Single-family residences that are being used to house multiple families, or a large number of unrelated persons who are not a family, is a violation of zoning ordinances in Manassas, Prince William County, and Manassas Park. Overcrowded single-family residences crowd our streets, place unexpected burdens on our schools and utilities infrastructure, and often become neighborhood eyesores and a public nuisance. Not only do these overcrowded homes pose a safety threat to those that live in them, but they often pose a health and safety hazard to those who live in nearby residences.

Zoning regulations to prevent overcrowding have depended on a certain level of honesty from the public to adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law. There is often considerable latitude granted in determining whether a house is overcrowded or not in order to accomodate those with large families -- as long as that is what they are. This latitude is being abused by those overcrowding residences who lie about the family relationships of the residents in an overcrowded house, knowing that zoning enforcement personnel are not equipped to deal with folks who wantonly and recklessly violate these ordinances. In all too many cases, it is only the fire code which can be effectively wielded to limit occupancy, and that fire code is terribly permissive.

Illegal aliens are prone to overcrowd residential housing. It is economically advantageous for illegal aliens to share housing, and crowded residential housing is sometimes a very familiar circumstance in their native countries. Many illegal aliens don't have much of a choice, and can't afford better accomodations. Although their difficulties are worth acknowledging, their behavior is unlawful, and their brazen lawbreaking is intolerable.

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