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Access Permits

Contact Person:   Marc Lyons    498-5709    Send E-mail

Last Updated: September 16, 2013


Permitting emergency status has been cancelled and we are returning to normal operating procedures.

  • Access Permit
  • Larimer County regulates access to county roads to maintain safe traffic flow, road drainage facilities, and efficient use of the County's roads. An access is defined as any driveway that provides vehicular access to or from any County right-of-way. Requirements for accesses can be found in Chapter 9 of the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards for areas included in city/town urban growth areas, and Chapter 10 of the Rural Area Road Standards for rural properties.

    Review and approval of an access permit may take up to 5 business days.

    An Access Permit is required for any access onto a:

    A change in use of existing access (as defined in the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards, Chapter 9, and in the Rural Area Road Standards, Chapter 10, onto any of the above described roads (i.e. changing a field access to residential access) requires an Access Permit.

    NOTE: A Traffic Control Plan, developed by a certified traffic control company, must be submitted and implemented for all work performed within road rights-of-way, or that will directly affect the traveling public. Traffic Control Plan Approval Form

    An Access Permit is not required for any access onto:

    • Privately owned and maintained roads
    • Public Improvement District PID) roads (with any type of curb & gutter)
    • Publicly dedicated but privately maintained roads

    If you are unsure of whether an access permit is required, please contact Marc Lyons, Access and Utility Coordinator. His contact information is listed below.

    Review and approval of an access permit may take up to 5 business days.

    Additional information may be obtained by contacting:

    Marc Lyons
    Access and Utility Coordinator
    200 West Oak Street, Suite 3000
    P.O. Box 1190
    Fort Collins, CO 80522

    (970) 498-5709
    (970) 498-7986 (fax)

    E-Mail: lyonsma@co.larimer.co.us

    REMEMBER

    CALL BEFORE YOU DIG!
    1-800-922-1987
    or 811

    Utility Notification Center of Colorado

    Index to this page:

    Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards
    Rural Area Road Standards



    Frequently Asked Questions


    1. When do I need an access permit?
      What qualifies as an
      existing access?

      An access permit is required whenever a new access is proposed, an existing access is upgraded (paving, new culvert, etc), or a change in use of an existing access (i.e., changing a field access to a residential access, etc.) is requested. Acquisition of the permit is required before any work is done.

      An existing access must be a well defined roadway (no primitive 2-track roads, etc.) that meets current requirements for its type, as stated in Chapter 9 - Access Requirements and Criteria of the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards and Chapter 10 - Access Requirements and Criteria of the Larimer County Rural Area Road Standards. The Residential/Commercial Typical Access handout provides easy to understand information on access requirements in Larimer County. Anything less than what is shown in these documents must be upgraded to meet those requirements and an access permit is required.

    2. How do I apply for a permit?

      Applications are available at the Larimer County Engineering Department, 200 W. Oak Street, Suite 3000, Fort Collins; or use the online application form. A legal recorded plat must accompany the permit. Application for an access permit is frequently a requirement of getting a building permit.

    3. How much does the permit cost?

      Fees for an access permit range from $50 for a single-family residential access to $300 for a major access (such as for commercial or subdivision use). This fee is due on application for the permit.

    4. How long does it take to get approval on my permit?

      In most cases access permits are processed within 5 business days.

      Prior to issuing the permit, an initial site inspection is performed to address adequate sight distance, drainage requirements, access surfacing, grade, setback regulations, and any other concerns specific to your property.

    5. How can I speed up the process of getting my application for an access permit approved?

      Accurate information is what is most needed for your permit to be quickly processed. Filling out the application form as completely as possible, giving accurate directions, and attaching a sketch plan of your proposed access will be extremely helpful. Clearly mark your proposed access location in the field and note on your sketch the type of marking material used. Acceptable marking materials include: stakes painted a bright color, high visibility plastic tape or cloth tied to your fence, or bright paint markings in the right-of-way, (remember that things tied to a fence frequently appear to be trash, make your markings stand out!) A sign noting your address should be used in addition to any of the above methods. Keep in mind that although you know where your property and proposed access are, we don't. The more obvious your markings, the easier it is for us to find your proposed location and quickly process your permit.

