From: ChicagoCodes
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 11:17 AM
To: Mierzwa, Peter
Subject: Know the Code eNewsletter
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Index Publishing Corporation

Spring 2006 Edition 


Quick References 

About Us


Recent Code Changes

Seminars & Events



Contact Us

Index Staff

Peter Mierzwa
  General Manager

Linda Seggelke

  Manager of Customer

Matt Baker


Sarah Corlett

  Editor/Civic Planner

Search Tip:

Have you ever wanted to know what changes to the Chicago Municipal Code occurred during a given month? allows you to search by the date a change was passed in City Council.

Follow these steps:

1. Login to

2. Select the scope of your search, e.g., Zoning Ordinance, Building Code, etc.

3. Enter date in format "MM-DD-YY" in the search by keyword field. For example, a search on "-99" will return sections with changes that occurred in 1999.

4. Then from "scope of search" drop down box select "History," which will return only sections with the keyword dates in the history field.


A Comprehensive directory of 


Codes and Ordinances, Special Features and Demographics

representing the first in a series of books covering county information in Illinois.

"Illinois Codes: Cook County"

is an indispensable guide to help navigate the development process in suburban and unincorporated Cook County.

Order your copy now.



What was the Code 20 years ago?

We can research City Council changes back to Nov. 4, 1987.

Contact us with your next research project.


Table of Contents 

Letter from the Publisher 

Green for Green 

Status of the Life Safety Ordinance 

Summary of Municipal Code Changes 

Recent Court Decisions 

Search Tip

 Know the Code  

Welcome to the new Know the Code eNewsletter. We hope you like the new layout and find it useful. Please feel free to forward this to  your colleagues. They can subscribe for their own subscription here.

Each quarter we will email you information you can use. We will include a feature article on a topic important to the real estate development community. This quarter we discuss how choosing to incorporate "green" initiatives into your development plans can return green to your bottom line. We'll cover recent changes to the Municipal Code of Chicago and the status of chapters currently under revision. You'll also learn about search tips for and new databases and features.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact us. Your comments have helped improve our products and services over the years and we will continue to solicit and act on your advice.




Peter Mierzwa

General Manager

Green for Green: How to

Subsidize Sustainable Design
by matt baker 

Consuming nearly a third of a typical building’s day-to-day expenses, energy costs are the single largest operating concern for building owners and managers. Fortunately, they also are the most manageable.

Energy efficient building features generally cost only 2-5% more to install than standard installations and pay for themselves after a few years. But many developers are reluctant or restricted by budget to make these upgrades. In light of escalating energy costs, however, two factors have brought the focus onto green building: tenant demand and government grants and subsidies. More and more municipalities – from the federal level down to suburban villages – offer incentives to developers to offset the initial cost of installing energy-efficient materials and appliances.

The U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, for example, offers a $0.30-$1.80 per square foot tax deduction to commercial building owners that make qualified energy-saving upgrades to the building envelope, insulation, lighting and other features.


Illinois offers many resources to levy the cost of green building. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Solar Energy Rebate program offers a 30% (up to $10,000) rebate to property owners who install photovoltaic systems. The DCEO also grants between $2,000 and $4,500 to developers of affordable housing who upgrade insulation, windows, lighting or construction materials to more environmental standards.


Chicago has made great strides over the years to environmentally enhance city buildings, and it urges residents and developers to follow suit. Between 2001 (when Chicago installed the nation’s first municipal green roof atop City Hall) and 2004, approximately 1 million square feet of rooftops in Chicago were green; by 2005, that number rose to 2 million. City incentives range from a streamlined permit process for members of the Green Permit Program, to actual financial aid; the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, for instance, offers a 50% match (up to $2,000) to eligible bungalow owners for energy-saving upgrades. 

Would you interested in attending a conference on making the most of green technology? If so, please let us know.

There are many sources to offset the higher initial cost of environmental design, if you know where to look. For more information, follow these links:

  • Visit the US Green Building Council
  • Read about the EPA's Waste Program
  • Visit the Department of Energy website
  • Listing of Illinois incentives for Renewables and Efficiency 
  • Visit the Chicago Department of the  Environment's [DOE] Green Technology site
  • Also, see the DOE's financial incentives publication

Check our news page for updates to this story. 




Chicago Fire Prevention Code 1999





"The soonest we can expect to see the new codes presented to City Council will be early 2007."

