Code changes to increase residential driveway width in Coon Rapids

A proposed code change to increase the maximum driveway allowed for residential homes has been approved by the Coon Rapids City Council.

After considerable discussion, the council Aug. 8 adopted an ordinance that puts in place a new maximum driveway width for homes in the LDR-2 (low density residential) zoning district.

When the ordinance was originally presented to the council back in June, the new driveway standard would have also applied to LDR-1 zoning districts, but that was removed from the ordinance at a council work session and sent back to staff and the Coon Rapids Planning Commission for more work.

According to Planner Scott Harlicker, staff is researching possible changes to driveway dimensions in the LDR-1 district and the ordinance brought back to the council for action just applies to residences in the LDR-2 zoning district.

Currently, the code allows parking in front of the garage and side yards only on an improved surface, which includes asphalt, concrete or pavers, Harlicker wrote in a report to the council.

“The maximum driveway width (36 feet) often precludes widening the driveway to provide access to these accessory off-drive parking areas,” he wrote.

Under the code change, the maximum drive width would increase from 36 to 40 feet or 50 percent of the lot width, whichever would be less.

If the lot is less than 72 feet wide, the property owners would still be allowed a 36-foot wide driveway.

The maximum width would be measured between the front of the garage to 20 feet from the front of the garage and would include the off-drive parking area.

“At 20 feet from the garage the driveway would have a maximum of 36 feet, what the current code allows, but would allow angled parking to the parking area,” Harlicker wrote in his report.

However, the maximum driveway width at the street right of way would remain unchanged at 24 feet.

The maximum width of the off-drive parking area would be 12 feet and could not extend more than 24 feet from the front of the garage to the rear, but it could extend to the property line, Harlicker wrote in his report.

Instead of the current requirement that the off-drive parking areas be finished with asphalt, concrete or pavers, the ordinance would allow pervious pavers, patio blocks or concrete pavers or porous paving grids, to which the commission added a stone – the city engineering department recommended a three-quarter inch fractured stone – or gravel material and the council concurred.

According to the ordinance, the entire off-drive parking area would have to be finished and extend to the drip line of the vehicle that is parked on it.

The council discussion centered on whether the additional parking area was sufficient, specifically to handle parking trailers and RVs alongside garages.

In Councilmember Paul Johnson’s view, the earlier council discussion on the ordinance brought up the need for extra parking space for large RVs.

The proposed change would not accommodate many RVs and parking trailers, Johnson said.

Councilmember Jerry Koch agreed, but others, including Councilmembers Denise Klint, Bruce Sanders and Scott Schulte, said their recollection was that the ordinance was targeted at residents who had multiple regular vehicles to park.

“I thought it was so residents could park more cars, not boats, trailers and RVs,” Klint said.

In adopting the ordinance unanimously, the council did direct the staff and planning commission to look at the parking needs of residents with RVs and parking trailers as well as the LDR-1 driveway parking.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]