Lee County adopted zoning regulations in 1961 in order to promote and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the county. Zoning regulates the uses allowed on land and the location of improvements on that land and the regulations are enacted according to the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) (55 ILCS 515-12001 et seq)
The unincorporated area of the county is divided into districts or "zones". Certain types of uses are allowed in each of these zones. The ordinance lists those uses. Anyone building in the county should be aware of the underlying zoning on their land so that they can become aware of what activities are allowed under zoning.
- Agricultural Exemption: Certain agricultural uses are exempt from meeting local zoning requirements according to state law. If a citizen believes their proposed use may be exempt. he may verify that possibility with the Zoning Department.
- Construction: Permits are required for all construction projects including:
- Agricultural buildings
- Privacy fences
- Swimming pools (above or below ground)
- Enforcement: The Zoning Office enforces the zoning ordinance by first sending a violation notice for the offense. If the first attempt at compliance fails, a second and final written notice and order of compliance is issued which orders the violator to come into compliance. Failure to do so will require a complaint letter to be filed with the State's Attorney Office for further action.
- Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA): The Zoning Board of Appeals is a five-member board organized under the zoning ordinance to hear several types of zoning issues These include:
- Request for changes in zoning classification
- Permission for certain uses under zoning names as "special uses" in the zoning ordinance
- Request for variance of the zoning ordinance
- Appeal of a determination made by the zoning administrator
Zoning Board of Appeals
An application can be made for a public hearing, pay a filing fee and present the case to the ZBA. In the case of appeals of determinations made by the Zoning Administrator, the ZBA makes a final administrative decision. However, in all other instances, the ZBA makes a recommendation to the full County Board for their final consideration. A recommendation from the ZBA to the full County Board requires no less than a 3 to 2 vote. Any less than a 3 to 2 vote will be sent to the full County Board without a recommendation from the ZBA.