Thanks Cindy B for posting the link to this Manassas Journal article in an earlier thread! Being that much of what people have concerns about involve their neighborhoods, this seems like a proactive approach to dealing with issues that arise!

Citizen action is what’s needed to combat Prince William’s growing trend of housing vacancies, said the county’s Neighborhood Services Division, and the hows, whys and whats of a new plan to compel just such is scheduled for presentation tonight.

“Vacant homes tend to progress from tall grass to broken windows, which must be boarded,” according to a county press release on the issue. “Graffiti, criminal activity, structure deterioration and blight often follow.”

Concerned residents can report homes that have fallen into this state to the county via a form posted on the division’s Web site, called “A Neighborhood Eyes and Ears Checklist for Vacant Houses.” Staff will then follow up the report with a visit to the property, the county reports.

It’s this resident reporting initiative that will be presented to the public tonight at 7 p.m. at the McCoart Building, in the Potomac Conference Room. Called “Vacant Houses, County Resources and Citizen Actions,” the presentation is aimed at reversing the trend of abandoned and emptied homes that has left the county with about 7,000, according to recent Neighborhood Services statistics.

The complaint system is anonymous for those who opt.

Right now, the menu of reportable code violations is extensive. Aside from tall grass—the county has an ordinance that limits grass height to 12 inches—and broken windows, complaints can target vehicles that are parked on grass and gravel as well as vehicles that do not display current state registration tags and county stickers.

Furthermore, anonymous complainers can also report when neighbors erect fences or build decks, garages and housing additions without proper zoning approvals; alter housing systems like cooling and electrical without build-ing permits; operate home-based businesses, to include child day care, without the necessary occupation and special use permits; leave trash and furniture outside; and exceed occupancy limits for their particular homes.

The meeting is open to the public, but registration is requested by calling 703-792-7018.