Article VII — Administration and Enforcement

7.01 Enforcement Officer, Zoning Certificate, and Occupancy Certificate
7.02 Zoning Board of Appeals
7.03 Variations
7.04 Special Uses
7.05 Amendments of Regulations and Districts
7.06 Procedure
7.07 Notice
7.08 Hearing and Recommendation
7.09 City Council Action
7.10 Penalties


(a) The Building Commissioner shall be the Enforcement Officer for the Zoning Ordinance. In addition thereto, such other personnel in the Building Department as are prescribed with the duty to enforce the Zoning Ordinance by the building Commissioner shall be deemed to be enforcement Officers.

(b) Except as hereinafter provided, no permit pertaining to the use of land or buildings shall be issued by any officer, department or employee of this City unless the application for such permit has been examined by the Office of the Building Commissioner that the proposed building or structure complies with all provisions of this ordinance. Any permit or certificate of occupancy issued in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance shall be null and void.

(c) No building, or addition thereto, constructed after the effective date of the Zoning Ordinance, and no addition to a previously existing building shall be occupied, and no land, vacant on the effective date of the Zoning Ordinance, shall be used for any purpose until a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Office of the Building Commissioner. Every certificate of occupancy shall state that the use or occupancy complies with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.

(d) Every application for a zoning certificate, or occupancy permit, shall be accompanied by such information, plans, drawings, and plats as deemed necessary by the Building Commissioner.

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(a) CREATION AND MEMBERSHIP – A Zoning Board of Appeals is hereby authorized to be established. The word “Board”, when used in this section, shall be construed to mean Zoning Board of Appeals. The said Board shall consist of seven (7) members appointed by the Mayor by and with the consent of the City Council. The members of said Board shall serve respectively for the following terms, or until their respective successors are appointed and qualifies; one for one year, one for two years, one for three years, one for four years, one for five years, one for six years, and one for seven years, for the first seven appointed, and five years each for those following the first seven appointed. One of the members of said Board shall be designated by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council, as Chairman of said Board, and shall hold his office as Chairman until his successor is appointed. The Mayor shall have the power to remove any member of said Board for cause and after a public hearing. Vacancies upon said Board shall be filled for the unexpired term of the member whose place has become vacant, in the manner herein provided for the appointment of such member. The members of the Board shall receive such salaries as may be determined and fixed by the City Council.

(b) MEETINGS AND RULES – All meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the Chairman, and at such times as the Board may determine. All hearings conducted by said Board shall be open to the public. Any person may appear and testify at a hearing either in person or by his attorney. The Chairman, or in his absence the acting Chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall also keep records of its hearings and other official actions. A copy of every rule or regulation, every appeal, authorized variation and every recommendation, order, requirement, decision, or determination of the Board shall be filed immediately in the office of the City Clerk and shall be a public record. The Board may adopt its own rules and procedures, not in conflict with the Zoning Ordinance or with the applicable Illinois statutes. In the absence of any rule adoption, Robert’s Rules of Order shall prevail.

(c) JURISDICTION – The Board is hereby vested with the following jurisdiction and authority:

1. To hear and decide all appeals from an administrative order, requirement, or determination made by the Building Commissioner.

2. To hear and decide all applications for variations upon which the Board is required to decide under the Zoning Ordinance and as directed by City Council.

3. To hear and decide all applications for special uses upon which the Board is required to decide under the Zoning Ordinance and as directed by City Council.

4. To hear and decide all other matters upon which it is required to pass under the Zoning Ordinance.

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(a) The power to determine and approve variations is reserved to the City Council and shall be exercised only by the adoption of ordinances. No variations shall be made without a hearing before the Board, or such other body as determined by the City Council.

(b) Variations may be granted by the City Council if the latter determines that the general purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance will be complied with.

(c) The Board shall not decide or recommend variations in the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, unless it shall have made findings based upon the evidence presented to it in the following cases:

1. That the property in question cannot yield a reasonable return if permitted to be used only under the conditions allowed by the regulations governing the district in which it is located; and that the variation, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality; or

2. That the plight of the owner is due to unique circumstances; and that the variation, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.

(d) For the purpose of supplementing the above standards, the Board, in making its decision or recommendations whenever there are practical difficulties or particular hardship, shall also take into consideration the extent to which the following facts favorable to the applicant, have been established by the evidence that:

1. The particular physical surroundings, shape, or topographical conditions of the specific property involved would bring a particular hardship upon the owner as distinguished from a mere inconvenience if the strict letter of the regulations were to be carried out.

2. The conditions upon which the petition for variation is based would not be applicable generally to other property within the same zoning classification.

3. The purpose of the variation is not based exclusively upon a desire to make more money out of the property.

4. The alleged difficulty or hardship has not been created by any person presently having an interest in the property.

5. The granting of the variation will not be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to other property or improvements in the neighborhood in which the property is located.

6. The proposed variation will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property, or substantially increase the danger of fire, or otherwise endanger the public safety, or substantially diminish or impair property values within the neighborhood.

(e) The Board may require or recommend such conditions and restrictions upon the premises benefited by a variation as may be necessary to comply with the standards set forth in this section to reduce or minimize the injurious effect of such variation upon other property in the neighborhood, and to implement the general purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance.

(f) The City Council may refer any proposed variation back to the Board for further consideration.

(g) Any proposed variation which fails to receive the approval of the Board of Appeals, said approval meaning the affirmative vote of four members of the Board, shall not be passed by the City Council except by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the Aldermen of the City.

