Building permits are required for many remodeling projects, repairs, replacements, new structures, additions, decks, driveways, sheds, pools and fences. Some of these activities may not be permitted or may be restricted as to their extent if they will be located within the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). Other activities that may not normally require a building permit such as regarding or filling may also be prohibited or restricted if it will occur with the SFHA. If required building permits must be obtained from the Community Services Department before beginning any construction. Call the Community Services Department at 847-359-9042 for specific requirements related to your project. This webpage also has information related to building permits and some applications for simpler projects are available at Building and Inspection Services.
Most of the homes that are currently in the floodplain were constructed prior to the adoption of the NFIP in the early 1970s and before the floodplain maps were created. These homes are known as Pre-FIRM construction. FEMA wants to be sure that there is no new construction that could be subject to future flooding or alterations to the floodplain that cause flooding for property currently not subject to flooding. Also for Pre-FIRM homes, the concern of the NFIP is that these homes are not modified or expanded to an extent where more damage can occur in a flood and results in a bigger insurance liability. If an existing structure is located within a SFHA, there are restrictions as to how much the structure can be improved or reconstructed if damaged by fire or other means. This work is classified as a Substantial Improvement and the cost of any repair, reconstruction or improvement to the structure located in a SFHA is limited to 40% of the market value of the structure before the repair or improvements are begun and are counted cumulatively for a ten year period beginning at the start of the first improvement. This is to assure that the flood insurance liability of a property that has been identified as prone to flooding does not increase substantially.
Floodplain Common Construction Types
The village’s regulations address other types of construction in the floodplain. The following describes some of the more common types or construction:
- Filling is not allowed in floodplain areas unless an adjacent area is excavated to provide compensatory storage for that floodplain volume lost by the filling.
- Homes and other construction can occur on the filled land once it has been official removed from the floodplain. Filling requires a special use permit from the Village Council.
- Fences are allowed in the floodplain but not in the floodway portion because they can block the flow of floodwaters. Fences in the floodway require a special use permit.
- Parking lots, driveways, patios and sidewalks are allowed provided no filling occurs and flood depths do not exceed 1-foot in parking lots.
- Raised patios and decks require a special use permit and cannot be located in the floodway.
- Playground equipment gazebos and open pavilions are allowed provided they are properly anchored and do not block the flow of floodwaters.
- Above ground swimming pools and spas require a special use permit and cannot be located in the floodway.
- Detached garages and storage sheds require a special use permit, cannot be in the floodway and must be properly anchored and made flood resistant.
- Retaining walls require a special use permit and cannot be located in the floodway.
- Landscaping is permitted provided it does not change the contours of the land or could block the flow of floodwaters.
Check Before Construction
Before you construct anything that may be in the floodplain it is best to check with the village’s Engineering Department at 847-359-9044. Certain types of construction particularly in the floodway may also require additional permits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Engineering Department can assist you in determining if these additional permits are necessary.