How Do We Get an Entrance Permit for Our Driveway?


| 11/29/2014 7:30:00 PM


Tags: small home big decisions, Jennifer Kongs, Tyler Gill, build a house, buy land, Kansas,

Snowy Rural Hilltop

The Small Home, Big Decisions series follows Jennifer and her husband, Tyler, as they build a self-reliant homestead on a piece of country property in northeastern Kansas. The series will delve into questions that arise during their building process and the decisions they make along the way. The posts are a work in progress, written as their home-building adventure unfolds.

A driveway seems like an innocent enough project. It’s a space I almost didn’t think about before planning to build one. The driveway was where we shot hoops and played kickball when I was growing up, the stretch of cement I had to roll the trash cans down and back up once each week. At our current house, Tyler and I don’t even have a driveway — just a back alley. Building a new driveway, however, is no small matter. Now, when riding my bike down country lanes and admiring houses set way up on a hill with a long, smooth, gravel path leading to their front doors, I no longer think, “Wow, what a beautiful setting with lovely views of the sunset.” Instead, I muse over how many thousands of dollars that driveway cost.

We have talked with other landowners and house builders about how much their driveway cost. It isn’t out of the question to spend multiple thousands of dollars on a long, winding drive. Before you begin debating the finer points of how much you’re willing to spend on a driveway, you first need to check into what, if any, regulations there are for the entrance you build at the point where your driveway will meet a public road.

Our recommendation? Check who owns the road your driveway will be built from before you purchase a piece of property, as it could get expensive if you must build a wide, cemented entrance with a culvert before you can even begin laying down the rest of your driveway. Sometimes, the city or township oversees the entrance permit process, often the county is responsible, and there are times, as in our case, where the state is the official regulator. A call to your county’s zoning and planning department should provide you with the details you need — even if the county isn’t responsible for granting you an entrance permit, they can tell you who is.

For us, our driveway’s entrance will be on a state-owned highway, which means the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) sets the specifics for how wide our entrance must be, whether there must be a culvert, and what types of materials we can use to build that entrance. If we had been more forward-thinking, we would have checked and asked about these specifics from the get-go. But, it didn’t occur to us that a state agency would be in charge of our land’s road access — we just assumed we’d be working with the county. I repeat: You’ll want to look into this ahead of time and find out what the requirements and associated costs will be to put in an access for your property.

jkongs
12/3/2014 2:13:43 PM

Ed, we have wondered about road noise. One highway is very quiet, and not a concern. The other, especially when the wind comes through from the north, is much louder. We're planning to build on the south side of the hill in our land in order to mitigate some of that noise. We have quite a few woods, so we'll probably go ahead and add more trees through the years. I don't know if you could add more trees to do something similar, or if you're planning on adding structures, like a barn, at some point, you could add it between your house and the road. Best of luck - sounds like a lovely spot you have! --Jennifer


Ed
12/2/2014 10:29:24 AM

Looks like you both have plenty of space! Do you have any plans or ideas for cutting down on road noise? We're atop a set of rolling hills about three quarters of a mile from I-270 (several hours east of Kansas) and the trucks are surprisingly loud! It seems to get worse in the winter. I'm sure there is a sound technical reason this occurs, but it escapes me. Some kind of sound refraction? Best of luck and stay warm out there!





mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, hands-on workshops, and great food!

LEARN MORE