with the public,"
said Council president Christopher Coons.
presentation before the committee on Apr. 6, Baker made it
obvious that the new regulations are being drawn with very fine
top weight for vehicles parked in the open on residential
property, for instance, will be boosted from the present 5,000
lbs. limit to 7,000 lbs. Department research has determined that
that will accommodate the largest suburban utility vans now
rolling, but stops short of embracing small dump trucks,
generally considered more likely to be objectionable to
neighbors, Baker said. Maximum vehicle size would remain at
seven feet high, seven feet wide and 20 feet long.
most highway trailers and recreational vehicles exceed the
limit, they would not be permitted on the property itself, but
could be parked on public streets, where parking is permitted,
as long as their width does not project into the travel lanes'
thinking is to continue to allow oversize and overweight
vehicles to be kept in garages and structures that have
walls and roofs. Open carports and canvass covers are not
presently being considered acceptable, but Baker said the
question of whether they should be has not been resolved.
target of property maintenance regulations has long been
derelict vehicles and the department is trying to come up with a
way to define which ones are unacceptable and which are 'not
quite junk'. Present thinking is to draw the line between those
which are currently registered with the state, whether or not
they display license tags, and those that are not.
they pass muster that way, they have to be resting on a hardened
surface rather than, for instance, grass. Lest owners claim that
perching on concrete blocks satisfies that requirement, the
regulations are likely to specify that at least front and rear
wheel be on the same hardened surface. That would allow parallel
paths separated by a grass or dirt median.
surface' is to be defined as different from 'paved surface' to
prevent the proliferation of extensively widened driveways and
other surfaces impervious to water.
will have to be on trailers, which are legally considered
vehicles requiring state registration, and will be treated as
such. Size and weight restrictions will apply. However, Baker
said, hardened 'strips and a dot' will provide for a trailer
hitch which includes a wheel. Small boats, such are canoes and
kayaks, will not be required to be on trailers or otherwise
being willing to hear out the public concerning details of the
regulations, Baker said a further concession to allowing
reasonable current practices to continue will be continuing to
follow the department's policy of linking code enforcement to
complaints. That, he explained, is not only politick but also
practical. "We don't have the staff to be everywhere and [doing
anything but] responding to complaints [justifies] enforcing
here but not there," he said.
he added, "our mission is to get [properties] into compliance
not penalize violations." Noting that all code enforcement
netted only about $300 in fines last year, he said, "It's
definitely not a revenue generator."