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updated: 2/21/2012 10:45 PM

Carpentersville still figuring out gravel driveways

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Carpentersville officials granted those with gravel driveways a two-year reprieve from replacing them while leaders figure out how to regulate them.

The move, which came Tuesday night, followed nearly an hour of impassioned discussion on whether the board should follow that course or ban the "mandate" all together.

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In 2008, the board outlawed gravel driveways due to concerns about safety, maintenance, snow removal and aesthetics. That board gave people until June 2012 to comply. Tuesday, trustees extended the deadline until June 2014.

"It's a good compromise for now, but ... those of us who have existing gravel driveways, we should be able to keep our gravel driveways," resident Karen DeBias said Tuesday.

In 2008, 268 homeowners had gravel driveways and to date, 78 of them have complied with the law and paved over them, said Community Development Director Dawn Wucki-Rossbach.

But two weeks ago, several homeowners approached the board and asked them to rethink the law because they could not afford to make the necessary improvements in this tight economy.

At the outset of Tuesday's meeting, some residents accused trustees of being insensitive to their finances.

"You guys are worried about some driveways in one of the worst economic times? Show a little compassion, give these people some more time," said resident Frank Stoneham, who said he already has a paved driveway.

Several trustees admitted that if they had do get the work done, they couldn't afford to do it.

Trustees Doug Marks and Brad McFeggan supported tossing out the requirement entirely.

"This whole discussion is a waste of time, and we shouldn't be wasting all our village resources and spend money looking into it," Marks said. "We should just do what's right and get rid of the requirement."

The rest of the board endorsed extending the deadline by two years and reviewing ways to regulate gravel driveways.

One of the fears was if the village board eliminated the requirement, it would open the door to residents and developers installing gravel driveways or using gravel to extend existing driveways.

"I'm really loathed to go backwards, folks," Village President Ed Ritter said. "Carpentersville's made a lot of strides over the years and even though Doug wants people to have the freedom to have whatever they want ... I'm sorry, I do want to regulate driveways."

Ritter also said that a handful of people waiting until the eleventh hour to complain about the looming deadline should not force the board to eliminate the requirement just like that.

Within the next few months, the community development department is expected to come up with guidelines for regulating gravel driveways and to standards for waivers and an appeals process for those who truly can't afford to get the work done.

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