Limiting gathering size at private homes

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561
Limiting gathering size at private homes

Virginia proposal would limit size of gatherings at private homes | Fox News

A plan to ban "frequent and large gatherings at neighborhood homes" is a lawsuit waiting to happen, a Fairfax County supervisor predicts.

Officials will get an idea Wednesday when public-comment hearings begin in Virginia's most populous county.

"I believe the county is risking a lawsuit and/or a Constitution challenge by interfering with peoples' right to assemble," Supervisor Pat Herrity said in a statement.

The proposed zoning ordinance limits "group assembly" at residences to 49 people a day. Such gatherings "shall not occur more frequently than three times in any 40-day period."

County officials say they have received complaints about group meetings at homes. But Herrity said "they haven't even reached 1 percent of the thousands of complaints our Department of Code Compliance investigates a year."

"This is yet another instance where we appear to be punishing the many for the actions of the few," said Herrity, who reported a total of six complaints were received last year.

Church groups, scouting organizations or even sports fans drawn to a home's big-screen TV during playoffs could be potential targets of the proposed county law. Realtors worry that even open houses would invite civil penalties.

John Whitehead, an attorney and president of the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute, calls the Fairfax plan "nefarious."

Debate - good or bad idea? Does it violate home-owners rights?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

My Brother In Law lives in Fairfax and having been there to visit I can see the parking challenges of having dozens of extra cars parked outside. However, if no one was parked where they were not supposed to be and no sound ordnances were being broken I do not see how you possibly could make this a legal law.

Not allowing church groups to meet in homes (provided the parking and sound rules are followed) would be a huge violation of religious freedoms.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I guess we would have problems because I have a large family, there are over 90 of us just counting my mother, brother and sisters and nieces and nephews and their families. We recently had a wedding shower for my niece and there were more than 49 people there with just family.

What about if you have a large house or large yard? We had my wedding in my brother's backyard and he is on a 2 acre lot. There were probably around a 100 people there. I don't see how they could possibly make this enforceable.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I see no reason for this. The issue isn't really how many people are there, it's how those people behave. Most residential areas already have restrictions on parking and noise that can & should be enforced. If this area doesn't have those kinds of restrictions in residential zoning, or doesn't enforce them, then that's what should be fixed. My mom doubled the width of her driveway to hold four cars because her zoning says no cars parked on grass & her neighbors also often had people over so there would be no street parking, and people in Sacramento apparently can't walk five houses down the street, LOL.

In S.F., if you're hosting a crowd, then you hire a valet service to park the cars, or you rent a parking area & a shuttle, because there just is no where to park a bunch of cars in most neighborhoods.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

If laws are already in place to deal with parking issues and sound issues then I do not believe they have the right to limit how a person uses their own property.

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3218

Like Gloria, we have a large family. We easily go beyond this when everyone gathers at my parents' or our home for Christmas, wedding / new baby celebrations and funerals. Our family is close-knit and we actually tend to include the neighbors so there aren't issues with parking as they share their driveways and street parking as available. To the best of my knowledge we have not had a complaint about noise in years (since my brothers FINALLY outgrew their adolescent tendencies LOL)

This would be a huge issue for us.