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Community Development Department

3600 Kirchoff Road
Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008
(847) 506-6030 (847) 483-0365 Fax
Effective July 1, 2009 - Office Hours - 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday

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Frequently Asked Questions - (Related Primarily to Residential Projects)

Click the section of interest below
General Information | Inspection |
Licensing | Electrical |Plumbing | HVAC | Buildling | Deck | Property Maintenance | Rental Dwelling | Signage | Health

General Information

Q. What are your hours of operation?

A. The Community Development Department is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Inspections are scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - every half-hour.

Q. What is your telephone number?

A. 847-506-6030

Q. What is your fax number?

A. 847-483-0365.

Note: Faxed applications and bonds are NOT acceptable.

Q. Where are you located?

A. We are located in the City Hall Municipal Building at 3600 Kirchoff Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008. We are just east of Route 53.

Q. Can I pay by credit card or check?

A. We accept cash, checks and all major credit cards.

Q. How do I obtain a Building Permit?

A. We suggest you review the information contained in this site for your specific project to determine the requirements. Information handouts and permit applications are available for downloading. Click on the Forms & Applications link.

Q. What are the regulations and specifications for construction projects?

A. Most typical building projects require permits. As a quick reference and service to the public, the Community Development Department maintains handouts on common construction projects. The individual handouts are available at our department or you may download them from the website – just click on Applications and Handouts.

Q. Is my permit ready?

A. When your permit application has been reviewed and approved, you will receive a call from our department staff advising you that your permit is ready. Our follow-up and notification process is very efficient so we ask that you not call for status of a permit; if we have not called you, it is still in process. If additional information is needed, a call will be made advising you that your plan review is ready.

Q. Why did I get a plan review instead of a permit?

A. A plan review is a point-by-point letter advising how your submittal needs to be revised or changed to meet the building code.

Q. What is a “stop work” order?

A. A “stop work” order is issued for jobs that were started without a permit or for jobs that are not being constructed according to the approved plans. When a stop work order is issued, no work may take place until the situation has been resolved and the stop work order has been removed by the Community Development Department.

Q. What if I need to make changes to my approved plans during construction?

A. Any changes must be approved by the Community Development Department prior to the work being done. A cover letter explaining the changes along with three (3) sets of revised drawings should to be submitted for our review. Once the changes have been approved you will be notified and you will be issued revised job site copies.

Q. What is the purpose of a refundable bond?

A. A refundable bond is added to the permit fee to insure the work is inspected as required or to cover the cost of excessive re-inspections. Once the project has passed the final inspection the bond refund will be processed and returned to you. Generally, it takes three to six weeks for the bond to reach you.

Q. Is a permit necessary for a garage sale?

A. No permit is required for garage sales. Garage sale signs must be placed in the ground and not on poles or trees.

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Inspection

Q. Do I have to be present for inspections?

A. It is recommended but not required unless access to the home is necessary. Approved job site plans must be on-site and available to the inspector on all inspections.

Q. How much notice does the Community Development Department need to schedule an inspection?

A. 24-hour notice is required for inspections. Inspections are scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m,or use our online inspection link.

Q. If I fail my inspection do I have to pay to have more reinspections?

A. You are allowed two inspections per step in your project, one (1) inspection and one (1) reinspection. If you have excessive reinspections you may be charged for the additional inspections. If at any time you have questions regarding your project inspection requirements please contact our department.

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Licensing

Q. Can a business operate out of a home?

A. Home occupations which are an accessory use (or special use) of a dwelling unit carried on by the members of the immediate family residing on the premises are allowed. The use must be clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling unit for residential purposes and does not change the character of the residence or adversely affect the residential character of the neighborhood. No signage is allowed. A one-time registration of your home occupation and an annual city business license are required.

Q. What must be done to open a business in Rolling Meadows?

A. You must complete the business license application. The fees for licenses are based on the square footage of the premises, type of business and the month you are going to be opening.

Q. Do contractors need a Rolling Meadows business license?

A. Contractors working in the City require a Rolling Meadows business license even if a permit is not required.  Exceptions include state licensed plumbers and electrical contractors registered with an approved municipality.

Contractor licenses are valid for one (1) year from the date they are purchased; renewal notices are not mailed to the licensee.  A contractor is required to have a current, valid license before we can issue a permit for their project.  All contractors will require a minimum of a $100,000 Certificate of Insurance policy and some types of work will also require a bond.

Q. Is a license required to sell items door-to-door?

A. Yes, all solicitors or peddlers are required to have a valid license. The solicitor would need to apply for a Solicitor/Peddlers License. Once the solicitor/peddler has been approved and the fee paid they will be given a photo identification badge that they must display.

Q. Are Pedestrian Solicitation (Tag Days) allowed?

A. Yes, but each solicitating agency must register their Tag Day with the Community Development Department and only one (1) group can be at an intersection at a time. Please call our office at (847) 506-6030 for further details and requirements.

