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updated: 9/19/2013 9:31 AM

Carpentersville working to resolve driveway issue

Business owner can treat it like a patio, Carpentersville says

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  • Business owner Tom Roeser is butting heads with Carpentersville officials over this brick driveway he installed at 3 N. Washington St.

      Business owner Tom Roeser is butting heads with Carpentersville officials over this brick driveway he installed at 3 N. Washington St.
    Lenore Adkins | Staff Photographer


Business owner Tom Roeser continues to feud with the village of Carpentersville over the brick driveway he installed that violates village code.

While brick pavers are a no-no for driveways, they are allowed for patio construction, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said. So if Roeser treats the driveway like a patio, it will comply with village code, Rooney said.

"I'm not going to make a mountain out of a molehill," Rooney said. "If it's not looking like a driveway and it's not acting like a driveway, it's time to move on."

But Roeser, owner of Otto Engineering, the village's largest employer, doesn't want a patio; he wants a driveway. And he says he intends to use that property as a driveway instead of playing a game of semantics with the village.

"These guys are trying to make a problem go away that they created by calling a duck a swan," Roeser said. "This is not a small issue, and it's not about a driveway. It's about management that is so bad and inconsistent, they make me laugh."

The driveway lies between Sign-A-Rama and the Order of Odd Fellows Lodge. Roeser owns the building that houses Sign-A-Rama. He says he built the grass-friendly driveway to blend in with the nearby residential area. The village rejected his original application for a brick driveway, and the community development department fined his contractor $150 for building it without a permit.

Roeser caused a stir last month when he complained to the village board about the miscommunication and misinformation he said he received from the community development department on several matters, including the controversial driveway at 3 N. Washington St. He told the board to get more involved in day-to-day operations but stopped short of asking trustees to fire Community Development Director Jim Hock.

In response to complaints from Roeser and others, Rooney ordered Hock and several members from that department to attend in-house educational seminars on customer service. Villagewide training on communication and customer service will take place later this month, Rooney said.

Within the next six to 12 months, trustees could also consider changing the code when they address gravel driveways in the village, Rooney said. That, he added, has nothing to do with Roeser's complaint.

"It was something that was under consideration for the last year," Rooney said. "We don't write laws for one person."

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