Nonstandard driveways on SD&G roads won’t be grandfathered

This picture from an SD&G council agenda on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021 shows the non-conforming 8.5 meter wide driveway on County Road 18 in St. Andrews West. Council won't be grandfathering driveways like this after an attempt to was defeated in a tie vote. (SD&G via Newswatch Group)

SD&G – If you have a driveway on a county road that is a horseshoe or isn’t 5 meters (16.4 feet) wide, your days are numbered.

The issue came up Monday (Aug. 23) at county council over a transport driver’s 8.5 meter (27.9 foot) wide driveway that is being narrowed as part of road reconstruction in St. Andrews West. The county is also doing away with two horseshoe driveways at two other homes.

Since the culvert upkeep is the county’s responsibility, it’s standardizing the widths and accesses across all SD&G municipalities where it has jurisdiction.

During Monday’s discussion, Coun. Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) says the county needed to consider grandfathering non-conforming driveways and shouldn’t be “nitpicking.”

“People are used to what they had,” he says.

Coun. Bryan McGillis (South Stormont) stated that the bylaw “doesn’t fit for this driveway” and that it was “not right” and the county has “got to work with the public.”

In contrast, Coun. Jamie MacDonald (North Glengarry) says the county – and by extension taxpayers – shouldn’t be on the hook for the added cost of extra material for a larger driveway.

SD&G Manager of Operations Trevor Baker says he used a “conservative template” and there should be no problem with a tractor-trailer backing into a 5 meter driveway off County Road 18. Warden Allan Armstrong, who had a career in truck driving, says there should be “no problem putting a 53-foot truck in that driveway,” while noting he wasn’t providing commentary on the homeowner’s truck driving experience.

As for the horseshoe driveway, Baker says the policy was explained to those affected and one of them is “very accepting of that.”

The move to grandfather non-conforming driveways was defeated in a tie vote of council.