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Posted by Mary in PA on 7/16/2009

The subdivision plan for our property lists a limitation of 10,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface for the principal use. According to township zoning, impervious includes buildings, paving and gravel roads/driveways. Bummer - our proposed house site requires a 950 ft. driveway. At 10 feet wide, that’s 9,500 sq. ft. of impervious gravel before you even get to the buildings! John joked that we could put in a driveway with a tent at the end of it and while that might suit him just fine, I was hoping for a bit more in terms of housing comfort. So, off to try to find a solution.

 

Several weeks passed with me reading a text on pervious paving (very interesting BTW) and getting comments from a discussion thread on this board. Then we had the good fortune of a chance meeting with a civil engineer working in the area. As it turns out he was a wealth of information on the issue and he was very generous in sharing his knowledge and experience. He described some other projects in our area where the owner got a county waver on the limitation in exchange for construction infiltration pits. I can’t say I was thrilled to hear that, but at least I learned a lot from the conversation.

 

So, we were pondering the options when we had dinner with some family members who have experience in road building, including working for the township. They suggested I meet with the township zoning guy before settling on any plan. It was a good idea - I guess I’m somewhat biased against regulatory departments, and have read some nightmare stories from other O-B's… But in thinking about it in a more businesslike fashion, meeting with the zoning guy really did seem like a common sense approach. And now having had my meeting with the zoning guy I can wholeheartedly report that he was extremely helpful and provided us with the best solution of all!

 

He explained that the 10,000 sq. ft. limitation on impervious is a county subdivision issue, and does not include the driveway or farm buildings – only the house and garage. The definition of impervious that I had read in the township zoning regs does include driveways, but doesn’t apply in our situation. So, we’re good to go with our proposed house site and 950 ft. standard gravel driveway. Yippee! During the meeting we also covered a few other topics so all in all it was really productive.

 

Lessons Learned:

- Before attempting to find a solution, make sure you understand the problem. (duh).

- With respect to county regulations, township regulations, conservation district regulations and specific deed notes; when in doubt ask the ones in the know, the final deciders (e.g. zoning guy, inspector guy/gal, and so on). At least start there, as it is likely to save time in the long run.

 

I’m hoping to do the driveway this fall. Fun, fun, we’ll finally get to actually move some dirt!

Posted by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 7/17/2009

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7/17/2009
This is a great journal entry.  I wish I could rate it a five.  This is such a great lesson to learn at the beginning.  Another lesson is "get advice from two expert sources and then compare."

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