All new homes in unincorporated La Plata County now will have smoother and wider driveways after new standards took effect April 1.
Anyone with construction plans for a new home in the county now must have a driveway permit before they apply for a building permit, said Kelly Bachor with the county’s engineering department.
Steep, narrow and winding driveways have prevented firefighters from protecting homes, and as a result, some of them have been lost to fire, said Durango Fire Protection District Chief Dan Noonan.
Under the new standards, driveways will have to be at least 12 feet wide and no more than a 12 percent grade. They also will have gravel or another road base to protect from deep ruts and erosions.
The new standards apply only to new homes that are not already in the permitting process, all others are grandfathered in, Bachor said.
“Many of the standards settled upon were not national standards. They are less than national standards,” Noonan said.
But requiring extra width and weight-carrying capacity does cost more, and the fire district understands that, as well.
“We felt like a reasonable compromise was met,” he said.