Housing Code Guidebook <a name="Top"></a>
- Accessory Buildings
- Address / House Numbers
- Candle Safety
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Child Day Care Homes
- Clothes Dryer Safety
- Cooking Safety
- Density and Overcrowding
- Electrical Safety
- Emergency Evacuation
- Exterior Property
- Garage Sale Guidelines
- Handbills / Newspapers
- Heat Ordinance
- Heating Safety
- Holiday Decorations
No truck or trailer shall be used as an accessory building to store merchandise, products, components of products, raw material for the manufacture of products, or waste materials except that such vehicles may be used for temporary storage or office in conjunction with construction projects, with required permits as necessary.
Address / House Numbers
Each structure in which a street number has been assigned shall have such number displayed in a position easily observed and readable from the public right-of-way. All numbers shall be in Arabic numerals at least 3 inches high.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep
- Keep candles away from items that can catch fire (i.e. clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, flammable decorations, etc.)
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily, are made from a material that can’t burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax
- Don’t place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them
- Place candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface and do not use candles in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets
- Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids
- Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt
- Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Effective January 7, it is mandatory that every dwelling unit be equipped with a working carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of all sleeping rooms. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you if sufficient quantities build up in your home and/or in your bloodstream.
Child Day Care Homes
Any person desiring to conduct or operate a child day care home must apply for a license from the City of Waukegan. The license administrator may issue a business license for a child day care home only upon proof of:
- Verification of the validity of the applicant’s State of Illinois child day care license
- Inspection by the City of Waukegan to ensure compliance with all local ordinances
- Notification of property owners within 250 feet, landlord or homeowner / condo association and favorable completion of the hearing procedure, if necessary
- Payment of the appropriate license fee
Each child day care home license shall be renewed annually as of January and must meet all requirements set forth. If, at any time after the granting of the business license, the licensee fails to comply with any of the provisions, the business license may be revoked.
Clothes Dryer Safety
- Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter. Clean lint filters before or after each use and remove accumulated lint from around the drum.
- Make sure that the dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its electrical needs as overloaded electrical outlets can result in blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.
- Turn the dryer off when leaving the home.
- Keep the dryer area clear of combustibles (i.e., boxes or clothing).
- Dryers should be installed and serviced by a professional.
- Have gas powered dryers inspected by a professional regularly to ensure that the gas line and connections are intact.
- Never leave cooking food on the stove top unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
- Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (i.e. potholders, towels rags, drapes, and food packaging).
- Keep children and pets away from cooking areas by creating a three foot (one-meter) “kid-free zone” around the stove.
- Turn pot handles inward so they can’t be bumped and children can’t grab them.
- Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.
- Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.
- Always keep a potholder, oven mitt, and lid handy. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don’t remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire and never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire, as it can spray or shoot burning grease around the kitchen, actually spreading the fire.
- If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing.
- If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave. Call the fire department and make sure to have the oven serviced before you use it again. Food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot. Remove the lids or other coverings from micro-waved food carefully to prevent steam burns
Density & Overcrowding
Dwelling units, whether rental property or single family homes shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted, based on the number of legal sleeping rooms. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.
Business and Industrial exterior trash receptacles shall be fenced with a security fence and screened from any residential district or the public right-of-way with an opaque fence or landscape screen to a height of at least 6 feet but not more than 8 feet.
- Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
- Extension cords are not permitted. Power strips or surge protects are allowed.
- In homes with small children, electrical outlets should have plastic safety covers.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Consider plugging only one high wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by a licensed Electrician.
- When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
Pick a family meeting place outside the home, where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place would be a tree, a streetlight, a telephone pole, or a neighbor’s home. Be sure to stay a safe distance from emergency vehicles. Practice your plan with your family at least twice a year. Get your family together tonight and practice your “great escape.” Remember: Never go back inside a burning building. Once out, stay out!
All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The exterior of a structure shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.
Garage Sale Guidelines
No person shall post, stick, stamp, paint, or otherwise fix or cause the same to be done by any person, any notice, placard, bill, card, poster, advertisement of other paper or devise to or upon any:
- Sidewalk, cross walk, curb, or any portion or any part of any public way or public place
- Lamppost, electric light, telegraph, telephone pole, railway structure, hydrant, shade tree, or tree box
- Public bridge or viaduct or other public structure of building, or upon any pole, box, or fixture of the fire alarm or police telegraph system, except such as may be authorized or required by law or ordinance
Permitted Temporary Uses
Subject to the specific regulations and time limits that follow, and to the other applicable regulations of the district in which the use is permitted, the following temporary uses, and no others, are permitted in the zoning districts herein specified.