(h) Every variation shall be made after a hearing before the Board, and shall be accompanied by findings of fact which refer to any exhibits containing plans and specifications for the proposed variation. The findings of fact shall specify the reason or reasons for making the variation. The terms of relief granted shall be specified in the ordinance, and may be conditioned upon such specific terms as are determined by the City Council.

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The provisions of Section 7.03 shall apply to any request for a special use.

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(a) For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, morals, comfort, and general welfare, conserving the value of property throughout the City, and lessening or avoiding congestion in the public streets and highways, the City Council may, from time to time, in the manner hereinafter set forth, amend the regulations imposed in the districts created by the Zoning Ordinance, provided that in all amendatory ordinances adopted under the authority of this section, due allowance shall be made for existing conditions, the conservation of property values, the directions of building development to the best advantages of the entire City, and the uses to which property is devoted at the time of the adoption of such amendatory ordinance. Zoning districts may also be amended from time to time by the City Council.

(b) No amendment of the regulations or districts shall be made without a hearing before the Plan Commission or such other Commission designated by the City Council.

(c) In case a written protest is filed pursuant to Section 11-13-14 of the Illinois Municipal Code, no amendment shall pass the City Council except upon a favorable vote of two-thirds of the Aldermen then holding office.

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(a) An application for a variation, special use, or amendment of a zoning regulation or district shall be made upon such forms as are prescribed by the City. An application may be made by any official of the City, or any person owning the property, or having a contract to purchase the property.

(b) The application shall be filed with the City Clerk who shall transmit the same to the Zoning Board of Appeals or Plan Commission, depending upon the type of application and who is charged under the Zoning Ordinance with the responsibility of holding hearings.

(c) An application shall be accompanied by a plat of survey of the property showing all structures located thereon. For all applications involving vacant property, a plat of survey shall show such topographic data as is deemed necessary by the City. Any required supplemental information must be filed by the applicant.

(d) All applications shall be accompanied by a fee of $500.00, except that applications for any property located within or asking for reclassification to an R-5, C-1, C-2, C-3, and I-1 shall be accompanied by a fee of $1,000.00. Any costs incurred by the City in connection with an application, including the hearing, court reporter, engineering studies, or other expenses shall be paid by the applicant prior to any final action of the City Council.

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(a) Notice of all public hearings shall be provided by publication and by mailing. The publication notice shall appear in a newspaper published within the City or of general circulation within the City at least once not more than 30 nor less than 15 days before the hearing. The notice shall contain the name of the property owner, the name of the petitioner, the legal description of the property, the address of the property, the relief requested, and the date, time, and place of the public hearing. All public hearings may be continued from time to time or adjourned, without any further notice being published.

(b) A copy of the notice to be published shall be mailed by regular mail to all parties listed on the current tax records of the County Collector of all property located within 250 feet in any direction of the property for which the public hearing is being held. This notice shall be prepared and sent by the City not more than 30 nor less than 10 days before the hearing. All public hearings may be continued from time to time or adjourned, without any further notice being sent.

(c) Not less than 10 days prior to the date of any public hearing the petitioner shall post and maintain on the property a wooden sign not less than 12 square feet containing the following information:

1. Date, place and time of public hearing.

2. Summary of relief requested.

3. Future use of property.

The sign shall be erected within 5 feet of the front property line so that it is visible from the street. At the public hearing the petitioner shall submit an affidavit with a photograph of the sign as evidence of erection.

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(a) The appropriate body shall conduct a public hearing on all applications within 35 days of the filing of the completed application. Such hearing may be continued from time to time or adjourned. Any person who lives or owns property within 250 feet of the applicant’s property or any person who proves specific, special, or unique damages to himself or his property or any adverse effect upon his property if the application is granted shall have the right to be heard at the hearing. All testimony shall be under oath.

(b) Subpoenas shall be issued in compliance with Sections 11-13-7 and 11-13-7a of the Illinois Municipal Code. All interested parties shall have the opportunity to present witnesses on their behalf and to cross-examine all testifying witnesses. These rights may be limited to insure orderly and speedy proceedings.

(c) Any property owners or other parties in opposition to the application may, upon request, be granted one continuance for the purpose of presenting evidence to rebut testimony given by the applicant.

(d) Upon the conclusion of the hearing a recommendation and finding of facts shall be issued within 10 days to the City Council.

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(a) Upon receipt of the recommendation and finding of facts, the City Council shall give due consideration to the applicant. Any relief granted or application granted shall be by way of ordinance adopted by the City Council. Such ordinance may contain conditions upon the granting of the relief of application.

(b) All applications not acted upon within 90 days after filing of the recommendation and finding of facts shall be deemed automatically denied.

(c) The City Council may refer any matter back to the hearing board for further proceedings.

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(a) Any person, firm or corporation who violates, disobeys, neglects, or refuses to comply with or resists enforcement of any of the provisions of this ordinance or the Zoning Ordinance shall be subject upon conviction to a fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $500.00 or imprisonments for not more than six months, or both, for each offense; and each day a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense.

(b) If any person, firm, corporation or business association violates any provision of this ordinance or the Zoning Ordinance, the Building Commissioner shall make such violation known to said person, firm, corporation or business association, and shall confirm such notice in writing. Said person, firm, corporation or business association shall then have 10 days in which to (1) correct such violation, (2) make arrangements which are satisfactory to the Building Commissioner to have said violation corrected, or (3) to show cause to the Building Commissioner why said violation will not be corrected.

(c) If, after the expiration of the 10-day period, any person, firm, corporation or business association has not complied with (1), (2), or (3) of the preceding paragraph above, the Building Commissioner shall cause a complaint to be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County citing said person, firm, corporation or business association for such violation.

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