    6. Can I get an access permit before I apply for a building permit?

      Yes. Access permits are frequently issued prior to a building permit being requested. Because an access permit is often a requirement for getting a building permit, retaining your copy of the access permit is very important to avoid being charged for another one.

    7. What are the insurance requirements and why do I have to meet them?

      Larimer County's Risk Management Department requires that any work done within the county's right-of-way be covered by a certain level of insurance. Specific information can be requested from the Risk Management Dept. (970) 498-7361. The purpose of this requirement is to protect the property owner and the County in the event a mishap occurs during the construction process.

    8. Can I build the access myself?

      Yes. However, the insurance requirement mentioned above applies to work done by the property owner as well as work done by a contractor.

    9. What materials do I have to use?

      At a minimum, Larimer County requires an all-weather surface, within the rights-of-way, on all accesses. This type of surface includes road base, recycled asphalt, recycled concrete, asphalt, and concrete) and is determined by the surfacing on the roadway you will take access from.

    10. What contractor can I use?

      There are many qualified contractors in our area. The phone book, Better Business Bureau, and referrals from others are three good ways to choose a contractor. Larimer County doesn't have a "list" of contractor's names that can be given out. After you have made your choice, give us a call and we'll quickly check their insurance status with Risk Management.

    11. How long is an access permit good for and how can I get an extension?

      A permit is good for sixty (60) days. A brief call to the Engineering Department will usually be sufficient to get an extension. If you haven't begun construction on your access and your permit has expired without an extension granted, a new permit will be required.

      When construction is completed on your access and you are ready for a final inspection, a request must be made to the Access and Utility Coordinator - (970) 498-5709. 72 hours notice is required to schedule the inspection. Note: the final access inspection is frequently a sign-off item on building permits. Lack of a sign-off release for this item will hold up your Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A final access inspection should not be requested until all construction work is completed on your site.


    ACCESS MANAGEMENT


    Why it's Important
    By Ken Augustson

    It is not uncommon for up to 50% of all traffic accidents to be access related. Concern for the prevention of accidents should not overlook the importance that access management can plan. Access managed roads often experience a 50-65% reduction in accidents.

    What is access management? It is managing how, where, and when vehicles can turn onto or off a road. It involves providing access to land development while simultaneously preserving the flow of traffic on the surrounding road system in terms of safety, capacity, and speed.

    Access control regulations should address driveway, inter-section, and signal spacing, the denial of access requests where necessary, and geometric design including turn lanes. Access standards vary according to the function of the highway, allowing greater access and lower design on slower collectors and more restrictive access and higher standards on faster arterials with larger traffic volumes.

    The six general benefits that can be expected are:

    -Improved traffic flow -Improved fuel economy
    -Fewer accidents -Reduced vehicle emissions
    -Reduced delay -Increased capacity

    Decreasing the number of unexpected events and separating decision points reduces accidents. This is accomplished by increasing the spacing of those events when a decision(s) must be made by a driver, that is, whenever another vehicle is encountered. This is especially important at intersections when the other vehicle is traveling at a slower speed than the through traffic.

    In other words, an increase in the number of intersections or driveways with an increase in traffic volume at those inter-sections, may also increase the accident rate. Approximately 65% of driveway accidents are related to left turning movements. Good access management will maintain the roadway function, while separating the various roadway users.

    Some of the techniques used include:

    Medians, joint use access, channelization, deceleration lanes, acceleration lanes, consolidating access, drive-way spacing, corner clearance, frontage roads, visual cues for driveways, maintaining proper sight distance, continuous two-way left-turn lanes.

    Using these tools effectively can: limit the number of conflict points a driver experiences during travel; separate the conflict points that can not be eliminated; and remove slower, turning vehicles from the traffic lanes.

    The issues involved can be quite complex and controversial. Property owners and developers may not like to have restrictions placed on their access. However, agencies must weigh the public good against a private benefit.

    The Wheel, Winter 1997


    Access Permit Fees

    (Effective November 1, 1997)

    Residential (1-2 Homes) $50.00
    Agricultural (Field Access) $50.00
    Residential (More than 2 Homes)
    Without Road Improvements
    $100.00
    Commercial or Major Agricultural
    Without Road Improvements
    $100.00
    Major Access
    Any Access Requiring Road Improvements such as additional driving lanes, shoulders, or intersection changes.
    $300.00


    Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.