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Councillor wants larger driveways in new subdivisions

Coun. Paul Carr wants larger driveways when new subdivisions are built. Photo by James Gaughan, QNet News

By James Gaughan [1] 

BELLEVILLE – Coun. Paul Carr [2] wants the city to look at building bigger driveways in any new subdivisions built, but it may be easier said than done. 

Carr told the Planning Advisory Committee [3]  Monday night, the reason he wants this looked at it because he hears from residents frequently complaining about cars sticking out of driveways, blocking the sidewalk.

“I get calls about this regularly,” he told the committee.

Driveways in new subdivisions should be long enough to hold two cars end to end, he said. Experts say it would need to be at least 40 feet.

“We should make them big enough to put an end to this problem,” he said.

Samantha Shortt, one of the city’s municipal bylaw enforcement officers, said that her department also gets calls about this.

“We get quite a few complaints about cars sticking out of driveways and on to the sidewalks,” she said

However, making longer driveways in the future is easier said than done Spencer Hutchison [4], the city’s manager of approvals, told QNet News.

Making driveways twice as long as they do now would mean that there would be less room to fit houses in new subdivisions, said Hutchison.

“If you make (driveways) twice as deep so you could get two cars in it the house would end up being about 40 feet back from the street, which shrinks the size of the backyard. If you wanted a normal sized backyard and a bigger driveway it takes up more space meaning that there is less room to build houses on,” he said.

Hutchison said that he understands why this issue exists, explaining that between November and April you aren’t allowed to park your car on the street overnight because of snow clearing meaning people with multiple cars have to try to fit them onto driveways that are too small.

“You see some parts of town where people park their cars on the lawn during the winter,” he said.

There are alternatives to making driveways longer that may solve the issue, such as widening the driveway so that it’s possible to park two cars next to each other, Hutchison said.

Until something like that happens though Hutchison has some advice for people looking to buy a house in a new subdivision.

“Buy a property that’s big enough for the the vehicles that you’re going to have.”

City staff will be looking at the issue, and there will be a follow up at the next planning committee meeting.