Article III — Rules and Definitions


Unless the context otherwise indicates, the following definitions shall be used in the interpretation and construction of the Ordinance. Words used in the present tense include the future; the singular number shall include the plural, and the plural the singular; the word “building” shall include the word “structure”; the word “used” shall include arranged, designed, constructed, altered, converted, rented, leased, or intended to be used; the word “shall” is mandatory and not discretionary.


(a) ALLEY – A public or private thoroughfare which affords only a secondary means of access to property abutting thereon.

(b) ALTERATION – As applied to a building or structure, a change or rearrangement in the structural parts, or in the entrance and exit facilities, or an enlargement, whether by extending on a side or by increasing in height, or the moving from one location or position to another.

(c) AREA, BUILDING – The total of areas taken on a horizontal plane at the main grade level of the principal building and all accessory buildings exclusive of uncovered porches, terraces and steps.

(d) ACCESSORY USE – A use of structure on the same lot with, and of a nature customarily incidental and subordinate to, the principal use or structure.

(e) AUTOMOBILE SERVICE STATION – A building or place of business where gasoline, oil and greases, batteries, tires, and automobile accessories, are supplied and dispensed directly to the motor vehicle trade, at retail, and where minor repair service is rendered.

(f) BUILDING – Any structure designed or intended for the support, enclosure, shelter or protection of persons, animals, chattels or property. When a structure is divided into separate parts by unpierced walls extended from the ground up, each part is deemed a separate building.

(g) BUILDING HEIGHT – The vertical distance measured from the average elevation of the ground surrounding the building to the highest point on the coping of a flat roof, to the deck line of mansard roofs and the mean height between eaves and ridge for the highest of gable, hip and gambrel roofs, but not including chimneys, spires, towers, elevator penthouses, tanks and similar projections.

(h) CHANNEL – That area, adjacent to a watercourse, which is at an elevation of two feet lower than the elevation of the surrounding flood plain area.

(i) CLUB OR LOUNGE, PRIVATE – A non-profit association of persons who are bona fide members paying annual dues, which owns, hires, or leases a building, or portion thereof, the use of such premises being restricted to members and their guests. The affairs and management of such “private club” or “lodge” are conducted by a Board of Directors, Executive Committee, or similar body chosen by the members at their annual meeting. It shall be permissible to serve food and meals on such premises providing adequate dining room space and kitchen facilities are available. The sale of alcoholic beverages to members and their guests shall be allowed provided it is secondary and incidental to the promotion of some other common objective of the organization, and further provided that such a sale of alcoholic beverages is in compliance with the applicable Federal and State laws and ordinances of the City.

(j) COMMON AREA (COMMON OPEN SPACE) – A tract of land, an area of water, or a combination of land and water located within the Residential Planned Unit Development site designed and intended primarily but not necessarily exclusively for the use and enjoyment of the Residential Planned Unit Development residents. Common area (Open Space) shall contain no structures or improvements except for those necessary and appropriate for the benefit and enjoyment of the residents.

(k) COVERAGE – That percentage of the plot or lot area covered by a building.

(l) DISTRICT – A section or sections of the City of Hickory Hills for which the regulations governing the use of buildings and premises, the height of buildings, the size of yards and intensity of use are uniform.

(m) DWELLING, SINGLE-FAMILY – A building designed for or occupied exclusively by one family.

(n) DWELLING, TWO-FAMILY – A building designed for or occupied exclusively by two families.

(o) DWELLING, MULTIPLE – A building designed for or occupied exclusively by more than two families.

(p) FAMILY – Excepting domestic employees, any number of persons related by blood, marriage or adoption, or a group not to exceed five (5) persons not so related, living together in a room or rooms comprising a single housekeeping unit.

(q) FLOODPLAIN – That continuous area, adjacent to a watercourse, whose elevation is equal to or below the elevation of the highest flood level; and any land of higher elevation, having an area of less than two acres, which is completely surrounded by land having elevation equal to or lower than the elevation of the highest flood level.

(r) FLOOD CHANNEL – That area, adjacent to a watercourse, which is at an elevation of two feet lower than the elevation of the surrounding flood plain area.

(s) FLOOR AREA RATIO – The floor area ratio of the building or buildings on any zoning lot is the floor area of the building or buildings on that zoning lot divided by the area of such zoning lot, or, in case of planned developments, by the net site area.

