Ron Knoll, Real Estate Pro in Chicago, IL

Space between the sidewalk and the street?

Asked by Ron Knoll, Chicago, IL Mon Jun 2, 2008

Does the city own this property? If someone wanted to improve this area, how would you go about it? I have clients interested in a single family in Bucktown that has cement for this portion between the sidewalk and street. Does this involve the alderman/city/etc? Any advice would be helpful:)

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John Brickho…, , Chicago, IL
Tue Jun 3, 2008
Elvis you are right and Lou is wrong. They do turn a blind eye to use of parkway as long as you don't go and do something really tacky with it. Heck it is actually illegal for you to cut down a tree on your parkway even if you wanted to plant a new one.
1 vote
Loganguy, , Logan Square, Chicago, IL
Fri Jun 6, 2008
I know all about this one from working with the Streets/Sanitation dept and the CPD. There are guidelines on improvement but essentially, don't have anything that will obstruct views, hinder people entering/exiting their cars parked by the curb, or that will interfere with public saftey/city department access.

A crazy neighbor was fined for her 'garden' a few years back...but when I saw the violation, it was for not mowing. cuz she had a weedpatch! This is the greenest mayor in the history of civilization. Don't worry about putting in a short garden (Don't quote me, but I think plants have to be under 24 inches.
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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Tue Jun 3, 2008
I'm not sure that Lou is correct. It IS called the parkway, but the city owns it. While many home/business owners have "improved" their parkway by planting it with flowers, etc... I don't believe that the city of Chicago, in their great wisdom, allows it, rather they tend to turn a blind-eye, because they just don't have the personnel to patrol the parkways.

If, as Lou mentions, the city needs to dig beneath the parkway, anything you have done there (plants, planters, etc) could be removed or destroyed at their whim.

A call to your local Alderman should answer the question.
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Ken Dooley, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Jun 3, 2008

The easiest way to get the answer to your question is to contact the Aldermans office to se what can be done. If you don't go that route, any improvements may ultimately be removed due to lack of approval.

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Lou, Home Seller, 60538
Mon Jun 2, 2008
This is called the parkway. While it is owned by the City of Chicago you can improve it (e.g. I removed the grass and put wood chips). Since you are responsible for mowing the grass (and would get a weed lien if you do not do so regularly), you have certain rights over it - I think you can landscape it any way you want. You cannot build anything permanent on it. The utility companies and the City can dig it up any time they need (e.g. to reach a pipe or in my case the water meter). If you landscape it tastefully and do not plant large plants that block driver's view you should be OK.
0 votes
Mwass, , Chicago, IL
Mon Jun 2, 2008
look at the deed/legal description and survey to make a determination of who owns what. The legal describes it in words. They survey, as a two dimensional graphic rendering. Typically in Chicago, the property owner owns all the way to the sidewalk and not the parkway between the sidewalk and street.

That said, the landowner is typically responsible to maintain the parkway and sidewalk, as far as snow removal and weed maintenance go.

moreover, the city and utility companies tend to run service below the parkway. this would create a likely problem for your clients down the road if/when the gas company wants to tear it up to replace the gas lines....
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Ida Mccarthy, , 60148
Mon Jun 2, 2008
It is city property and you would have to contact them. Hope this helps,

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