A written policy for closing alleys goes to the Joliet City Council for approval on Tuesday.
The policy has been created amid a controversy over the city's reopening of an alley in the 1100 block of Center Street after residents had successfully petitioned for it to be closed eight years ago.
The written policy, which also covers re-opening closed alleys, follows the previous practice, although it adds a step of getting final approval from the Joliet City Council Public Service Committee.
Public Works Director James Trizna said staff added committee approval because the same process is used for other street-related changes made at residents' request.
"We do the same thing with cul-de-sacs. We want to be consistent," Trizna said.
The city at times closes off streets and creates cul-de-sacs at residents request. It also adds stop signs when merited after review by the council's Public Service Committee.
Otherwise, Trizna said, the written policy generally follows the past procedure for closing alleys.
The proposed policy will go to the Public Service Committee for review on Monday.
The four-step process starts with an initial request reviewed by the Public Works Department. If the alley is considered suitable for closing, a petition is required to show a majority of affected residents support closure. If staff determines there is sufficient support, residents are surveyed to confirm support before taking the matter to the Public Service Committee for review.
Closing alleys that remain public property is different than vacating alleys, which go the to Plan Commission and then City Council for approval.
"Typically, if you are truly vacating an alley, it means the city is giving up its rights and it's going to a private party," said Kendall Jackson, director of community and economic development.
The Plan Commission on Thursday approved vacating two alleys.
One at 360-368 E. Washington Street would be taken over by MorningStar Mission. A small portion of an alley at 418 Madeline St. would be acquired by a private resident.