Williams to allow wider front yard driveways

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The Williams City Council introduced an ordinance last month that could allow property owners to legally widen their residential front yard driveways.

The council acted on the recommendation of the Williams Planning Commission, who reconsidered the city’s 2012 zoning code that restricted paved driveways to just 40 percent the width of the lot on the front side of the property.

If approved, the change in regulations could allow property owners to pave their driveways to 50 percent the lot’s width.

“We have a lot of interest in widening driveways here in Williams,” said City Planner Monica Stegall. “I had a lot of homeowners come in and request to widen their driveways. Some are allowed to; many aren’t because they are already at the 40 percent.”

Although the March 2015 review of the ordinance didn’t result in the planning commission changing the code then, continued requests by the public has resulted in the planning commission recommending an increase to 50 percent, which city officials say will help reduce crowded parking on city streets, particularly in the area of Virginia Way.

When you look at Virginia (Way), there are a lot of cars parked on the street,” Stegall said. “We thought changing the rule would benefit homeowners, and maybe get some of the cars off the street. It could increase visibility with kids playing in the street.”

Stegall said some properties that currently have 50 percent of the lot width paved were either installed prior to the 2012 law or have been done without a permit.

Homeowners wanting to widen their driveways are expected to go through the proper permitting process.

Stegall said there are a number of people the planning commission turned down in recent years who would now be approved to move forward.

The change will go into effect 30 days after final adoption, which is expected at the City Council July 17 regular meeting.