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Summary of Resolution 2000-OR-1

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Introduction

The legislation known as Resolution 2000-OR-1 has been in various drafts since it was first considered by the Legislative Committee nearly two years ago. Among the many reasons for its introduction included a desire to remove unseemly ruts and other markings that have detracted from the visually appealing front yards in our community. Many details had to be worked through, and the committee reviewed laws in several other communities including Hyattsville and Bowie, as well as other towns throughout Maryland. The latest draft was finally introduced on January 3, 2000. Minor technical amendments were offered on February 7, 2000 after a work session discussion on the legislation.

Highlights of the Legislation

"Vehicles" are defined as "automobiles, trucks, boat trailers, trailers, motor homes, and camping vehicles."

On any residential property, a vehicle may be parked in the front yard or side yard of a home provided that it is parked on a "prepared or paved area." For instance, it shall continue to be permissible to park on one's driveway provided it meets the definition of a paved or prepared area.

A "prepared or paved area" is defined as an area that is "covered by asphalt, concrete, brick, block, gravel, crushed stone or other similar permeable or semi-permeable aggregate material" that is completely underneath the wheels of the vehicle when the vehicle is parked or driven across the front or side yard.

The law prohibits someone to drive on an unpaved or unprepared surface area anywhere in front of the backyard of someone's home. In other words you cannot drive across grass or dirt in order to get to a paved or prepared area.

The law permits parking a vehicle anywhere in the backyard provided that you do not drive across dirt or grass in order to get the vehicle to the backyard. Therefore, if your driveway extends from the street to the rear of the house, you can drive along the driveway and park any vehicle anywhere in the backyard.

Special rules apply to anyone who has a corner lot, that is, any property that has a public right of way (street, etc.) to the side of the property and also to either the front or rear. For corner lots, anyone who has a driveway that enters from the side street into the backyard must make sure that the entrance from the street, up to the point where it becomes private property, is entirely paved or prepared in order to use it to move vehicles on or off the property.

The law shall not take effect until July 1, 2000 in order to allow any resident to make the necessary corrections to their property in order to allow parking on it.

Nothing in this legislation shall affect in any way parking on streets or other public right or ways.

NOTE: Even though the construction or creation of a paved or prepared surface may be needed in order to park vehicles on private property, it is possible that constructing such a surface may be deemed a "permanent improvement" to the property that must also comply with applicable building and zoning standards. For instance, any permanent improvements on a private parcel of land may not cover more than 30% of the total land area without a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

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