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updated: 2/7/2012 10:26 PM

Carpentersville to take closer look at gravel driveway issue

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Several Carpentersville trustees are rethinking a law that requires homeowners to pave over their gravel driveways.

Tuesday night, Village President Ed Ritter directed staff to come up with a proposal to help trustees better address the issue.

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As it stands, 184 homeowners and the owners of 50 non-residental properties have until June to make the necessary driveway upgrades. The board of trustees outlawed gravel driveways in 2008 due to problems with maintenance, snow removal and aesthetics that left much to be desired.

But in this economy, some residents say they can't afford to make the improvements and would be forced to walk away from their homes if the law doesn't change.

Resident Karen DeBias, a single mother, who also spent 10 years caring for her ill father, is self-employed and said there's no way she can scrape together the $5,500 it would cost to repave her gravel driveway.

"When did it become more important to have your house look good in the neighborhood at the expense of putting food on your table, making your mortgage payment, paying your utilities and providing for your family?" DeBias asked the board.

After hearing from a pair of concerned residents, trustees Brad McFeggan, Pat Schultz and Doug Marks said the law never should have existed in the first place.

According to one resident's estimate, paving over a gravel driveway would cost at least $13,000.

"Should we be forcing residents to spend this type of money ... because the gravel's rolling down into the street when we could politely ask them to move it?," McFeggan said.

Ritter said trustees need to protect the residents who could see lower property values as a result of people who don't maintain their gravel driveways.

He prefers that homeowners ask the planning and zoning commission for extensions until they can pay for the work. As a final point, he added that the board should stick with the decision it already made to ban gravel driveways.

"Every time somebody doesn't like a requirement we drop it?," Ritter said. "That's a hard part for me is to start saying we're going backwards."

Teeter favored extending the law's summer deadline by at least two years and have codes in place that make it a crime to leave gravel driveways unkempt.

Meanwhile, trustees Don Burroway and Paul Humpfer said they needed more information before they could form an opinion

"I want to see all sides of it," Humpfer said.

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