Community Development Department - FAQs

Why are there so many property foreclosures and what is the Village’s response to them?  Many Skokie residents have been affected by foreclosures.  Since 2007, when the Village started tracking foreclosures, 2,595 properties have gone into the foreclosure process. Most of these properties have been residential. The Village tracks these foreclosures and inspects them to assure that they do not fall bellow acceptable community standards.  Each month the Property Standards Division performs an exterior inspection of each property.  Inspections are made to assure that the properties are still well maintained and secure if not inhabited.  The Village works with bank maintenance companies to assure that issues are addressed.  Fire, Police and the Public Works Departments also are informed about the properties to perform safety inspections.  The Public Works Department shuts off water to vacant foreclosed properties to assure that water damage does not occur during winter months.  The Human Services Division provides counseling to property owners to help prevent the completion of the foreclosure process when possible.  Recently there have been signs that the number of foreclosures is declining and that many of the foreclosed properties are being resold.

What is Section 8 housing and is it increasing in Skokie? Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 first authorized the payment of federal money for rental housing assistance to private landlords.  Most such payments are administered through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are officially termed Housing Choice vouchers.  Low-income people who receive such vouchers have the right to relocate and use the voucher anywhere in the United States where a landlord agrees to accept the voucher.  Landlords do not have to accept Section 8 tenants, but neither can local governments prevent recipients from using the vouchers in their communities.  The location and number of Housing Choice vouchers in the Village of Skokie has often been brought up as an issue of concern by residents.  Apartment units being inhabited by such voucher recipients are primarily located in the multiple family zoning districts, although a voucher could be used to rent a single family home.  Since 2006 the number of vouchers used in the Village has actually declined every year from a high of 457 units to 429 units in 2011.  Approximately 46 % of the units, or 195 in 2011, were occupied by elderly persons.  The Housing Choice vouchers assist many people with lower paying jobs to afford safe and clean housing in the Village.  Although there is a perception that Housing Choice voucher users may contribute to crime in the community, there is no evidence that there is a correlation between crime and the voucher holders.

What is the zoning of my property?  Building and Zoning staff can be contacted for clarification or specific zoning questions at 847/933-8223.  Zoning Maps can be found by clicking here or purchased from the Planning Division for $12. The Zoning Chapter of the Skokie Village Code describes regulations for the entire Village and for each specific zoning district.  These regulations include, but are not limited to permitted land usage, building density, building height, parking regulations and landscaping requirements.

What should I do if I notice graffiti on my property or elsewhere in the Village? Contact the Police Department at 847/982-5900.  A police report will be filed and forwarded to the Property Standards Division for follow-up.  The Graffiti Ordinance requires removal by the property owner within ten days.

What building size restrictions exist for my property? The size of the building or addition depends on the zoning district in which it is located. Each zoning district restricts the size of a building by establishing separate setbacks and lot coverage (footprint of building and accessory structures) requirements. In single-family and two-family residential districts (R-1, R-2, & R-3) buildings must also comply with impermeable surface and Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.) requirements. In residential districts only a limited amount of the lot may be covered with materials that do not allow water to be absorbed by the ground (buildings, patios, sidewalks, etc.). The impermeable surface requirement varies by zoning district. The F.A.R. requirement states that the maximum floor area of an existing or proposed building cannot exceed 60% of the lot area. The F.A.R. is a ratio of the area of a building to the are of a lot. As the regulations effecting building size very by zoning district and some restrictions such as impermeable surface and F.A.R. require extensive calculations it is best to contact Building and Zoning Division of the Community Development Department at 847/933-8223 before planning your project.

Does the Village issue licenses for home occupations? The Village does not issue licenses for businesses operated from one's home, although we do regulate the type of business that can be operated from a home. If your bank insists on a license prior to establishing an account, a letter from the Village License Officer stating that the Village of Skokie does not issue business licenses for home occupations is available at the Building and Zoning Division counter.

Do I need a permit to install a new roof on my home?  A replacement roof does not require a permit. This rule applies to "tear-offs" as well as installing new roofing material. Permits are required if the size or structure of the roof is altered. Always verify that the State of Illinois has licensed your roofing contractor.

Do I need a permit to install a fence on my property?  Yes. A fence permit is only required when a fence is installed or replaced. When applying for a fence permit the following items are needed: a signed copy of the Application for Accessory Structure Permit, a recent plat of survey and two copies of the site plan showing the proposed fence location, length and height. It typically takes one to three working days to issue a fence permit once an application is received. The fence permit fee is $50 and covers the permit review and all inspections.

How long does it take to get a Zoning Variance or Special Use Permit? Generally Zoning Variances take about 35 - 40 days and Special Use Permits take about 90 days, depending on the number of cases awaiting a hearing.

What parts of Skokie are in a flood plain?  All of Skokie is designated as "No Special Flood Hazard Area - All "Zone X" (NSFHA) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (the channel section located along McCormick Blvd. is in "Zone A").  Skokie is not mapped by FEMA. Skokie’s Community Identification Number is 171000.

How can I comment on a Zoning Board of Appeals or Plan Commission case? All ZBA and Plan Commission cases are presented at public hearings. All citizens are welcome to attend these meetings. Meeting dates and agendas can be found by accessing the Public Hearings web page. If you cannot attend, signed and dated letters addressed to the Commission Chairperson are accepted at the Planning Division offices in Village Hall and may be read into the record at the public hearing.

What are the rules for truck parking on Village Streets? For truck parking regulations, click here.