ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford leaders want every driveway and parking lot to be paved by 2023, saying not only are gravel lots an eyesore, but they contribute to storm water runoff.

“It would be really nice, and make our city look a heck of a lot nicer, if everyone would pave their driveways,” said Planning and Zoning Manager, Scott Capovilla.

The deadline for all Rockford homeowners to pave their driveways and parking lots could soon be extended, following a vote by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday.

“If I was to guess, I’d say there’s probably still a few hundred out there. And sometimes you can look down the neighborhood and you can see four, five, six a block,” Capovilla said.

The amended ordinance would give residents until November 1st, 2023.

“We’d like everything to look good, but we have a problem. And there’s a lot of run-off, erosion. You get the heavy storms, and it just washes things out. It goes right into our storm drain, it’s damaging our storm water system,” Capovilla continued.

He says city leaders originally came up with the idea in 2016, and gave residents until November 1st, 2019, to comply.

“When that came, we had put some notices out on social media, and a lot of people said ‘wait, a second, we didn’t even know about this,'” he said.

Some of those residents who felt blindsided by the requirement worried about coming up with the cash to pave their driveways.

Charles Milgram, Jr. said, “Great. Where do I come up with a couple grand?”

After neighbors voiced their concerns, City Council voted to change the deadline to November 2021.

Now, because of the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, city leaders are considering pushing it back again.

“In the meantime, as well, they’re going to be developing a financial program to help out with some of the people who are financially disadvantaged and probably can’t afford this as well,” Capovilla said.

The proposed extension now moves to the City’s Codes and Regulations Committee. If it passes there, it will head to the full City Council for final approval.