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Home : Departments : Community Development : Frequently Asked Questions

Community Development FAQ


Building Division
Q: When is a building permit required?
A: A building permit is required for any commercial and residential construction projects that entail an addition or remodeling of the existing conditions. Also fences, roofs, decks, porches, patios garages and sheds all require a building permit. If in doubt please contact the Building Department at 847-719-7484.

You will not need a permit if you are making only cosmetic changes to your home. But if you are doing any electrical or plumbing work, a permit is required.

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Q: How do I obtain a building permit?
A: A permit can be obtained by visiting the Village Hall at 850 Waukegan Road or online applications are available.

General permit submission information is available here.

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Q: How much does a building permit cost?
A: The cost of the permit is generally based on the cost of the job; however there are other costs that may be included depending on the type of project which is planned.

Click here for a list of fees.

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Q: How do I check on the status of a building permit application that I have submitted?
A: When you submit your building permit, you may be given an approximate plan review time. This review time will vary depending on the size of your project, the time of year, review of the drainage and grading plans by the Village Engineering Department as well as how many other permit applications are in line ahead of yours. Once plan review has begun on your permit application, the homeowner and contractor will be contacted if the plan reviewer has any questions or problems, or any additional information is needed. Once your plans and permits have been approved, the homeowner and/or contractor will be notified that they are ready to be picked up, and of the total permit cost due. Plans and permit fees may be paid at the Village Hall. You may call the Building Department and ask what the status of your permit review is, but please keep in mind the approximate plan review time you were told when you submitted your plans was only an estimate on the departments work load at the time and unforeseen projects throughout the Village of Deerfield may have taken priority.


Please keep in mind that the homeowner and the contractor will be called if there are questions or problems and will be called when the plans and permit are ready for pick up.

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Q: When do I need inspections and who do I call?
A: Chances are if you have a permit you will need something inspected, the permit application has a list of when inspections should be call for and prior to certain stages of the project items need to be checked for code compliance. To schedule an inspection with a building inspector or plumbing inspector, call the Building Department at (847) 719-7484. Engineering and site development inspections and inspections that take place within the right-of-way are scheduled through the Engineering Department at (847) 719-2490. Fire Department inspections are scheduled through the appropriate fire protection district.

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Q: What hours is construction is allowed?
A: There are hours during which construction may occur are: Monday through Friday – 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday – 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No construction is allowed to take place on Sundays or on the following holidays: New Year’s Day (Jan. 1), the day on which Memorial Day is observed, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (December 25).

If construction is taking place outside the permitted times, call the Deerfield Police non-emergency phone number at (847) 945-8636.

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Q: How can I obtain a copy of my plat of survey?
A: The Community Development Department keeps files on every address in Deerfield. We have plats of survey for some properties, but not all of them. You may call the Community Development Department at (847) 719-7484 and ask a staff member to look in your home’s file. If we have a plat of survey on file, the homeowner may have a copy at no charge. We can only release copies of plats of survey to a homeowner – not to a real estate agent, potential buyer, contractor or anyone else.

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Q: How do I determine zoning on a property?
A: To find out the zoning district in which your property is located, go to the Zoning Map and locate your property on the color coded map.

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Q: How do I determine the required setbacks from the property line for a certain property?
A: You must determine the zoning district for your property. To find out the zoning district in which your property is located, go to the Zoning Map and locate your property on the color coded map. You should call the Community Development Department at (847) 719-7484 and ask a staff member for the setbacks on a property as setbacks and building lines vary by zoning district.

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Q: How can I determine if I can build a new house or add on to my existing house?
A: Due to the unique nature of the many and varied zoning restrictions applicable in all the listed Zoning Districts, the question as to whether an addition or expansion of an existing home or development of any existing property is possible should be discussed with Community Development staff before entering into any contractual commitment.

Click here for additional information.

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Q: How do I obtain plans for my house?
A: The Community Development Department keeps files on every address in Deerfield. We may have plans for some houses, but not all of them. You may call the Community Development Department at (847) 719-7484 and ask a staff member to look in your home’s file. If we have paper house plans on file, the homeowner may request a copy at their expense. The Village does not have a large format copier and the plans will have to be sent out for copying at the homeowner’s expense. A note on floor plans: for security reasons we can only release copies of floor plans to a homeowner – not to a real estate agent, potential buyer, contractor or anyone else.

Sometimes we have house plans on microfiche. At this time, we are not able to make copies of plans on microfiche. Most companies no longer make copies from microfiche because the technology is outdated, and for the companies that still make these copies they are often expensive and the quality is very poor.

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Q: What if there is construction happening in my neighborhood and I have questions and concerns?
A: Construction can bring about many questions and concerns. Click here to read about some common concerns.

