Chapter 11.40


11.40.010    Definitions.

11.40.020    Improvement permit.

11.40.030    Limitations.

11.40.040    Specifications.

11.40.050    Discontinued use.

11.40.060    Variances.

11.40.010 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words have the meaning designated in this section unless the context indicates otherwise:

(1) The “apron” is that portion of the driveway approach extending from the gutter flow line to the sidewalk section.

(2) The “curb return” is the curved portion of a street curb at street intersections, or the curved portion of a curb in the end slopes of a driveway approach.

(3) A “driveway” is an area on private property where automobiles and other vehicles are operated or allowed to park and access a property.

(4) “Driveway approach” is an area of construction or improvement between the roadway of a public street and private property intended to provide access for vehicles from the roadway of a public street to a defined area of the private property, such as a parking area, a driveway or a door, intended and used for the ingress and egress of vehicles. The component parts of the driveway approach are termed the apron, the end slopes or the curb return, and sidewalk section.

(5) The “end slopes” are those portions of the driveway approach which provide a transition from the normal curb and sidewalk elevation to the grade of the apron, either by means of a sloping surface or by means of a curb return, together with the area between the projected tangents of the curb return.

(6) The “sidewalk section” is that portion of the driveway approach lying between the back edge of the sidewalk and the apron, plus the end slopes measured at the front edge of the sidewalk.

(7) “Right-of-way” means the entire width designated as a public right-of-way, whether any portion of the right-of-way is used by the public for either pedestrian or vehicular travel.

(8) “Public works director” means the director of the public works department for the town of La Conner.

(9) “Town engineer” means the engineering firm or their designee, under contract with the town to provide general civil engineering services.

(10) “Planning director” means the director of the planning department of the town of La Conner.

(11) “ADA” means the Americans with Disabilities Act, now or as hereafter amended. [Ord. 830 § 1, 2001.]

11.40.020 Improvement permit.

No person, firm or corporation shall remove, alter or construct any curb, sidewalk, driveway approach, gutter, pavement or other improvement in any public right-of-way, or other property owned by or dedicated to or used by the town and over which it has jurisdiction to regulate the matters covered hereby, without first obtaining a permit from the planning director, and no permit shall be granted until the applicant shall file with the town engineer or public works director for approval a copy of a drawing showing the location and size of all such proposed improvements to serve the property affected. All proposals shall be in accordance with the adopted current standard specifications of the town and in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, including but not necessarily limited to ADA compliance. [Ord. 830 § 1, 2001.]

11.40.030 Limitations.

The following limitations shall apply.

(1) No driveway approach shall be permitted to encompass any municipal facility under the permit provided for. Applicant may be authorized to relocate any municipal facility including any within the limits of a curb return which may be encroached upon.

(2) Multiple driveway approaches shall not be authorized onto arterial streets where the property is bounded by and can be reasonably accessed by minor streets or alleys unless such access creates unnecessary hardship on the property owner or business or constitutes an unreasonable pedestrian hazard.

(3) No driveway approach for commercial purposes shall be allowed unless sufficient space is provided for vehicles 20 feet in length to turn around before returning to the street or unless an exit to an alley or secondary street is provided.

(4) No driveway may be located so as to conflict with power poles, streetlights, fire hydrants, or other above ground public facilities.

(5) No driveway shall be located within 20 feet, including transitions, of a regular crosswalk area at an intersection of any other designated crosswalk area.

(6) No driveway shall be located within 20 feet, including transitions, of an intersection.

(7) No driveway apron shall extend further into the street than the curb face.

(8) City street right-of-way may not be used for private commercial purposes. A permit for the construction of driveway approaches shall not be issued unless the vehicles to be served can be parked entirely within the private property lines. [Ord. 830 § 1, 2001.]

11.40.040 Specifications.

The currently adopted standard specifications shall apply. Property frontage, referred to herein, includes approach areas directly in front of property owned or under the control of the applicant and such area as may be opposite adjoining property which is used for approach purposes by right of easement or agreement with the adjoining property owner.

(1) The maximum single residential driveway width for lot frontage of 75 feet or less shall not exceed 20 feet at the curb, excluding transitions and not be less than 10 feet.

(2) For commercial driveways, when one or more driveway approaches serve a given property frontage, no single apron shall exceed 30 feet in length. A safety island of not less than 20 feet of full curb height shall be provided between driveway approaches serving any one property frontage.

(3) A safety island of not less than six feet of full curb height shall be provided in all cases between adjacent driveway approaches.

(4) All driveway approaches shall be constructed of Portland cement not less than six inches thick and in accordance with specifications provided by the engineer or public works director.

(5) All driveways shall slope upward from the gutter at not less than one-quarter-inch per foot. [Ord. 830 § 1, 2001.]

11.40.050 Discontinued use.

When, in the judgment of the mayor or his or her designee, the continued use of a driveway approach is hazardous to pedestrians or traffic or whenever the use of the driveway shall be discontinued, the owner of the abutting property shall, upon notice from the mayor or his or her designee, remove the driveway approach and replace the sidewalk and public property in accordance with town specifications and under the supervision of the town engineer or public works director. [Ord. 830 § 1, 2001.]

11.40.060 Variances.

(1) The hearing examiner (or public works director) may grant, in writing, variances from the regulations and requirements of this chapter providing that the following conditions are present:

(a) The variance requested arises from peculiar physical conditions not ordinarily existing elsewhere in the town or is due to the nature of the business or operation being presently conducted upon the applicant’s property;

(b) The variance requested is not against the public interest, particularly safety, convenience and general welfare;

(c) The granting of the variance will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners or tenants;

(d) The terms of this chapter will cause unnecessary hardship on the applicant, property owner or tenant.

(2) The decision to deny a variance may be appealed to the hearing examiner pursuant to Chapters 15.15 and 15.135 LCMC as now exist or are hereafter amended. [Ord. 830 § 1, 2001.]