The Bryan County Board of Commissioners heard a first reading Tuesday of a revised ordinance aimed at making travel safer by putting more space between driveways on roads with speed limits of 50 mph or greater.
Commissioners, who discussed the issue at their regular meeting at the County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill, took no action on the revision, which could become effective in March and in most cases calls for a minimum of 350 feet between driveways on new construction.
“You know what we just did, right?” Commissioner Steve Myers said to the board. “What we did is we just made lot sizes on 50 mph roads larger, because they’ll need to have (at least) 330 feet of frontage. There’s no if’s, ands or buts about it — that’s what we did.”
County officials have discussed in recent meetings ways to convince developers to build on larger lots, and commissioners first discussed a way to put more distance between driveways on roads with higher speed limits during a January workshop.
But there may be more tinkering as they look for ways to avoid shared driveways, which were called for in the revision discussed Tuesday night.
The idea of shared driveways got a negative response from Myers.
“I don’t want to force people to have shared driveways,” Myers said. “They never work.”
Instead, the new ordinance could call for allowing 10 feet between driveways on adjoining properties and allowing them to count as one.
“Whether it’s a shared driveway or two driveways 10 feet apart, what do we care how they do it as long as we limit egress?” Myers said.
There’s also wording in the measure that allows “the greatest distance obtainable from pre-existing driveways” to replace the required 350 feet.
And it’s unclear how the new rules, shared driveways or not, will apply to current developments, though County Engineer Kirk Croasmun told commissioners he is trying to find the best solutions.
“We’re not trying to force these folks, we’re just trying to do the best we can with those separations,” he said.
Driveway separations on roads with lower speed limits vary between 10 and 25 feet.
Read more from the meeting in the Feb. 15 edition of the News.