(t) HOME OCCUPATION – Any occupation or profession, practiced by a member of the family residing on the premises, and which occupation is clearly incidental and secondary to the residential use of the dwelling; and in connection with which there is no indication from the exterior, other than one (1) unanimated, non-illuminated sign of not more than one (1) square foot in size, that the building is being utilized in whole or in part for any purpose than that of a dwelling. No commodity is sold upon the premises and no commodity intended for sale or use elsewhere is stored on the premises; no more than one (1) person is employed other than members of the family residing on the premises; and no mechanical or electrical equipment is used except for telephones, calculators, typewriters and computers. A professional person may use his residence for consultation, emergency treatment, or performance of religious rites. No accessory building shall be used for such home occupation. Home occupations, further, shall not utilize more than twenty-five (25) percent of the total floor area of any one (1) story. No vehicle used in conjunction with the home occupation may be parked on the premises, based at the premises, or parked on the public street in the area of the premises, except for one passenger car designed for carrying not more than six persons.

(u) HOTEL – An establishment which is open to transient guests, in contradistinction to a lodging house, and is commonly known as a hotel in the community in which it is located and which provides customary hotel services such as maid service, furnishing and laundering of linen, telephone and secretarial or desk service, the use and upkeep of furniture, and bell boy service.

(v) LANDOWNER – The legal or beneficial owner of all the land to be included in the Residential Planned Unit Development. This includes the holder of an option or contract to purchase, provided, however, that a final development plan shall not be approved until the applicant has taken title or executed a binding sales contract for all the property. A land owner shall also mean a lessee having a remaining term of not less than forty (40) years and any other person or public agency having an enforceable proprietary interest in all the land to be included in such development.

(w) LOT – Any portion, piece, division or parcel of land.


1. Area. The total horizontal area within the lot lines of a lot, excluding the horizontal area of such lot covered by water, or marsh, or beyond the rim of a river bank, watercourse or lake, or between the top and toe of an embankment of thirty (30) degrees or more from horizontal.

2. Depth. The mean horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.

(y) LOT OF RECORD – A lot which is part of a subdivision, the plat of which has been recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, or Registrar of Titles of Cook County, or a parcel of land, the deed of which was recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, or Registrar of Titles of Cook County, prior to the date of the adoption of this Ordinance.

(z) LOT TYPE –

1. Corner Lot. A lot situated at the intersection of and abutting upon two or more streets, provided that the enclosed angle of intersection of such streets is not more than one hundred thirty-five (135) degrees.

2. Through Lot. A lot other than a corner lot with frontage on more than one (1) street other than an alley.

(aa) MANUFACTURING OR INDUSTRY – Any use in which the major activity is the treatment, processing, rebuilding, repairing or wholesale storage of material, products or items, and where the finished product is not acquired by the ultimate use on the premises, as distinguished from a retail use where the treatment, processing, repairing or storage is secondary to the sale, exchange, or repairing of materials or products on the premises.

(bb) MOTEL – An establishment consisting of a group of attached or detached living or sleeping accommodations with bathroom and closet space, located on a single lot and designed for use by transient automobile tourists.

(cc) NONCONFORMING LOT – Any lot which does not conform with the minimum area and/or dimensions required in the district.

(dd) NONCONFORMING STRUCTURE – A structure or sign, the design or size of which does not conform to the regulations of this Ordinance for the district in which it is located.

(ee) NONCONFORMING USE – A building, structure or premises legally existing and/or used at the time of adoption of this Ordinance, or any amendment thereto which does not conform with the use regulations of the district in which it is located.

(ff) NURSING OR CONVALESCENT HOME – A proprietary facility for the accommodation of convalescents or other persons who are not acutely ill and not in need of hospital care, but who require skilled nursing care and related medical services which are prescribed by or performed under the direction of person or persons licensed to provide such care or services in accordance with the laws of the State of Illinois.

(gg) PARKING SPACE – A durably surfaced area, enclosed in the main building, in an accessory building, or unenclosed, sufficient in size to store one standard automobile, and if the space is unenclosed comprising an area of not less than 200 square feet, exclusive of driveway connecting the parking space with a street or alley and permitting ingress and egress of an automobile.

(hh) PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT – A structure or group of structures designed to be maintained and operated as a unit in single ownership or control by an individual, partnership, cooperative or corporation and which has certain facilities in common such as yards, open space, recreation areas, garages, and parking areas.