House, apartment, garage and yard sales:
- In any residential district, but only when limited to the personal possessions of the owner-occupant of the dwelling unit at which such sale is being conducted.
- Such use shall be limited to a period not to exceed three consecutive days and no more than three such sales shall be conducted from the same residence in any 12 month period
- A permit is not required
Handbills / Newspapers
No person shall deposit or throw any commercial or noncommercial handbill in or upon any private premises which are inhabited, except by handing or transmitting such handbill directly to the owner, occupant or other person then present in or upon such private premises, or by hanging the handbill or other material on the doorknob in such a way that it is secure and will not blow onto public or other private property. Non-subscribed newspapers delivered to inhabited private premises must be place on the doorstep of such location only, and only if the owner of such premises does not make a request that the non-subscribed newspaper not be delivered.
Every owner and operator of any building who rents, leases, or lets one or more dwelling units shall supply sufficient heat during the period from September 1st thru June 15th of each year to maintain the following room temperature:
- From 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., 65 degrees Fahrenheit
- From 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- From 10:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., 60 degrees Fahrenheit
Every occupant of a rental unit shall be provided with a 24 hour emergency contact person and phone number. In cases whereby tenants are adversely affected by the failure of an owner or operator of a building to comply with the terms of this ordinance, such that an emergency results, the building official is authorized to relocate the tenants on a short-term emergency basis, through the Red Cross, Catholic charities, or some similar relief agency, all at the expense of the property owner or operator.
- Space heaters need space. Portable space heaters need a three foot (one meter) clearance from anything that can burn and should always be turned off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- When buying a new unit, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing lab. Be sure that a qualified technician installs the unit or checks that the unit has been installed properly.
- Wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other solid-fueled heating equipment need to be inspected annually by a professional and cleaned as often as the inspections indicate.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying into the room.
- Portable kerosene heaters must be fueled only in a well-ventilated area, free of flame and other heat sources, and only when the device has cooled completely. Use only the type of kerosene specified by the manufacturer for that device, and never use gasoline instead of kerosene.
- When turning a heating device on or off, be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When buying heaters, look for devices with automatic shutoff features.
- Be sure any gas-fueled heating device is installed with proper attention to ventilation, and never put non-vented gas space heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms. Also, LP (liquefied petroleum) gas heaters with self-contained fuel supplies are prohibited for home use by NFPA codes.
Building Permits are required for many remodeling projects, repairs replacements, new structures and additions. Work authorized by a building permit must begin within six months. A permit may be extended upon request for an additional six months. Any and all changes to a project in progress must be submitted for approval. The permit placard should be displayed in a window of your home so that it is visible from the street until final approved inspection has been made. Some typical construction projects requiring permits are listed below. If your project is not listed and before starting any home improvement, be sure to contact the Building Department at 847-625-6868 to inquire about regulations, which may apply to your project.
- A/C, new or replacement remodeling, interior, and exterior
- Concrete patio roof / state licensed and city registered
- Concrete stoop, slabs and stairs, room addition, or sun rooms
- Decks or porches sewer hook-up, repair, or replacement
- Driveways, replacement or expansion sheds
- Electrical / state licensed and city registered sidewalks or stairs
- Fences siding, replacement, or new
- Fireplaces, single family residence
- Furnaces, new or replacement swimming pools, in-or-above ground
- Garages, attached or detached
- Gazebos or greenhouses water service hookup
- Plumbing / state licensed and city registered water softeners, new or replacement
- Water heaters, new or replaced
- Whirlpools and spas
Codes and Ordinances to establish minimum standards for the safety and benefit of all city residents have been adopted. The following are codes relating to home improvement and commercial projects:
- B.O.C.A. “96”
- C.A.B.O. “92”
- International Mechanical “96”
- State Plumbing Code “93”
- Waukegan Plumbing Supplement Code “69” (city supplement codes available at the Building Department)
- National Electrical Codes “2002”
- *Waukegan Electrical Supplement Code “2002”
- Property Maintenance Code “96”
- Life Safety Codes “2000”
- NFPA Codes by reference
- ANSI Standards for 1988 at A17
Contractors performing work under an approved permit must be registered / licensed with the City of Waukegan. Information regarding registration and license requirements are available at the Building Department. A building permit will not be issued until all contractors performing work on the project have their updated information on file. This requirement is for the protection of all homeowners of the City of Waukegan. It helps to ensure work will be performed in compliance with all city codes and Ordinances. Remember, contractors are responsible for the removal and disposal of all debris, yard waste and construction material. A dumpster must be placed on the site. Absolutely, no burning of any materials is permitted.