 Still Waiting for Chicago's

Life Safety Ordinance

by staff writer 

Index Publishing regularly communicates with members of the Department of Construction and Permits about the status of the new Life Safety Ordinance. The last time there was a new Fire Code in Chicago was the 1999 Code. Last winter the Chicago City Council passed the High Rise Ordinance, which is being phased in over the next couple of years. See our previous article on the phase in period. The High Rise Ordinance is a very small part of the new Code provisions replacing the 1999 Code.

DCAP had been working on the Life Safety Ordinance when the City experienced the tragic fire in the Cook County building, and then shortly thereafter another fire just blocks away on La Salle street. Many thought these fires would spur passage of the new ordinance, but careful and appropriate consideration is being given to this significant revision.

Our sources at DCAP indicate requested changes are being incorporated. The soonest we can expect to see the new code presented to City Council will be early 2007.

Want to hear about the latest developments on the Life Safety and other ordinances under revision?  Send us your email to subscribe to Index Publishing's newsletter "Know the Code."


Summary of Changes 

by sarah corlett 

In January the City Council added several new sections to Chapter 4-388 Rooftops in Wrigley Field Adjacent Area. Sections have been amended to increase regulations and licensing restrictions for rooftop establishments. On February 8, the Council passed amendments to sections surrounding street performer regulations, specifically on Michigan Avenue, in response to community complaints of noise and congestion. See Chapters 4-268 and 11-4. The powers and duties of the Commissioner for the Department of Consumer Services have been redefined as well.

Legislation for advertisement on taxicabs and hybrid fuel use was amended. Wireless communication facilities should note alterations to the review and approval procedure in the Zoning Ordinance. The March Council meeting once again addressed evacuation plans for rooftop establishments in the area abutting Wrigley Field. The payment plan program for parking violators has noted changes.

Pay particular attention this time of year to the Guide to Porch and Deck Design and Construction found in the Interpretation Appendix of the Building Code. You will find that on the Zoning Law page.

See Recent Changes for a more detailed explanation of the amendments and additions to the Municipal Code.









"Facilities that provide wireless communication should take a look at changes to the review and approval procedure in the Zoning ordinance."

Court House

Recent Court Decisions 
by sarah corlett 

City of Oakbrook Terrace v. Suburban Bank and Trust Company, et al.

The City of Oakbrook Terrace attempted to enforce a zoning ordinance that would regulate off-premises, freestanding, outdoor advertising signs. The defendants consisted of the Suburban Bank and Trust Company, Paramount Media Group, Inc, the Estate of Rose Alma Robinette and National Advertising Company. These groups either owned or leased existing legal, nonconforming signs or property on which the contested signs were located. While both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment and denied the City's motion.  This denial surrounded Section 7-101 of the Eminent Domain Act. The sign ordinance passed by Oakbrook Terrace was deemed invalid since just compensation indicated a loss of home rule authority to the state judiciary body. The City was subject to the legislation of the Eminent Domain Act instead of local legislation.

The Illinois Appellate Court, 2nd District, affirmed the Circuit Court's decision that the City of Oakbrook Terrace could not require alteration of signs without paying just compensation. The signs were allowed to remain undisturbed.

To read the full case summary, visit the Zoning Law library.


The County of Cook v. Allan Monat and Becky Monat

The Circuit Court of Cook County found that Allan and Becky Monat, property owners, had violated the County's zoning ordinance by boarding horses on one-half acre property that is zoned R-4 and does not allow such use. Therefore the county imposed fines on the defendants for noncompliance with the code.

The issue surrounding this situation begs the question of whether a special use permit runs with the land or becomes illegitimate once ownership has changed.  In 1978 previous owners Ronald Krueger and Frank Williams received a special use permit from the Department of Building and Zoning of Cook County (DBZ) that allowed for the housing of horses and a private stable on the property even though an R-4 designation requires at least 3 acres of land for such activities to occur. The Monat's argued the permit applied to the land and ignored the County order to remove the horses. A written memorandum order was issued by the court on May 17, 2005 stating that issuance of a permit did not equate to a zoning change and that the special use permit expired when transfer of ownership occurred in 2001. Alan and Becky Monat would need to apply and obtain a special use permit from the County of Cook once again.

The Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District, Sixth Division, affirmed the order by the Circuit Court to fine Allan and Becky Monat for violation of the zoning ordinance.

To read the full case summary, visit the Zoning Law library.


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