Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Faster Driveway Permit Process

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Faster Driveway Permit Process 

New Deposit Required in July

Driveway permits at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough just got faster. A computer application on an ipad, in the field, replaced a paper map and stack of forms. For most applications, a permit can be issued within a few days after a final inspection. 

“My prep work is six to eight times faster,” said Scott Beatty, a right-of-way inspector.

Since May, the Borough has inspected 579 driveways. On a well-planned day with driveways in close proximity, one employee managed to inspect 100 driveways. On the average day where driveways are more geographically spread out, an employee can usually inspect about 40 driveways.

The Borough has two seasonal right-of-way inspectors who work from May 1 to October 31 each year. The two also inspect utilities, road construction, and right-of-way complaints. This year’s budget includes a new full time right-of-way inspector so the Borough can be responsive to applications made during the winter months.

“As the Borough maintains the same level of service it will have to either spend more or innovate. This is one way to innovate. It’s about being as efficient as possible with the taxpayer’s dollar,” Beatty said.

Efficiency and speed on permits matters in the ever-growing Mat-Su Borough. In 2017, the Mat-Su Borough built half of all new homes in Alaska, according to Neal Fried, Economist, at the Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development.

There’s a backlog of incomplete driveway inspections and permits. There are 5,700 driveway permits, some dating back to 2001, that are awaiting final inspection, mostly because the applicants have not notified the Borough that they have finished. Some property owners may not know that when a private driveway accesses a public road, driveway permits are required.

In the Mat-Su Borough, 11,000 homes, businesses, and parcels do have driveway permits. Driveway permits invite pre-planning, which helps ensure safe roadways and prevents future land use conflicts.

Some considerations for a right-of-way inspector include:

  • Is the driveway constructed of proper materials and built in such a way that will protect the integrity of the road it accesses?
  • Will the driveway access a paved road? If so, will the driveway be paved? Or will it need a paved apron?
  • Is the proper size of culvert installed so the applicant’s driveway doesn’t push water onto the road or onto a neighbor’s land?  
  • Is there enough sight distance for approaching drivers so no one is hurt backing out?
  • Can an emergency responder locate your address and get a fire engine up your driveway?

“Some lenders check for an approved driveway permit,” said Michelle Olsen, Permitting Technician in the Planning Dept. “So it’s best to avoid that last-minute scramble of approval while you’re selling your house.”

On July 1, the Borough begins a new program to increase the rate of finalized permits. A $150 refundable deposit is required with the $50 driveway permit. The $150 is returned upon final approval. The process is more convenient for the applicant who can apply online beginning July 16, on the Borough’s e-commerce webpage.

For more information contact Michelle Olsen, Permitting Technician, at (907) 861-7871 or Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.