Fees are assessed for permits and plan review. The permit fee covers the cost of processing the permit and inspecting the project. The fee for any project under $3,000 is $50. Over $3,000 is 1.5% of the construction value plus base $50. The plan review fee covers the cost of reviewing the plan for compliance with city codes.
Inspections required for your project will be listed and distributed with the permit. To schedule an inspection, call the Building Department at least 24 hours before 12 p.m. the day before you need the inspection. Inspection requests received after 12 p.m. will be scheduled for two days after. You need to have your address and type of inspection handy; this is helpful when requesting an inspection.
Typically, morning inspections are scheduled north of Belvidere Street and afternoon inspections are scheduled south of Belvidere Street. Specific times may not always be available. Exceptions can be made for concrete pre-pours and other time sensitive inspections. Prior to calling for an inspection, please make sure the work for which you are requesting an inspection has been completed. A $75 fee is charged for a failed residential or commercial re-inspection. This includes those projects which are not ready when the inspector arrives.
All city inspectors are knowledgeable in their field and willing to help. While they cannot design your project, they are more than willing to offer advice to assist you in completing the job as quickly as possible. It is our goal to see that your project is completed promptly, with as little disruption or inconvenience as possible. If you are encountering problems, need advice, or specific information, please call the Building Department.
Stop work placards will be issued for jobs that were started without permits. This could result in a double permit fee and/or a citation, requiring your appearance in court or at an administrative hearing.
Home Repair / Fraud & Rip-Offs
- Get more than one estimate, and get them in writing.
- Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics and prices that seem “too good to be true.”
- Get the name and address of the business and check old phone books to see how long they have been in business.
- Inspect the contract carefully. Check to see that it includes:
- The contractors full name, address and telephone number
- A description of the work to be performed
- Total cost of work performed including charges for estimates
- Schedule and method of payment including down payment, subsequent payments and final payment
- Do not sign a contract that has blank spaces or one that you do not understand.
- Find out whether the contractor guarantees his/her work and products.
- Get lien waivers. This protects you from claims against you or your property in the event a general contractor fails to pay subcontractors or material suppliers.
- Don’t make final payment until you are satisfied, and all subcontractors have been paid.
- Remember, you have three business days to cancel any contract if the sale is made and signed at your home. The contractor cannot take this right away from you by initiating work, selling your contract to a lender, or any other tactic.
Be on the alert if and when:
- Unsolicited door to door salespeople with no local connections offer to do home repair work for substantially less than market price.
- A company lists only a telephone number or post office box.
As of January 1, 2000, Contractors are required by law to:
- Furnish the customer with a written contract for any repair or remodeling work that costs over $1,000. Both the customer and contractor must sign this contract.
- Provide the customer with a copy of the “Home Repair: Know Your Rights” pamphlet.
- Carry minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury, and improper home repair.
All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches (254 mm). All noxious weeks shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided, however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers or gardens.
It is unlawful for any person to park, store or leave, or to permit the parking, storing or leaving of, any unlicensed motor vehicle or any licensed motor vehicle which is in a junked, wrecked, partially dismantled, inoperative, or abandoned condition, whether attended or not, or parts thereof upon any private property. No person shall park a vehicle on a sidewalk, parkway, or on any portion of the lawn or dirt areas.
Recreational vehicles shall not be permitted in parking spaces established in a front yard. Vehicles of this type with an overall length of 27 feet or less may be parked in a rear yard provided such parking area is paved and screened from view of neighboring properties.
Commercial vehicles including trucks, trailers, vans, and other such vehicles bearing a class A, B or C may be parked in any residential district. Vehicles bearing class D or F license plates are prohibited, unless parked in a fully enclosed building. All other trucks and similar vehicles are excluded from parking in residential districts.
