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Driveways

Constructing a new or altering an existing driveway/laneway (Private Approach permit)

A Private Approach is the surface part of an entrance to private property (driveway or laneway) for vehicular access that is on the City road allowance, and is regulated by the City's Private Approach By-law (2003-447).

If you plan to create, widen or close your driveway, residents need to apply for a Private Approach Permit. For additional information, please review the attached Homeowner information package below.

Once a private approach permit has been issued, the contractor performing the work may be required to obtain a Road Cut permit.

Private approach permits cannot be issued if they contravene any other City of Ottawa by-laws.

For information on commercial private approaches, please contact rowadmin@ottawa.ca. Please note an Access Impact Study may be required as part of the permitting process.

Homeowner Information Package (Residential Only)

Permit Application

Sample Drawings [ PDF 98 KB ]

How to apply:

Step 1: Review the Homeowner package to determine the requirements for your project.

Step 2: Prepare the application form and consult with City staff if required.

Step 3: Apply by email (rowadmin@ottawa.ca) in person at any Client Service Centre.

Approximate cost

  • $178 Residential Private Approach
    • $104 Culvert Inspection
  • $178 Temporary Access
    • $104 Culvert Inspection
  • Commercial, Industrial or Multi-Residential
    • 1-49 parking spaces ($309)
    • 50-99 parking spaces ($618)
    • 100 or more parking spaces ($788)
  • Closure of a Redundant Approach ($178.00)

Who to contact: rowadmin@ottawa.ca

Where to apply: By email: rowadmin@ottawa.ca or in person at any Client Service Centre

Processing time (these timelines include obtaining a Road Cut permit): six to eight weeks

The Homeowner’s checklist for residential private approach construction

This Checklist provides homeowners a summary of the Private Approach application submission requirements for constructing or modifying a Private Approach.

For more information on the Private Approach regulations, please refer to Private Approach By-law (No. 2003-447):

A Right of Way (ROW) By-law administrator can advise on applicable Private Approach By-law Regulations that may affect your proposed private approach. Please contact ROWAdmin@ottawa.ca  Note: All Private Approaches must lead to parking areas that conform to the Zoning By-law. For more information, please refer to Sections 100-114 of the Zoning By-law (No. 2008-250):

A Development Information Officer (DIO) can advise on applicable zoning regulations that may affect your proposed private approach. Please call 311 and ask for the DIO for the geographic area in question.

Approximate Timeline:

The Private Approach permit process requires approximately six to eight weeks

Required Drawing:

  • Please provide a drawing, site plan, grading and drainage plan or survey that clearly indicates:
    • Property lines, dimensions of lot, and any structures on the property
    • Location and width of existing and/or proposed driveway;
    • Location and sizing of any culverts related to the proposed driveway (where applicable)
    • Location of curb, sidewalk and any road allowance features (fire hydrant, tree, etc.)
    • Dimensions / offsets to all applicable features (noted above)

Note: An approved grading and drainage plan is required for all private approach applications associated with the construction of a new residential dwelling (ie. rural lots or urban infills). All rural applications must also include culvert location(s), as required.Note: An engineered grading plan may be required for a proposed private approach installation located on an existing lot, where the grade (elevation) between the proposed parking area and the roadway surface is greater than 1m. Such plan should indicate details of retaining walls, as required.

Required Application Form:

Please complete the Private Approach application form and submit with the required drawing. 

Private Approach Application Submission Checklist:

  • Review Private Approach By-law to ensure proposed private approach design conforms to all applicable regulations
  • Review Zoning By-law requirements to ensure proposed parking area conforms to all applicable regulations (ie. Front yard parking prohibition)
  • Private Approach drawing that meets all requirements outlined in the Required Drawing section
  • Completed application form

Frequently Asked Questions

What is front yard parking?

The Zoning By-law governs the location of parking on private property. In general, front yard parking is prohibited. For example, you cannot park your vehicle in the front yard of your property, in front of the front walls of the building. You can park your vehicle in a garage attached to your property, and in the driveway leading to the garage or in the side yard abutting your property. For more information, and diagrams showing where you can and cannot park on your property, please see the relevant section of the Zoning By-law. Please refer specifically to the section addressing residential zones.

What is a mature neighbourhood? How can I find out if I am affected?

Zoning By-law 2012-147 created the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay that affects dwellings within the inner urban neighbourhoods (Wards 14, 15 and parts of 12, 13 and 17). The Overlay contains regulations intended to recognize the established look along a street. These include regulations on the use of lands in the front and corner side yards including amount of landscaping, rear lane access, driveway widths and on-site parking, as well as the orientation of the main door, and the minimum amount of habitable floor area required on the first floor, closest to the existing average grade. Flag lot, corner lot and long semi-detached dwelling developments are introduced and regulated. For more information, please contact a Development Information Officer at any City Client Service Centre.

What are the Private Approach drawing requirements?

Prepare a drawing (approved site plan or survey preferred) indicating:

  • Lot lines, dimensions, and any structures on the property
  • Location and width of existing and proposed private approaches
  • Location of curb, sidewalk, City trees, fire hydrants, utility poles/boxes (pedestals), etc.

Residential templates and samples can be found in the Homeowner Information Package. For proposed commercial private approaches, please contact the Right of Way permit office.

Do I need a building permit to construct my new driveway?

A building permit is not required; however, zoning regulations and/or site plan control may impose restrictions on the width and location of your driveway. You can obtain this information from a Development Information Officer (DIO) for your area at any of the City’s Client Service Centres. You may also wish to review the deed of transfer of your property (title documents provided by your solicitor following the purchase of your home) as the deed may include restrictions that will also apply, particularly if your home is part of a cooperative development, a condominium development or a multi-residential project.

Is the Private Approach permit included with my building permit?

No. Residents must apply for a Private Approach separately. The only exception to this is that a private approach permit is not required for a private approach approved through the City’s Site Plan or Subdivision approval process.

How wide can my driveway be?

A private approach must be minimum 2.4 metres wide and a maximum 9.0 metres and in no case shall the width exceed 50 per cent of the property frontage on which the approach or approaches are located.

Do I need a culvert?

A private approach requires a culvert if it crosses a ditch. The construction and maintenance of the private approach and/or culvert are the responsibility of the homeowner. The construction of the culvert (including materials ex: Corrugated steel) must adhere to city standards. Residents may apply at any Client Service Centre

Who maintains/replaces/repairs the culvert underneath my driveway?

The maintenance and upkeep of a private approach, including any culverts and headwalls are the responsibility of the abutting owner.

How long does it take to obtain a permit?

Allow six to eight weeks from application to permit approval. This time frame allows for processing, zoning review, and obtaining a road cut permit. Permit times may vary depending on the complexity of the application and seasonal demand.