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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paved over lawns allowed if done before 2002

If you’re tired of mowing the grass or want to turn your yard into a parking lot, think twice. A county ordinance passed in 2002 prohibits a house on property zoned R-1 or R-2 from having more than 25 percent of the lawn (front and back) paved over. If the property is zoned R-3 or R-4, it can’t have more than 30 percent of the lawn paved over.

Lawns paved over before 2002 are “grandfathered,” however, which means the concrete can stay. It doesn’t matter when the house was built; if the lawn was paved over after 2002, it’s a violation, says Jeff Blackford, director of the Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance. The house pictured here, at 6028 Columbia Pike, and another one at 6030 Columbia Pike, had their laws paved before 2002, so there is nothing that can be done about them.

When investigating a possible violation, county officials look at aerial photos to determine when the paving was done, Blackford says. If there is too much tree cover, they look at permit records and talk to neighbors.

“It’s a routine problem,” says Mike Congleton, a property maintenance code compliance official. “Sometimes people make mistakes. They think it’s their property and they can do anything they want with it.” 

“Most of our zoning laws come from concerns raised by communities,” Blackford says. The law restricting paved-over lawns also stems from efforts to limit impervious surfaces to reduce water runoff and protect local streams, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.


  1. The ownership of the home can change hands and they can still repave. They can build a brand new home and as long as they are grandfathered in it does not matter the front yard can look like a parking lot and not a front/ side/ back yard. Do you wonder why they need so many parking spaces? There is no place for water to run off and we are having flooding issues in this District. The supervisors can change this but they choose not to. This looks like a great picture of the Mason District when you drive in are we in a third world country or the USA.

  2. It would be great if this house could be moved to Mars where there is not a spec of green. Perhaps the owners that have put this monstrosity up for sale can disappear and move there too with the rest of the invisible aliens.

    This type of front yard treatment adds to the demise of an already challenged environment. Large paved asphalt areas of this magnitude creates a heat island affect that bakes during the day and radiates a huge amounts heat at night. As it silently kills all of us we ignorantly and passively corroborate in destroying our most precious and natural resources.

    The only uses appropriate for the future of this property is a truck stop or an egg frying marathon.