(ii) PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT PLAN – The proposal for development of a residential planned unit development, including a plat of subdivision, all covenants, grants of easement and other conditions relating to use, location and bulk of buildings, density of development, common open space and public facilities. The Planned Unit Development Plan shall include the information required by this amendment.

(jj) PROFESSIONAL OFFICE – The office of an accountant, architect, chiropodist, chiropractor, dentist, lawyer, minister, optometrist, osteopath, physician, registered professional engineer, or member of another similar profession.

(kk) SIGN – A “sign” is a name, identification, description, display, or illustration which is affixed to, or painted, or represented directly or indirectly, upon a building, structure, or piece of land and which directs attention to an object, product, place, activity, person, institution, organization or business, but does not include an official traffic control device, nor does it include the flag, emblem or insignia of a nation, state, county, municipality, school or religious group. Each display surface of a sign shall be considered to be a “sign”.

(ll) SIGN, SURFACE AREA – The entire space within a single continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of a sign except that such perimeter shall not include any structural or framing elements lying outside the limits of such sign and not forming an integral part of the display.

(mm) SINGLE OWNERSHIP – The Proprietary interest of a Landowner as defined herein.

(nn) SITE PLAN – A plan placing the buildings on the land, showing paved roadways, sidewalks, set back lines, parking areas, buffer zones, screening, fences and general landscaping.

(oo) STORY – That portion of building other than a cellar, included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it or, if there be no floor above it, then the space between the floor and the ceiling next above it.

(pp) STORY, HALF – A space under a sloping roof which has the line of intersection of roof decking and wall space not more than three feet above the top floor level, and in which space not more than 60% of the floor area is finished off for use.

(qq) STRUCTURES – Anything constructed or erected, that use of which requires permanent location on the ground, including but without limiting, the generality of the foregoing, advertising signs, billboards and back stops for tennis courts.

(rr) STRUCTURAL ALTERATIONS – Any change in the supporting members of a building, such as bearing walls of partitions, columns, beams or girders, or any substantial change in the roof or in the exterior walls.

(ss) USE – The “use” of property is the purpose or activity for which the land, or building thereon, is designed, arranged, or intended, or for which it is occupied or maintained, and shall include any manner of performance of such activity with respect to the performance standards of this comprehensive ordinance.

(tt) USE, PRINCIPAL – A “principal use” is the main use of land or buildings as distinguished from a subordinate or accessory use. A “principal use” may be either “permitted” or “special”.

(uu) USE, PERMITTED – A permitted use is a use which may be lawfully established in a particular District or Districts, provided it conforms with all requirements, regulations, and performance standards (if any) of such District.

(vv) USE, SPECIAL – A use–either public or private–which, because of its unique characteristics, cannot be properly classified as a permitted use in any particular District or Districts. After due consideration, in each case, of the impact of such use upon the neighboring land and of the public need for the particular use at the particular location, such “special use” may or may not be granted. A use may be a permitted use in one or more districts and a special use in one or more districts.

(ww) USE, NON-CONFORMING – Any lawfully established use of a building or premises which on the effective date of this ordinance does not comply with all of the applicable use regulations of the District in which such building or premises shall be located.

(xx) VARIANCE – The City Council’s authorized departure from the terms of the Ordinance in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Ordinance in direct regard to a hardship peculiar to an individual lot or situation.

(yy) YARD – An open space on the same lot with a principal building, unoccupied and unobstructed by any portion of a structure from the ground upward, except as otherwise provided herein. In measuring a yard for the purpose of determining the width of a side yard, the depth of the front yard, or the depth of a rear yard, the mean horizontal distance between the lot line and the principal building shall be used.

(zz) YARD, FRONT – A Front Yard is a yard extending across a front of a lot between the side yard lines, which is along an existing or dedicated public street, or where no public street exists, is along a public way. On a corner lot the lot line having the shortest length abutting a street line shall be the front yard, except in Commercial Districts the front yard shall always be on the main street (such as 95th Street, 87th Street, Roberts Road, 88th Avenue).

(aaa) YARD, REAR – A Rear Yard is a yard extending along the full length of a lot between the side lot lines which is most distant from, and is, or is most nearly, parallel to, the front yard.

(bbb) YARD, SIDE – A yard on the same lot with the principal building, situated between the side of a building and the adjacent side lot line and extending from the rear line of the front yard to the front line of the rear yard.

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