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PWC Neighborhood Services helps keep the peace

Prince William County’s Neighborhood Services, which is part of the Public Works Department, helps keep Prince William County looking good and keeps people talking.

Neighborhood Services partners with communities to help take care of graffiti issues, litter, vehicles in disrepair, abandoned homes, hoarding and much more.

Michelle Morris, director, and Deb Oliver, public outreach and education coordinator, said they receive many calls about possible property code violations.

Community members also tend to call about tall weeds and grass, which Morris said must be taller than 12 inches and cover the majority of the lawn for the county to become involved. Sometimes, Morris suggested, homeowner may be sick or out of town.

Morris always recommends communication above all else. Simply getting neighbors talking can help shed light on an issue or occurrence. The county will become involved if the frustrated neighbor speaks with the homeowner to no avail. Contractors are hired by the county and will actually measure the lawn to be sure it is higher than a foot before the contractor will mow it and the county will put a lien on the property.

Morris said her office has received phone calls about hoarding when neighbors can see things piled up and covering windows in a home. This requires the help of social services. The county is restricted to getting involved if there is a three-foot pathway so emergency staff can get through the home in case of an emergency.

Many people also call with complaints about cars. Morris warns that there is no county or state limit on how many cars can be owned by an individual. Many times they will receive calls about too many vehicles being on a property or parked around a property.

However, there is a stipulation about inoperative vehicles. Morris said inoperable vehicles are not permitted unless they are out of public view, typically in a garage.

Read the full story in the Oct. 14 issue of the Bull Run Observer, the Oct. 19 issue of the Old Bridge Observer and the Oct. 21 issue of the Manassas Observer.

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