Mon, Feb. 17

Proposed ordinance will allow for more types of driveway, parking surfaces in Cottonwood

COTTONWOOD — A City of Cottonwood ordinance that had its first reading last week would allow the city engineer to approve porous paving and surfacing options as alternatives to asphalt and chip-seal requirements.

Ordinance 668 would allow for new developments or expansions of existing developments to have alternative surfaces approved, if certain conditions are met. It’s due to be brought before Council for a second and final reading and a vote at a November meeting.

This would apply to parking areas, drive aisles, access ways and sidewalks.

Public Works Director Robert Winiecke said some alternatives, such as a lattice-type system with concrete strips with pea gravel in between, would work well in many situations, and would minimize the dragging of pea gravel over wide areas if installed angularly.

He also said pervious concrete and blacktop, which allows for some water to seep through, is also one alternative, as are brick pavers.

Two of the two major benefits to some of more porous alternative surfaces are reduced heat retention and more natural precipitation runoff, with water flowing down into the soil instead of being routed by hard-surface parking lots and driveways.

A number of planned developments have expressed interest to city personnel in using such alternatives on upcoming projects.

Winiecke said ADA compliance would still be in place, so handicapped parking spots, for example, would still be on hard, solid surfaces.

The current parking and loading requirements of the city’s zoning ordinance require a hard surface for all new developments or expansions of existing developments.

City staff have met with several potential applicants for various projects, all of which could benefit from alternative surfacing options.

All alternative surfacing requests would require approval by the city engineer based on a list of specific requirements that must be met, including function, weight load and dimensions.

City Council Member Michael Mathews, while viewing a slide that appeared to show the lattice/pea gravel alternative, said he has a building with a similar parking surface.

“I want to rip it out and pave it,” Michaels said, laughing. Winiecke said he understands alternatives to blacktop might not be right for all types of new or remodeled locations.

Winiecke the point is to give developers and planners more alternatives within an ordinance — ones that allow for natural precipitation runoff while still keeping dust down.

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