Frequently Asked Questions

There are several circumstances in which you won't need a building permit and many in which you will need one.
The easy permit process (EPP) is designed mainly for construction work and building changes that don't require an architect. The fastest and easiest way to get an Easy Permit is with FormWork, a third-party application.
From the Department of Planning and Development (PDF): "There is currently a non-refundable fee of $1,025 for a zoning change to be paid to the City of Chicago Department of Revenue. This fee includes $25 for a sign furnished by the Office of the Zoning Administrator to be posted by the applicant on the subject property. The fee for a Planned Unit Development is $1,500. Please refer to the fee schedule in Section 17-13-0103 of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance."

A self-certified architect is not a professional who certified their own architecture license, but someone who took the City of Chicago Department of Building's self-certification permit program training class. These people can then certify that their submitted plans are code-compliant, eliminating certain DOB plan reviews.

  • Demolition
  • Easy permit process
  • Electric wiring
  • Elevator equipment
  • New construction
  • Permit extension
  • Porch construction
  • Reinstate a revoked permit
  • Renovation/alteration
  • Scaffolding
  • Signs
  • Uncategorized

The City of Chicago and County of Cook want to accelerate job growth in seven Industrial Growth Zones by providing a dedicated point person to streamline entitlements and approvals, and provide monetary reimbursement for environmental cleanup.

The seven Industrial Growth Zones intersect 31 municipalities: Alsip, Bedford Park, Blue Island, Burnham, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Chicago, Chicago Ridge, Country Club Hills, Crestwood, Dixmoor, Dolton, East Hazel Crest, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lansing, Lynwood, Markham, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Phoenix, Posen, Riverdale, Robbins, South Holland, Thornton, and Worth.

Visit the official website to request enrollment in the program.

Business assistance programs

The Chicago Department of Planning & Development administers or assists 21 business assistance and incentive programs.

Name Description Category More Info
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Businesses receive grants for specific purposes outlined in redevelopment agreements. Financial Incentives 312-744-0765
TIFWorks Workforce training for companies located in TIF districts. Financial Incentives 312-744-4171
Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) Repair or remodel buildings; grants are not repaid. Financial Incentives 312-360-3300
Streamlined-TIF Faster grants for up to 25 percent ($1 million max) of renovation, expansion, or redevelopments costs. Financial Incentives 312-744-0765
Industrial Development Revenue Bonds Proceeds lent to manufacturing companies to finance development projects. Financial Incentives 312-744-0765
Riverfront Improvement Fund Replace or rehabilitate deteriorated river walls. Financial Incentives 312-744-5756
501(c)(3) Bonds City-issued bonds on behalf of a non-profit organization to purchase or rehab buildings, equipment, and land. Financial Incentives 312-744-9413
Landmark Designation Designated buildings are eligible for permit fee waivers, property tax credits, and federal rehab tax credits. Financial Incentives 312-744-3201
New Markets Tax Credits Federal initiative to subsidize development in areas experiencing economic distress. Financial Incentives 312-744-0892
Requests for Proposals (RFP) Redevelopment proposals for city-owned land and buildings. Land Sale Programs DPD Website
Small Business Loan Program For businesses with less than $2 million net sales in last two years, or new businesses without collateral for a standard loan. Financial Incentives 312-744-3356
Negotiated Sales Program Cost write-downs when buying city-owned property can be exchanged for public benefit redevelopment projects. Land Sale Programs 312-744-5263
Class 6(b) Property Tax Incentive 12-year reduction in assessments from the standard industrial rate. Property Tax Incentive 312-744-7223
Class 7(a) and 7(b),Tax Incentive 12-year reduction in assessments from the standard commercial rate. Property Tax Incentive 312-744-9413
Class 8 Property Tax Incentive 12-year reduction in assessments from the standard commercial and industrial rate for projects in economically depressed areas. Property Tax Incentive 312-744-7223
Class L Property Tax Incentive 12-year reduction in assessments for designated landmarks or contributing buildings in designated landmark districts. Property Tax Incentive 312-744-3238
Class C Property Tax Incentive 12-year reduction in assessments for commercial and industrial properties that require remediation of environmental contamination. Property Tax Incentive 312-744-9413
Special Service Areas (SSA) Local property tax levies to support business support services and programs, including area maintenance and beautification, marketing, and business retention. Business Area Support 312-744-8280
Local Industrial Retention Initiative Funds non-profit organizations providing economic development services to companies in industrial corridors. Business Area Support 312-744-1867
Neighborhood Business Development Centers Resources and assistance for existing and new businesses. Business Area Support 312-744-6249
Enterprise Zone Program Tax incentives and exemptions for businesses within or relocating to the six Chicago Enterprise Zones. Sales Tax Incentives 312-744-6502
DPD Website

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