Alley Improvement Program
50/50 SPECIAL SERVICE AREA ALLEY REPAVING PROGRAM
Summary: The Village is implementing a program where residents can request to have their alleys improved through a Special Service Area. The Special Service Area will be established for each alley paving project to levy special taxes to pay for the resident portion of the project. The improvements typically consist of the installation of a concrete alley and storm sewers to provide drainage for the alley pavement, as well as new concrete garage aprons from the new pavement to the existing garages. A Green Alley with permeable pavers option will also be offered.
The Village will cover the cost of the initial engineering and estimates once a petition is received for a project. The cost of the project itself will be split 50/50 between the Village and the residents. The residents pay for their portion of the project through a Special Service Area (SSA).
How do I get the process started if my neighbors and I are interested in having our alley improved as part of this program?
The first step is to gather signatures on an Alley Paving Petition from as many neighbors as possible and then submit this to the Village. The Alley Paving Petition form is available at the Village Hall or can be downloaded from the Village’s website: www.elmwoodpark.org. Once the Village receives a petition with signatures representing at least 75% of the property owners adjacent to an alley, they will have the engineer gather some basic information so that a preliminary estimate of costs for the construction of the alley can be prepared.
If we sign an Alley Paving Petition are we committed to paying for the costs of the alley?
No. The Alley Paving Petition merely represents that you are interested in receiving more information regarding the improvement of your alley. Once the engineer prepares the preliminary estimate of costs, the Village will schedule a public meeting with the residents adjacent to the alley and the Village Engineer will make a presentation describing the scope of work and providing an estimated cost per foot for properties adjacent to the alley.
How does the Village determine whether the residents want to proceed with the project after the public meeting?
After the public meeting is held, the Village will send each of the property owners a letter asking whether they wish to proceed with the project. Each property owner will receive one vote. Once the ballots are received the Village will total all Yes and No votes. If the total “Yes” votes are at least 75% of the properties on the block, the project will move forward and the Village will begin to establish the SSA.
What is the process to establish the SSA?
The establishment of an SSA is a multi-step process that includes the adoption of two ordinances, a public hearing and legal notices provided by mail and newspaper publication. The establishment of an SSA takes approximately 130 to 150 days.
How is the amount of costs to be borne by each property determined?
The annual cost borne by each property is calculated by Cook County using the equalized value of the property and the tax rate for the SSA based on the associated costs and as determined by the Village. The amount is included on the real estate tax bill for the property. Total costs will be spread over a ten-year period.
How do I make payment for the improvement?
Property owners will make their payment on their property tax bill through the SSA.
What are the approximate costs for the alley?
Costs will vary depending on a number of factors including existing drainage conditions and pavement selection. The estimates of cost for a typical concrete alley with drainage improvements have ranged from $300 per front foot to $500 per front foot. Again, this varies based on the amount of storm sewer that is required to provide drainage for the alley. Green infrastructure alleys using porous pavers are also an option for most alleys and would cost approximately $500 per front foot.
What happens if I do not have a garage or if I have a front driveway that exits out onto the street not providing me alley access? Do I still have a vote and would I still be included in the Special Service Area?
The answer is Yes, to both questions.
How long does the construction of the alley improvements take?
Actual construction will normally take between six to eight weeks depending on the scope.
How will my garbage be picked up while the alley is closed?
Garbage will be picked up from the street while the alley is closed. Residents will be notified by letter when they should place their garbage by the street.
What is the typical construction procedure for the alley improvements?
The project will typically include the following 5 stages of construction.
First stage – For alleys in which a storm sewer is required to achieve proper drainage, the contractor will first install the storm sewers. Residents may not have access to the alley during the day while the contractor is working to install the sewer, but should be able to access their properties overnight.
Second stage – Contractor excavates for the proposed alley pavement, frames and pours the alley pavement. Residents will not have access to the alley once excavation has begun. The contractor will distribute a notice to all affected properties so that residents can remove their vehicles so that they are not “trapped” in the garage. At this time, garbage pick-up would take place curbside in the front of your home for the duration of the project.
Third stage – Once the alley pavement has been poured, the concrete must be allowed to cure and gain strength for approximately 7 days prior to putting any construction machinery on the pavement.
Fourth stage – The contractor will begin work on the replacement of concrete garage aprons and sidewalks. Once the garage aprons have been poured, the concrete must be allowed to cure and gain strength for approximately 3 days prior to allowing vehicles to travel on them. Once the garage aprons have achieved sufficient strength, the alley pavement and garage aprons will be opened to traffic and residents will have access to their garages.
Fifth stage – The contractor will restore the edges of the alley that have been disturbed by construction.