WATERVILLE — Douglas County commissioners on Tuesday reduced standards for private roads.
“The only thing we’re going to regulate on private roads is how to get access to a county road from the private road,” said Commissioner Dale Snyder. “And if the fire marshal OKs it for emergency access, you’re good to go,” he added.
The changes mean approval is no longer required by a county engineer, and don’t need to be designed to county road standards.
The changes don’t affect private roads in Douglas County’s urban growth area of East Wenatchee, said Douglas County Engineer Doug Bramlette. He said East Wenatchee’s private road standards will remain in place there.
Commission Chairman Steve Jenkins said the county shouldn’t be in the business of regulating private roads. He said if standards are required, residents in developments sometimes ask the county to take over plowing and maintenance. Uner the new regulation, he said, “It’s either private or it isn’t.”
Bramlette said that could become a drawback, if private property owners ever seek turn their private roads into county roads.
With no plans reviewed and no records of materials used, the change would become costly and difficult.
He said the new private road standards also puts the burden on the county’s fire marshal to ensure roads do meet the needs of emergency vehicles.
The changes were recommended by an advisory committee and approved last month by the Douglas County Planning Commission before coming to commissioners.