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Peterborough residents want bylaw changed after trucks don't fit in driveways

Urban planners question need to accommodate parking requests amid province's push to go green

Jessica Harvey

Jessica Harvey says she needs her pickup truck for work, but it's too long to fit in her driveway. (Jessica Harvey)

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Jessica Harvey and her husband own a hardware distribution company, which means they rely on their pickup truck for work. They assumed it would fit when they purchased a lot for their new home two years ago. After the house and driveway were built and they moved in last May, they realized their F150 was too long. 

"When I get groceries and I have my car in my driveway touching my garage, and I have my tailgate open, someone's going to get smucked in the mouth," said Harvey. "We don't want that." 

Truck

Jessica Harvey's is worried passersby are going to get 'smucked in the mouth' by the back of her pickup truck, which is too long for her driveway. (Jessica Harvey)

Their truck is 6.3 metres, but the driveway measures six metres long, which is the minimum length, according to Peterborough bylaws. That number is consistent with municipalities like Toronto and Mississauga. Cities like Kitchener and Whitby allow a minimum driveway length of 5.5 metres. 

Developers could build them longer, but more and more are sticking to the minimum. 

"What about the contractors, the landscapers?" asked Harvey. "You can't even run your company and park your pickup truck in your driveway. It's the small entrepreneurs that will get hit the hardest." 

When they bought the house, Harvey and her husband already knew the garage was going to be too small for their truck, but they didn't think to ask about the length of the driveway, which is something they're now warning prospective home buyers to do. 

'Protect the next buyer'

Harvey, along with a few neighbours, also want the city to make the mandatory minimum driveway length longer, suggesting 6.1 or 6.2 metres to accommodate their vehicles, in order to "protect the next buyer." 

Peterborough Coun. Lesley Parnell says that won't happen. 

"People really do need to do their homework, pay attention and ask these important questions about what your needs are in your new home," Parnell told CBC Toronto. "It's a very unfortunate situation in this subdivision, but there's nothing wrong with what the developer has done. I wish I could magically make the street wider, but I can't. It's already built. It's expensive." 

Less parking

Toronto urban planner Sean Hertel agrees that home buyers should stop taking parking for granted and adjust their expectations. 

Sean Hertel

Urban planner Sean Hertel says homeowners should adjust expectations when it comes to parking. (Grant Linton/CBC)

"As homeowners are driving less, municipalities and developers are creating less parking," he said. "Imagine if we accommodated every single parking request. We'd be overwhelmed by vehicles. At the same time we're trying to be more sustainable. Those things are at odds and I think we have to draw a line. There are tradeoffs."

But, Harvey told CBC Toronto her request is not unreasonable, especially since she doesn't live in an urban environment like Toronto. "I'm not looking to park a boat and 60 cars," she said. "I'm just looking to park my pickup truck so I can have my company." 

The city of Peterborough will be installing a sidewalk in front of Harvey's home in the fall, which means she may be ticketed for obstructing it with her truck. Since she needs the vehicle for work, she and her husband are considering selling their house. 

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