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Electrical

Q: Where are the G.F.C.I. outlets needed in a kitchen?

A. All the kitchen counter outlets should be G.F.C.I. type, including an island outlet.

Q. Is a separate circuit for bathroom G.F.C.I. outlets required?

A. Yes

Q. Are can lights permitted in the closet?

A. Yes, but you need the proper clearance of 6 inches from the front edge of the shelf to the back edge of the fixture.

Q. I only have a 60 amp electrical service, do I need to upgrade my service before I sell my house?

A. No. But, if you remodel or otherwise change the electrical in your home, it must be brought up to the current code.

Q. How high can my service mast riser be?

A. The service mast riser must be strong enough to support the service cables. A minimum height of 10 feet above grade or deck is required.

Q. Can I use plastic conduit?

A. Yes, but only underground outside, buried 18” below grade or by special permission from the Community Development Department.

Q. Can I use Romex (non metallic sheathed cable)?

A. No

Q. Can I use BX (armoured cable)?

A. Yes, BX can be fished down existing walls & ceilings and must transition to metal conduit within 5’ of being accessible. If BX is over 6’ in length it must contain a (green) ground wire.

Q. Can I use a cord connector for my furnace?

A. No, the furnace must be wired with approved conduit, wire and boxes.

Q. Can I use Greenfield (flexible metal conduit)?

A. Yes, Greenfield can be used to be fished down existing walls but must transition to conduit within 5 ft. of being accessible. If the Greenfield is over 6 ft. in length it must contain a (green) ground wire. Greenfield can also be used where flexibility is needed.

Q. Can I use pulling “L’s” behind drywall?

A. No

Q. What outlets do I need for my swimming pool?

A. You need one (1) single twist lock outlet on a dedicated G.F.C.I. protected circuit between 5 ft. and 10 ft. from the edge of the pool. You also need one (1) G.F.C.I. protected outlet between 10 ft. to 20 ft. from the edge of the pool.

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Plumbing

Q. Can PVC pipe be installed underground?

A. Yes, except there are special requirements for penetrating a foundation.

Q. Is a floor drain required in the crawl space?

A. Yes, if the crawl space has a concrete floor and there is plumbing installed above.

Q. Do I need a permit for a water heater installation? (new or replacement)

A. Yes

Q. What type of pipe is used for an outdoor sewer repair or a cleanout?

A. Type SDR26 plastic pipe in the most common. The code allows others.

Q. Can I bury a valve or union in a wall or ceiling?

A. No, unless it is made accessible by installing an access door or panel.

Q. Can I use plastic water pipe?

A. No, type “M” or heavier copper or galvanized pipe is required.

Q. Can my dishwasher discharge into the garbage disposal?

A. No, the State Plumbing Code does not allow dishwashers to discharge into garbage disposals.

Q. How much clearance is required between my flue pipe and any combustibles?

A. Single wall pipe requires a minimum of 6 inch clearance & B-vent a minimum of 1 inch clearance.

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HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning)

Q. What type of material must be used to vent a residential clothes dryer?

A. Dryer exhaust ducts must be constructed of metal and have a smooth interior finish, not be connected with screws. It is to be sized per the dryer manufacturer’s instruction but no less than 4 inches in diameter. Venting is to terminate to the exterior of the building.

Q. Can the air-conditioner condenser unit be placed or replaced in the side yard?

A. As a general rule, air-conditioner condenser units are not allowed in the side yard. Please go to Forms and Applications and review the handout for further details about air conditioner placement on your property.

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Building

Q. Can I build a screen room or addition on a trench foundation?

A. Spread footing / foundation and trench foundation are both acceptable when properly designed to support the loads.

Q.Can I build a sunroom on my existing deck?

A. Yes, if the existing deck pier foundation is adequate to support the load.

Q. I want to build a new detached garage or shed. How far from my side yard does it have to be?

A. An accessory building constructed in the rear of a lot in a single-family residence shall be located 30 inches from the side lot line when the building is set back 65 ft. from the front property lot line and not less than 10 ft. when located with a setback less than 65 ft. from the front property lot line.

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Deck

Q: Why must the footing be in the ground a minimum of 42"?

A: In our climate frost may reach down into the earth a depth of 42". If the concrete is down that far, the frost stands less of a chance of heaving the footing.

Q: Why can't the 4x4 support post be sunk into the concrete when the pier is poured?

A: Although the lumber is treated with a preservative, there still exists the possibility that the lumber may deteriorate or rot at a later date. By using post anchors, repair and/or replacement of the post is made much easier resulting in decks that are better maintained.

Q: I bought my deck as a kit from the lumberyard and the building department says it won't meet the Code. Why?