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Q: What if my neighbor is doing construction, and I don’t think they have a permit?
A: When a building permit is issued, the contractor and the homeowner are informed they need to display the building permit in the home’s front window, on the construction fencing, or someplace visible from the street. The building permit is a yellow card that states “Building Permit” and contains the address, permit number and date of issue. The permit is good for one year from the date of issue. If you believe someone is working without a permit, you can call the Building Department at (847) 719-7484 to report it and an inspector look into the situation. Please keep in mind that no permit is needed for cosmetic work.

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Q: What if I need a dumpster?
A: Dumpsters do not require a special permit. Dumpsters must be placed on private property, preferably in the driveway. Dumpsters may not be placed in the street or in the right-of-way.

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Q: What is the right-of-way?
A: The right-of-way is Village owned area that is also known as the parkway. Right-of-way extends 15 feet from the curb line on either side of the street. In order to dig in the right-of-way a deposit must be paid to the Village. The deposit ensures that the right-of-way will be restored.

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Q: How do I find out if my property is in a flood plain or flood zone?
A: To find out if your property is located in a flood plain or flood zone go to http://www.fema.gov/hazard/map/flood.shtm, click “find a flood map online.” Go to “product search by address,” select “public flood map,” type in your address, and click “product search.” Click “view” to view the flood map of your area. You can also contact the Village’s Engineering Department with flood plain questions.

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Q: What is the role of the Board of Zoning Appeals?
A: The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) holds public hearings on requests for variations and modifications to the Zoning Ordinance, which include variations from minimum lot requirements; bulk regulations; off-street parking and loading requirements; nonconformities; and modifications for fences and signs. The BZA has certain criteria that need to be met before a variation or modification can be granted. The BZA is a seven member Commission which meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall. The Board of Trustees considers the BZA’s recommendation and makes a final decision. The staff liaison for the BZA is Clint Case, Code Enforcement Supervisor, who can be reached at (847) 719-7472.

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Q: What are the current public hearing fees?
A: The public hearing fee is $175 plus the cost of publishing the legal notice in the newspaper and any county recording fees for ordinances and other documents.

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Q: Where can residential open house and for sale signs be placed and when are they allowed?
A: Open house signs and Real Estate signs are permitted, however the open house signs are only allowed on Wednesdays between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays between the hours of 12 noon to 6 p.m.

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Q: Where can political signs be placed and when are they allowed?
A: Political signs are only allowed to be placed on private property. Time limits for political signs are requested to be no more than (30) days prior to an election and removed (7) days following an election.

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Planning Division
Q: What is the role of the Community Development Department?
A: The Community Development Department is responsible for all aspects of planning, building, and zoning. The Department administers and enforces the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, and Building Codes. The Department is responsible for providing staff assistance to a number of commissions. The Department provides analysis and technical assistance of all items that come before the Plan Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Village Center Development Commission, the Appearance Review Commission, the Electrical Commission, the Board of Building Appeals, and various task forces, as well as coordinates the activities of these commissions. Building plan review, permit approval, inspectional services, zoning compliance approvals for new businesses, and maintaining records of approved plans are also provided by the Department.

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Q: What is a Comprehensive Plan?
A: The Comprehensive Plan is Deerfield's road map for the future. It is an official public document that provides a long-range guide for land use, transportation, public facilities and natural resources. It serves as a guide for elected and appointed Village officials by providing a framework that can be used to evaluate development proposals and the document will direct the Village's growth in the context of a 20 to 25 year planning horizon. The Comprehensive Plan allows residents and local decision-makers to identify and respond to changing community needs and desires in a proactive way rather than a reactive way. The current Comprehensive Plan was revised over an 18 month period and was approved in October 2004 by the Board of Trustees. The Comprehensive Plan is available by clicking here.

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Q: What is a Special Use?
A: A Special Use is a use which is generally compatible with the other land uses permitted in a zoning district but which, because of its unique characteristics or potential impacts on the surrounding neighborhood and the Village as a whole, requires individual consideration of its location, design, configuration, and/or operation at the particular location proposed. A Special Use can only be approved subject to the use meeting all of the standards and conditions imposed upon it by the Zoning Ordinance. See section 13.11 Special Uses, of Article 13 in the Zoning Ordinance, which provides the standards for approval of a Special Use and the procedures for Special Use approval. Special Uses require a public hearing with the Plan Commission and must have final approval from the Board of Trustees.

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Q: What do I do if I want to seek a Special Use at a specific location in the Village?
A: The specifics of a proposed Special Use need to be discussed with Village staff. If you want to seek a Special Use please contact Jeff Ryckaert Principal Planner at (847) 719-7482, or Kathy LeVeque Associate Planner at (847) 719-7480 to discuss the proposed Special Use process. Click here for information about the procedures for approval of a Special Use.