- It is not allowed to extend the parking area (driveway) in front of any residence
- It is illegal to do any auto repairs (i.e. transmissions, motors, body work, etc.) in any residential district. It is not permitted to dump motor oil or any other auto fluids in sewers and drains
Kitchens, non-habitable spaces, and interior public areas shall not be occupied for sleeping purposes. Basement areas used for sleeping purposes shall have at least one operable window or exterior door approved for emergency egress or rescue, in addition to any interior stairs leading to the upper floors of the building.
In case of operable windows, the sill height of such window shall not be more than 42 inches above the floor and the window shall have a clear opening of not less than 36 inches in height by 24 inches in width. Floors and walls of basement areas shall be watertight and insulated so as to prevent entry of moisture, and all basement dwelling areas shall comply with the required clear ceiling height of not less than 7 feet at its lowest point. Basement sleeping areas shall in all respects comply with the applicable codes of the City of Waukegan.
Required prior to offering properties for sale:
- Within 72 hours of offering any residential property for sale, the owner or his authorized agent shall make application to the City of Waukegan for a Zoning Letter (in the case of one or two-family residential properties) or a Zoning Certificate (in the case of residential properties consisting of three or more units).
- No property shall be offered for sale without the owner or agent first obtaining all necessary documentation from the City of Waukegan.
Application for zoning certificate - residential, 3 or more units:
- Upon application of the owner or his authorized agent with 72 hours of offering the property for sale, and payment to the city for all applicable fees, the Zoning Administrator or his authorized agent shall review pertinent city records, may make an interior and exterior inspection of the premises, and shall deliver to the applicant a report of their findings.
Application for zoning letter - residential 1 or 2 units:
- Upon application of the owner or his authorized agent with 72 hours of offering the property for sale, and payment to the city for all applicable fees, the zoning administrator or his authorized agent shall review pertinent city records, make an interior and exterior inspection of the premises, which shall include a review of the use of the property, whether any additional units and/or uses exist, the number of persons able to reside at the premises and whether the property is in compliance with the life safety code of the City of Waukegan, and shall deliver to the applicant a report of their findings.
Renewal of expired zoning certificates or letters:
- Zoning letters or certificates older than six months shall expire, but may be renewed for an additional six months by applying to the Department of Planning and Zoning. Provided there has been no change in the property as described in the zoning letter or certificate, the renewal shall be provided at no charge.
- Zoning letters and certificates may not be renewed more than once.
Zoning Classification Poster:
- At the time of obtaining the zoning letter or certificate, the owner or agent shall also be given a poster by the Department of Planning and Zoning, which shall state the zoning classification and any conditions governing the property. This poster shall be displayed prominently on the premises for sale, in such a way that the poster is visible from the city right-of-way.
All owners of rental housing properties within the City of Waukegan, except those properties of two units or less in which the owner resides, shall be required to be licensed by the city collector and licensing official. For rental license and inspection fees, please contact the City of Waukegan Collectors Office at 847-360-0334.
All rental residential property shall be subject to inspection. Initial and subsequent annual licensing inspections shall include the building exterior, interior, common areas and the basement of each residential unit.
Every dwelling unit shall be equipped with at least one approved smoke detector in an operating condition within 10 feet of all sleeping rooms and on every level of the dwelling, including basements. The detector shall be installed on the ceiling at least 6 inches from any wall, or on a wall located between 4 and 6 inches from the ceiling.
- Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
- Never smoke in bed.
- Use large, deep, not-tip ashtrays to prevent ashes from spilling onto furniture. Do not rest ashtrays on sofas or chairs.
- Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away as they can smolder in the trash and cause fire.
- Whenever someone has been smoking in the home, always check on, between and under upholstery and cushions and inside trashcans for butts that may be smoldering.
- When smokers visit your home, ask them to keep smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
Storage of Poisons
All outdoor private swimming pools, including an in-ground, above-ground or on-ground pool, hot tub or spa shall be provided with a barrier. The top of the barrier shall be at least 48 inches from the top of the pool surface. All doors and gates with direct access to the pool shall be equipped with a self-closing and self-latching device. Swinging doors shall open away from the pool area. A removable step or ladder does not constitute an acceptable alternative to enclosure requirements.