A: Generally the material in the kit will meet the code, but the sizes of the lumber may not. Rolling Meadows code requires a 40-lb. live load for the deck. The lumberyard may be figuring on a 30 lb. live load, thus the lumber sizes may not be large enough to meet the Rolling Meadows Code.

Q: Why a maximum spacing of the decking boards of 1/4"?

A: Safety! There is less chance of high heels getting caught in the gap or shoes rolling sideways causing a twisted ankle.

Q: When is a railing required around a deck?

A: When the finished deck surface is higher than 30" above the adjacent ground.

Q: Will the Community Development Department accept beam, joist and decking spans that are inconsistent with the generally accepted span tables?

A: It's possible, but only when the plans are sealed by a registered architect or structural engineer.

Q: May my deck come in contact with the ground?

A: It may, but it is discouraged. If it must, then treated lumber rated for ground contact is mandatory. The deck must still be structurally supported by girders, posts and piers and not by the ground it contacts.

Q: Can I use landscape fabric under my deck instead of 6 mil. visqueen?

A: Yes, this is for weed prevention and is not a vapor barrier.

Q: What is the code for residential stairs?

A: The minimum tread is ten inches with a nosing not less than ¾” but not more than 1 ¼”. The maximum riser is 7 ¾”. The greatest riser height shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8”.

Q: What is the code for guardrails?

A: Porches, decks, balconies or raised floor surfaces located more than thirty inches above the floor or grade require a guardrail not less than thirty-six inches in height. Open sides of stairs thirty inches above the floor or grade require a guardrail not less than thirty-four inches in height measured vertically form the nosing of the treads.

Q: What is the code for a handrail?

A: Stairs with four (4) or more risers are required to have a handrail between thirty and thirty-eight inches high measured vertically from the nosing of the tread on one (1) side of the stair. Handrails have to be continuous the full length of the stair. Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 1 ½” between the wall and the handrail. Handrail gripping size shall have a cross section with a diameter of 1 ¼ to 2 inches.

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Property Maintenance

Q: What temperature must my landlord maintain in my apartment during the cold winter months?

A: The owner or any building who rents or leases a unit must maintain the temperature at 65°F during the day and 60°F at night from October 1st thru May 15th .

Q. My neighbor’s tree is hanging over my yard and resting on my roof. Can you make him trim his tree?

A. A neighborly approach to such situations is best. Otherwise, it is considered a civil matter between parties and the city does not have involvement. You may also trim any portion of the tree hanging over your property.

Q. My neighbor never cuts his grass, can anything be done?

A. Yes. There is an ordinance that does not allow grass or weeds to exceed 8 inches in height. If the grass is not cut after a written notice, the City can have the grass and/or weeds cut at the property owner’s expense.

Q. My neighbor has a junk car in his driveway and it looks terrible. What can be done?

A. The City regulations require that all vehicles be maintained in operating conditions. The City will give the violator a written notice with a date by which to have the violation corrected.

Q. My neighbor has junk and garbage spread all over his yard. What can be done?

A. The City has specific regulations on outside storage in any residential lot. There are also sanitation regulations for the disposal of garbage.

Q. Do fences and sheds have to be maintained?

A. Yes, all accessory structures must be maintained in good condition and be structurally sound.

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Rental Dwelling

Q. If I rent out my property, do I need a license?

A. The City has a rental dwelling licensing program that covers all rental apartments, condominiums, townhouse and single family homes in the city. A rental inspection helps to assure that the home has met minimum housing standards.

Q. How do I get my rental property licensed?

A. You can print an application form from the Forms and Applications section of the website or pick up one at city hall. After you complete the form, submit it to our office with the appropriate fee for processing. Licenses are good for one (1) year and expire on May 31st.

Q. What do the inspectors look for during their inspection?

A. The inspectors will be doing a property maintenance and safety inspection. Some of the areas they will be inspecting include checking to see that the smoke detectors are in working order and that the electrical panel is labeled. They will also be assuring that there are no broken windows or leaky plumbing fixtures and they will be checking to see that there is no overcrowding of the unit. The inspectors are assuring that the property is being maintained in a safe and sanitary manner and both exterior and interior areas will be inspected.

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Signage

Q. How many “For Sale/For Rent” signs can I have?

A. For Sale/ For Rent signs are only allowed in the R-1, R-2, R-4, & R-5 Zoning District. You may have one (1) sign, no larger than 9 sq. ft in size. It must be located a minimum of 15 ft. from the front property line.

Q. Can I have “Open House/ Garage Sale” signs?

A. Open house signs are only allowed for R-1, R-2, R-4 & R-5 Zoning District. Signs are only allowed on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All signs must be removed nightly.

Q. Where can I place my “Open House/ Garage Sale” sign?

A. These types of signs are allowed on the public parkway at various intersections. However they shall not interfere with any motor vehicle driver’s line of sight. Signs may not be placed on fences, trees, utility poles or walls.

