Driveway – Residential

Pay Permit Fees Online

The Ottawa County Road Commission now accepts credit card payments both online and in person for residential driveway permits. A 3% convenience fee will be automatically added to your order total for credit card payments.

Please note: If you are submitting a $1,000 bond, an actual bond must be submitted separately and cannot be paid for by credit card.

Pay Online

The Special Services Department reviews and administers all permit applications. A permit is required from the Road Commission for any and all work being conducted within the road right-of-way, including utilities, and oversize and overweight vehicles.

Documents related to permit applications are found below. They should be completed in accordance with our Procedures and Regulations for Permitted Activities, and then returned to the Special Services Department for review.

Please send completed application and forms to: permits@ottawacorc.com

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a permit required for work within the right-of-way?

In accordance with Act 200 of the Public Acts of 1969, any activity or use of county road right-of-way other than for highway travel purposes does require a permit from the Road Commission.
A permit is required from the Road Commission for any and all work being conducted within the road right-of-way whether it is by a contractor or a property owner.

Some examples of work that typically require a permit are:

  • Adding or improving a driveway approach
  • Adding, improving, or maintaining a public or private utility
  • Adding or improving a sidewalk or non-motorized path
  • Adding storm water to or improving a roadside drainage system
  • Surveying and other engineering operations
  • Placing a banner, decoration, or similar object
  • Closing a section of road for a parade, celebration, festival, demonstration, or similar activity
  • Grading or excavation, landscaping, tree planting, tree trimming or tree removal
  • Any construction activity that impacts storm water runoff into or around county road right-of-way
  • Standard mailboxes are allowed without a permit in the road right-of-way.
What is a right-of-way encroachment?

Michigan law prohibits the placement of any object, except authorized mailbox mountings, within the county road right-of-way unless that object is permitted by the Road Commission.

In many instances, property owners or contractors place fences, rocks/boulders, trees/shrubs, earthwork (including berms), signs, or other objects within the road right-of-way as a measure of improving landscape. However, these fixed objects often become hazards to errant motorists, vision obstructions, or interfere with road and public utility improvements.

The Road Commission asks for everyone’s cooperation in keeping the road right-of-way free of all potential hazards and future road and public utility improvement conflicts.

Right-of-Way Encroachment Policy

Why are concrete drive approaches not permitted on non-curbed roads?

The Road Commission is no longer permitting the placement of concrete in the right-of-way for new or reconstructed driveways on non-curbed roads.

During summer or winter maintenance operations, such as plowing snow or grading the shoulder, the equipment may catch the edge of the concrete with the snow blade or grading devices. This could cause injury to the driver and damage to the equipment.

The restoration or replacement of concrete driveways for reconstruction, resurfacing, or other improvement projects, typically will increase project costs by delaying the progress of the work to allow for proper curing, as well the fixed cost of placing concrete instead of other approved materials.

Can trees be planted in the right-of-way?

The Road Commission established a county-wide Tree Planting Policy to balance the benefits that trees can provide, the desires of the community, and related safety concerns.

The policy depicts tree planting locations as it relates to the type of road, number of lanes within the road, and the speed limit. The policy will allow tree plantings from 28 to 32 feet from the centerline of 2-lane primary roads and 27 to 30 feet from the centerline of 2-lane local roads.

Can a roadside ditch be filled in?

If there is a ditch along the road in front of your property, you should not fill it in even if it does not drain water to a positive outlet. The purpose of most roadside ditches is to prevent water from pooling on the roadway during or after a storm, and to lower the water table beneath the roadbed. Filling in even a fairly shallow roadside ditch can cause serious damage to the road and pavement from frost heave, and increases the chance that water and ice will build up on the road and create a hazard to motorists.

If an open ditch is not desired, a property owner can obtain a permit to enclose the ditch with storm sewer to insure proper roadside drainage.

Understanding Roadside Drainage