ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Any newly constructed or rehabbed driveway in Rockford has been required to be paved with approved material, like asphalt or concrete, since 1973.

That means that gravel driveways are not in compliance, but the rules have not been enforced. That could soon change.

This is actually something that has been discussed by city council since 2016. It affects hundreds of driveways and parking lots in Rockford, but aldermen still have to consider two key things: When will the requirement be enforced, and the cost for residents.

“We believe we have more gravel driveways today than we did back in 1973,” said Karl Franzen, director of community and economic development for the City of Rockford.

The compliance date for updating gravel driveways in Rockford has been pushed back multiple times, being talked about since 2016.

“The thought process there was that over time these would go away, because driveways deteriorate, and so as they need to get replaced, they will be replaced in compliance with our ordinance,” Franzen said. “Well, that didn’t happen.”

Eighth Ward Alderwoman Karen Hoffman called for change to the ordinance on behalf of Tuffy Quinonez, who was concerned about the impact it would have on the 11th Ward. He proposed changes that would make it less difficult.

“He agreed to them and he was going to present this resolution himself,” Hoffman said. “Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity.”

Quinonez was worried about financial burdens. However, there are concerns that some may be intentionally non-compliant.

“That’s a huge concern of mine, is that a good portion of the driveways are rental properties that the landlords are not updating,” said 9th Ward Alderman Bill Rose. “They intentionally keep their property values down, because that way they pay less taxes on the property.”

The committee ultimately approved an amendment to change the ordinance compliance date to Nov. 1, 2024.

Gravel driveways installed prior to 1973 would be exempted.

“While it’s primarily an aesthetic, we’re also concerned about leaking oil and that type of stuff going directly into the soil, so there are other considerations as well,” Franzen said. “That investment in your property, you know, we want people’s property to appreciate in value so that when they do sell it, they make a profit.”

The Zoning Board of Appeals will look over the proposed amendment at their next meeting. It will then head back to committee to be approved.