Q. I live in a condominium. Am I allowed to have any type of signs?

A. No, the R-3 Multi-Family Zoning District does not allow “For Sale”, “For Rent” or “Open House” signs to be displayed on the common area or off-premise.

Q. My contractor wants to put an advertising sign in my yard, is that allowed?

A. No. Portable advertising signs are not allowed.

Q. Can I have a political campaign sign?

A. Political campaign signs are allowed. They can only be displayed for 60 days and must be removed within 48 hours after an election. Political signs are not permitted on public property.

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Health

Q: What are the requirements for opening a new food service establishment or retail food establishment?

A: In addition to the health regulations, the Community Development Department has building, zoning, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection requirements. Please click on the Forms and Applications link to obtain a copy of the Restaurant Construction Guidelines.

Q: How do I report a complaint about a restaurant?

A: Please complete the complaint reporting form on this site or give us a call.

Q: What requirements do I need to follow to have a festival, fair, bake sale, barbecue, etc.?

A: You must obtain an outdoor activity permit and a temporary food permit from the Health Department. Depending on circumstances, other permits (tent, sign, etc.) may also be necessary.

Q: How do I report a complaint about the house/apartment/motel/hotel that I am renting?

A: Please complete the complaint reporting form on this site or give us a call.

Q: I want to do catering out of my home, what are the requirements?

A: Zoning regulations prohibit such a home occupation.

Q: I’m going to buy an existing food establishment. What are the requirements?

A: Prior to purchasing the establishment please review the Restaurant Construction Guidelines to determine what will be required to bring the facility into compliance. You can obtain a copy of the Restaurant Construction Guidelines by clicking on Forms & Applications.

Q: Where can I get a copy of the Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Code?

A: http://www.l egis.state.il. u s/commission/jcar/admincode/077/07700750sections.html

Q: Does the City of Rolling Meadows provide flu shots?

A: No, but please visit the links provided to find locations administering the flu shot. http://www.co.co ok.il.us/ or http://www.n ch.org/

Q: What should I do if I find a dead bird or squirrel?

A: Dead birds and squirrels can be double bagged and disposed with the regular trash.

Q: What should I do if I have a mold problem in my home?

A: Please visit the indoor air quality link provided and contact an environmental health consulting company.

www.id ph.state.il.us

Q: How many pets can I own?

A: Residents are allowed a total of four (4) dogs, cats, or other household domestic animals.

Q: How do I dispose of used needles properly?

A: Please visit the link provided. http://www.e pa.gov

Q: What temperature must my landlord maintain in my apartment during the cold winter months?

A: The owner or any building who rents or leases a unit must maintain the temperature at 65°F during the day and 60°F at night from October 1st thru May 15th .

Q: Are food service employees allowed to eat while preparing food?

A: No. Employees may only consume food and/or use tobacco products in designated break areas that are separate from all food handling and dishwashing areas.

Q: Do food service employees have to wash their hands after they handle money and before they handle food?

A: Employees (prior to handling food) must wash their hands after any activity that may have contaminated their hands. Therefore, they must wash their hands after handling money and before handling food.

Q: Is it acceptable for food handlers to handle food with their bare hands?

A: Generally speaking, the answer is no. Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods (foods that will not be undergoing any further cooking) must be minimized. Therefore, the use of a proper utensil or single-use gloves is required when handling ready-to-eat foods.

Q: What should I do if I think I have a food borne illness?

A: If you think you have become ill from eating contaminated food seek medical attention immediately. You should have a stool specimen cultured to determine the cause of illness. Please complete the complaint form or contact us.

Q: What is the proper temperature for your refrigerator?

A: Refrigerators should stay at 41 °F (5 °C) or less. A temperature of 41 °F (5 °C) or less is important because it slows the growth of most bacteria. The temperature won't kill the bacteria, but it will limit them from multiplying, and the fewer there are, the less likely you are to get sick from them. Freezing at zero °F (minus 18 °C) or less stops bacterial growth (although it won't kill all bacteria already present).

Q: My power went off for several hours. Is the food in my refrigerator and freezer safe to eat?

A: This depends greatly on two factors: 1) How long the power was interrupted and 2) whether you opened the refrigerator or freezer doors after your power was lost. Most refrigerators and freezers not opened after a loss of power will maintain their temperature for quite some time. Refrigeration units can usually maintain a safe temperature for 8-12 hours; while freezers, if kept closed, can maintain a safe temperature for 24-48 hours. If the refrigeration or freezer units have been opened, much of the temperature holding capacity has been lost. If your power is interrupted for more than four hours, the rule of "when in doubt, throw it out" applies to foods in your refrigerator. The foods in the freezer may be used if not completely thawed for more than four (4) hours.

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