Gateway to the Pines
Building Permits

Why do I need a building permit? 
You will protect the outcome and investment value of your construction project and guard against a lawsuit or injury by obtaining building permits. The following information describes simple steps you can take to obtain a building permit and how permits can work for you. You’ll be surprised at how easy the whole process is. 

Building permits are very beneficial to you and your community. By working with the City Clerks office and city’s building inspector, you will benefit from their knowledge of building codes to ensure your construction project is built right, will be safe and will last. 

A building permit gives you the legal permission to start construction of a building project in accordance with the approved drawings and specifications. 

When is a building permit required? 
Without first securing a building permit, it is unlawful to construct or alter any building or structure in the City where there are to be any changes in the height, outside dimensions, any structural change, or where any bearing wall of any building or structure is to be altered, or where a porch, breezeway, carport or other roofed area is to be enclosed, or where a parking lot is to be constructed. 

Examples where a permit is required include some, but not all construction projects: 
- New construction
- Cement Slab
- Electrical
- Plumbing
- Fences
- Swimming pools (pools holding 1,000 gallons require a fence)
- Accessory buildings such as garage, storage shed,etc.

Examples where a permit is not required: 
- Re-roofing when no structural changes will be done 
- Siding
- Simple landscaping 

The best was to find out if you need a permit is to visit City Hall or call the City Clerk at 815-946-3514. You may also need to discuss your plans with the city’s building inspector before beginning construction to determine whether you need a permit. 

What are the fees for a building permit? 
Fees will vary depending on the type of work you plan to perform. The City Clerk can provide you with this information. 

What is the process to get a building permit? 
1. Determine if a permit is required – The City along with the city’s building inspector wants your project to be a success and will help you avoid potential problems that could cost you time and money. You will be asked basic questions (What are you planning to do? Where?) The City Clerk’s office and city’s building inspector will provide you with the resources and information needed for compliance with the applicable building codes. You will then receive an application for a building permit. 
2. Submit the application – At this stage you will document the “Who, What, When, Where and How” of the job, along with any sketches or plans of the proposed work. The building permit applications are available at City Hall. 
3. Review process – In a brief amount of time, the city’s building inspector will review your plans and determine if your project is in compliance with local requirements. You will need to mark your lot lines and construction area with either stakes or spray paint for the city inspector’s initial inspection. If your plans meet these requirements, a permit is issued. If not the city inspector may suggest solutions to help correct the problem. 
4. Receive approved permit – Now that you have been approved for a building permit, you have legal permission to start construction. A fee, based on the type and size of job, is collected to cover the cost of the application, the review and the inspection process. An experienced city building inspector is available to you should you have any questions concerning your project. You should consider your building inspector as an ally who will help you make your project a success. 
5. Job site visits – On site inspections will be required to make certain the work conforms to the permit, local codes and plans. Again, you will have access to the expertise of the city’s building inspector to help you with questions or concerns regarding the project and to minimize potentially costly mistakes. The city building inspector will let you know approximately how many inspections may be needed for your project. Usually a three to five day (business days) notice is needed when requesting a visit. If the permit holder does not call for required inspections, the building inspector may require the permit holder or contractor to remove or open any necessary materials for the inspection to be completed. Any additional expenses for this shall be borne solely by the permit holder. 
6. Final inspection & approval – The city’s building inspector will provide documentation when construction is complete and code compliance is determined. You will then have the personal satisfaction of a job done right. Enjoy your new surroundings with the peace of mind and the knowledge that they meet the safety standards in your community. Your safe construction practices help protect you, your family, your friends and your investment. 

How long is the building permit valid? 
The building permit shall become null and void if the approved work has not commenced within six (6) months from the date it was issued. The permit also expires one (1) year from the date it was issued. If the approved work is not completed within one (1) year, the permit holder may apply for a one-time (6) month extension, provided the permit holder demonstrate good and satisfactory reasons beyond his/her control that the work cannot be completed within the original one-year period. Additional fees may apply for an approved extension. 

Once I receive my approved building permit where do I display it? 
Once a building permit is approved, the applicant is given a “permit card” and a signed building permit. The permit card needs to be displayed at the construction site with the printed side facing the street. 

Can I start construction before the permit process has been completed? 
No. When a building permit is required and work is commenced prior to obtaining said permit, the specified fee(s) shall be doubled. The city’s building inspector will place a stop work order on the project. The payment of such doubled fee(s) shall neither relieve any person from fully complying with the requirements of this Code, from the completion of any work, nor from any penalties.  

I am planning on digging, what do I do? 
If you are planning to do any digging you must call JULIE first at 1-800-892-0123 to arrange for utility companies to mark buried utility lines on your property. This service is free to the home owner and contractor, but you need to call at least 48 hours before digging. 

What are the set back regulations? 
A setback is a zoning term for the distance required from the nearest point of the wall of a structure to the property line. 
1. Residential (R-1 & R-2) front set backs are set at 20 feet  
2. Swimming pool set backs are set at 8 feet 
3. Accessory building set backs in residential areas are set at five (5) feet from the side lot line and 10 feet from any principle building. 
4. Fences – no fence shall be constructed between the lot line or within five (5) feet with a fence height greater than 48 inches