The proliferation of three-car garages and RV pads in single-family neighborhoods in Hermiston has prompted the city to increase the maximum allowable width of driveways.
The Hermiston City Council on Monday passed an ordinance to allow driveway widths to increase from 36 feet to 50 feet or 50 percent of the lot width – whichever is smaller.
In 2018 the city council passed an ordinance that set a uniform driveway width of 36 feet to accommodate larger driveway demand in single-family neighborhoods. That, however, hasn’t proved to be wide enough. Since 2018, the city has had to grant numerous driveway variances, especially in subdivisions such as the Desert Sky neighborhood which have wide lots and large homesites.
Each driveway variance must be reviewed by the street superintendent and city engineer and requires significant staff resources, said City Planner Clint Spencer. That additional time not only frustrates residents but creates a “bottleneck in closing new construction.”
For some perspective, Spencer said he measured the distance between curbs at the four-way intersection by Hermiston High School and it came to 47 feet.
“So, 50 feet will be awfully wide,” said Spencer.
Residents can still apply for a width variance if the new standard isn’t big enough.
The council voted unanimously to approve the new width standard.