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Q: How do I verify if my proposed use is a Permitted Use or a Special Use in the C-1 and C-2 commercial zoning districts?
A: See Article 5, Commercial Districts, of the Zoning Ordinance for a list of Permitted and Special Uses in the C-1 and C-2 commercial zoning districts. Once you have reviewed the list, please contact Planning Division staff to proceed with approval of your use.

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Q: What is a Planned Unit Development (PUD)?
A: A Planned Unit Development (PUD) is an area of minimum size, as specified by the Zoning Ordinance, to be planned, developed, operated and maintained as a single entity under unified ownership or control, containing one or more principal buildings to accommodate one or more Permitted Uses or Special Uses as allowed by the underlying zoning district provisions.

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Q: What is a TIF District?
A: Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a method for funding redevelopment activities or to renovate planning areas. The technique uses the increase in property tax revenue produced by a redevelopment project to finance the necessary public investment in that project area. The TIF allows a municipality to capture the increase in various local property taxes. It works in the following way: when a redevelopment plan is adopted, the existing total value of all taxable property in the project area is frozen at the current assessment. Once this baseline is established, all future property tax revenues above the base generated by the redevelopment (which normally would be distributed to all taxing bodies having jurisdiction in the area) are allocated to the TIF redevelopment fund. Local taxing bodies (school districts, park district, fire protection district, etc.) continue to receive revenues generated from the current assessed valuation at the time the district is formed. Increases generated beyond this fixed amount (the increment) are paid to the TIF District. It is important to note that the tax base and not the tax revenue is frozen during the tax increment period. As redevelopment proceeds in the TIF District, property owners pay more in taxes in correlation to the rise in their property values each year. But instead of distributing the additional property tax among the various local taxing bodies as usually done, the incremental growth in property taxes is reserved for improvements and expenses in the TIF District only. Deerfield's Village Center TIF has been a very useful tool to help revitalize the Village Center but it has now expired.  The Lake Cook Road TIF expired in 2005.

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Q: What are the rules and zoning regulations for a home based business?
A: Home occupations are businesses or occupations which are compatible with the character of the residential districts of the Village. Section 2.04-A, of Article 2 of the Deerfield Zoning Ordinance addresses the rules and regulations for running a home based business.

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Q: How do I register a business?
A: To register a business in Deerfield you will need to fill out a Business Registration Form. There is no cost to register a business. The completed business registration form must be submitted to the Police Department as they keep the database. Note: Before filling out a business registration form, please check with the Community Development Department to see if the zoning is appropriate for the proposed business location.

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Q: What are the guidelines for the community banner poles?
A: You will need to contact Jean Spagnoli, Planner, at (847) 719-7483, to have a banner placed on the community banner pole. The banner pole guidelines are available here. The Village has two community banner poles, one located at the northwest corner of Deerfield Road and Robert York Avenue, and one at the northeast corner of Deerfield Road and Waukegan Road.

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Q: How do I determine the required setbacks from the property line for a property?
A: You must determine the zoning district for your property. To find out the zoning district in which your property is located, go to the Village's Zoning Map and locate your property on the color coded map. You should call the Community Development Department at (847) 719-7484 and ask a staff member for the setbacks on a property as setbacks and building lines vary by zoning district.

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Q: What is the role of the Plan Commission?
A: The Plan Commission holds public hearings for Special Uses, Planned Unit Developments, Text Amendments, Subdivisions, Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, and other land use issues. The Plan Commission is a seven member Commission which meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall. The Plan Commission is a recommending body to the Board of Trustees. When considering a request, the Plan Commission considers its standards, the Comprehensive Plan, the petitioner’s proposal, public input, and makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board considers the Plan Commission’s recommendation and makes a final decision. The staff liaisons to the Plan Commission are Jeff Ryckaert, Principal Planner, who can be reached at (847) 719-7482; and Kathy LeVeque, Associate Planner, who can be reached at (847) 719-7480.

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Q: What is the role of the Appearance Review Commission?
A: The Appearance Review Commission (ARC) has jurisdiction within the Village Center boundaries and in the C-2 Outlying Commercial District. The ARC is a seven member Commission which meets the 4th Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall. Any exterior changes which would require a building permit or a deviation from an approved PUD need a certificate of approval issued by the ARC, including changes to building façades, sites, landscaping, and signs. The staff liaison to the ARC is Jean Spagnoli, Planner, who can be reached at (847) 719-7483.

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Q: What are the current public hearing fees?
A: The public hearing fee is $175 plus the cost of publishing the legal notice in the newspaper and any county recording fees for ordinances and other documents.

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Q: How do I find out if my property is in a flood plain or flood zone?
A: To find out if your property is located in a flood plain or flood zone go to http://www.fema.gov/hazard/map/flood.shtm, click “find a flood map online.” Go to “product search by address,” select “public flood map,” type in your address, and click “product search.” Click “view” to view the flood map of your area. You can also contact the Village’s Engineering Department with flood plain questions.

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