- There is a limit of two bulk items such as furniture, fixtures and carpet that may be placed at the curb on each service day. Carpet must be less than 6 feet long, rolled and tied with string, twine or duct tape and each roll less than 50 lbs.
- Extra pick ups properly prepared are provided at the resident’s expense and must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance of pick up. The cost is $15 per cubic yard. If scheduled on a day different from the regular pick up day, there will be a $15 trip fee added to the $15 per cubic yard fee. Payment can be made by cash, check or credit card (Visa, Master Card or American Express). Special pick ups scheduled on the same day after the driver has already been there will be charged a $15 trip fee if the driver is able to return.
City Clean Up
There are no city wide clean up days offered.
Containers / Carts
Residents that need more than one 90-gallon cart can go to the City Collectors Office 847-360-0334 and purchase a sticker for $156 for each additional cart needed. The sticker is good for one year and the cost will be prorated at $3 per week. Purchased stickers will then be placed on the additional 90-gallon cart(s) delivered by Veolia. Each year the sticker color will change so a new sticker(s) will have to be purchased yearly.
Holidays (no trash pick up):
- New Years Day
- Memorial Day
- July 4th
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
If your pick up day falls on or after one of the above holidays, pick up will be delayed by one day. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, there will be no delay for residential service. If the holiday falls on a Sunday the holiday will be observed on Monday and trash pick up will be delayed one day. Any other holidays do not affect the trash service. If trash is not out on a regular pick up day for any other holiday, Veolia will not go back and pick it up.
Missing, Stolen or Broken Carts
Veolia will not replace missing or stolen carts. Broken carts due to overloading will not be replaced. Residents will have to purchase a replacement cart for $60 each. Broken carts due to normal wear and tear will be exchanged at no charge.
Payment of Services
Trash, recycling and yard waste are billed to the resident thru property tax bill.
Pick Up Times
Residents must use approved 18-gallon recycle bin(s). First bin is provided to the resident and additional bins may be obtained form Waukegan Public Works (847-625-0944). Residents cannot purchase or get replacements from Veolia. Please make sure recyclables are clean and empty. Do not place in plastic bags or recycle plastic bags. Mixed paper and newspaper must be placed in a brown paper bag or bundled with string or twine to prevent them from blowing. Bags and bundles should not be heavier than 50 lbs. All other recyclable items can be mixed together in the 18-gallon bin. Improperly prepared recyclables and non-recyclable items will not be picked up. A notice stating why the items were left behind will be provided by the driver.
Tire Pick Up
Residents are limited to four automobile tires off the rim per household per year.
Service is limited to 4 times per year:
- 2nd week of March
- 1st week of June
- 2nd week of September
- 1st week of December
Service is limited to trash and building material within the one 90-gallon cart provided by Veolia. Lid must be able to close on the container. Carts too heavy to be serviced will not be emptied. Trash items that do not fit inside the cart, except for two bulk items allowed, will not be picked up unless an extra pick up has been scheduled. Hazardous materials are not allowed. Call SWALCO at 847-336-9340 for information on disposal.
Old appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves, water heaters, washers, dryers, humidifiers, dishwashers, air conditioners and other similar appliances will be picked up at no charge. Residents must call Veolia at 847-623-3870 by 2 p.m. Tuesday to schedule a pick up. Items must be placed at the curb after 5 p.m. Tuesday evening for Wednesday pick-up. Maximum of four items per address per pick up.
The season runs from March 15 thru December 15. Residents may place yard waste at the curb on their normal pick-up day. Twigs and branches with a maximum 2 inch diameter must be bundled and tied with twine in lengths of five feet or less, not heavier than 50 lbs. each and the bundle not bigger than an 18 inch diameter. Lawn clippings must be placed on the curb in biodegradable brown yard waste bags or in plastic 32-gallon or smaller containers clearly marked yard waste only or Y/W. Bags, cans and bundles must not exceed maximum weight of 50 lbs. Sod and dirt are not considered yard waste items. Christmas trees will be taken for two weeks after the holiday.
Vacant structures are to be temporarily closed up / secured so as not to become an attractive nuisance. In addition, any structure closed up in excess of six months shall be considered abandoned and the city may pursue whatever action is afforded to it under this code to cause the abatement of the said public nuisance. The exterior of all vacant properties shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and free from weeds and/or plant growth in excess of 10 inches throughout the cutting season (May 1 through October 30).