Driveway permits and access management

The county requires access and entrance permits to manage vehicle access to county roads for safety and traffic flow.

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Driveway or entrance permits

An entrance permit is required on county roads:

  • Whenever a new driveway or street connection is proposed on a county road
  • Whenever an existing driveway is proposed to be modified (widened, channelized, relocated, etc.)
  • Whenever a driveway is removed (required for work in the county roadway right-of-way)
  • Changes in site land uses (even if no modifications to existing driveways are proposed)
  • If temporary access is needed to facilitate construction activities
  • If development-driven traffic impacts predicate needed changes on the county roadway (such as the need for turn or auxiliary lanes)

A permit is not required if:

  • The request is for an entrance located within the project limits of an active county roadway project (requires coordination with construction project manager)
  • Tenant changes on the property that do not change the land use activity
  • Changes due to county maintenance operations or utility permit actions
  • The entrance is within Minneapolis (permitting is delegated to city)

Permit fees

Permit fees

  • Residential driveway: $50
  • Temporary entrance: $100
  • Commercial driveway or street: $200

Information and procedures

  • Multiple driveway entrances or street accesses can be combined for the same development within a single permit application and fee payment
  • Temporary permits are for short-term construction access, or conditions that are expected to have duration of less than one year. The temporary permit may be issued with specific termination dates.
  • No fees are charged for removals of driveways.
  • No fees are charged for an extension of a current access permit if the applicant applies prior to the permit expiration date (see below).

Permit process

The permit process normally takes approximately two weeks from the application to issuance of the permit to allow construction. However, larger more involved developments can take up to 30 days or longer if complex design issues need to be resolved.

The entrance permit process includes:

  1. An application submitted by the property owner, developer or city
  2. A permit issued by Hennepin County to the applicant
  3. Notification from the applicant for county final inspection and permit sign-off

After the application is submitted to the county, the county staff will often perform a field review and then complete the permit. The permit will be sent to the property owner noting any specific requirements or special provisions. If the county guidelines for design, access spacing or sight distance can not be met, further justification may be required, or additional evaluation and analysis may need to be completed by the property owner.

It should be noted if the entrance is associated with a development undergoing platting, then the preliminary plat reviews and city approvals are necessary prior to issuance of an entrance permit. However, the county encourages early informal submittals of site plans and access proposals prior to the submittal of an entrance permit application to allow county staff to identify any possible issues and give time for discussion and the investigation of mitigation options.

If a permit is issued for an entrance that is later found to be part of a platting or zoning action (that was not previously approved by the city) the entrance permit may be declared null and void. This may result in significant delays to the development project, a possible order to stop work, and requirements for significant changes or removal of the entrance.

An entrance permit is valid for 1-year from the date of issuance. If construction can not begin within this time period, an extension is available for an additional 6 months upon the written request of the applicant (made prior to the expiration of the permit). An extension can be granted one time without any additional fee. Once the permit expires or if additional extensions are needed, the renewal may require re-submittal of a permit application and payment of the appropriate application fee.

What is access management?

Access management has become an important subject as transportation professionals grapple with the issues of increasing congestion and deteriorating roadway operations. The goal of managing access, whether it be street entrances or individual driveways, is to achieve an optimal balance between what is needed for safe, efficient roadway operations and the need to provide access to adjacent properties and businesses.

The term access management is applied to a number of measures that can be used to enhance a roadway's safety and its ability to move vehicular traffic through management and control of access points to the roadway. These measures include:

  • Limiting the driveway access points to decrease turning conflicts
  • Locating entrance or access points further from adjacent intersections
  • Providing sufficient spacing between intersecting streets
  • Spacing traffic signals to optimize traffic flow
  • Implementing sight distance guidelines to improve safety
  • Use of channelization to preclude selected turning conflicts

Hennepin County has adopted access spacing guidelines that are based on local and national research that shows that crash rates decrease markedly as the spacing between driveways and streets increases.

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