ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

BUREAU OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

James Wilson, Secretary

312.603.0540

James.Wilson@cookcountyil.gov

Mission

The mission of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is to serve the public and assist the County Board in promoting proper development of land in conformance with the Cook County Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Mandates

The Zoning Board of Appeals (the department) is mandated with the maintenance of zoning records and forwarding findings of facts and recommendations to the Board of Commissioners pursuant to 13.3.6 of the Cook County Zoning Ordinance.

The Zoning Board of Appeals (the board) is mandated with hearing and deciding upon zoning appeals applications pursuant to 13.3.2 of the Cook County Zoning Ordinance.

Key Activities and Services

  • Expedite zoning applications in a timely manner and provide direction to all participants of the zoning process in an unbiased and transparent manner.
  • Serve public notices pursuant to the requirements of the Cook County Zoning Ordinances and Illinois Open Meetings Act.
  • Submit findings of facts and recommendations to the Cook County Board of Commissioners based upon the standards and requirements set forth in the Cook County Zoning Ordinance.

Discussion of 2017 Department and Program Outcomes

In FY 2017 the Zoning Board of Appeals provided exemplary public service as proven by its 100% participant satisfaction rating. The Zoning Board of Appeals will continue to provide excellent public service by improving its public hearing process substantially within the next few years.

The Zoning Board has continued improving efficiency through the utilization and implantation of technology solutions. Through the implementation of the Zoning Permit Workflow Application, the Zoning Board has drastically reduced the need for paper consumption and increased collaboration with the Department of Building and Zoning. Using technology where feasible to improve public service and increase process efficiency will continue to be a priority.

The Zoning Board of Appeals currently enjoys a 100% accuracy rate for serving notices. The Zoning Board is still in the process of improving upon its notices by creating templates to increase consistency. Improving notice consistency will help to bring down the average number of days, between referral dates to public hearing dates, from the current 31 days. Improving the zoning process will have real world benefits to the Cook County tax payer. It will mean zoning application processed faster, construction occurring quicker and businesses opening sooner.

Budget, Cost Analysis and 2018 Strategic Initiatives and Goals

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a minimally staffed departmentof only 5 full time employees (FTEs). Personal Services, including 5 FTEs and 7 board members, is the largest cost driver of the department, accounting for approximately 91% of the Zoning Board appropriations in FY 2017. Serving public notice is another cost driver,but accounts for only 1.5% of appropriations. The Zoning Board of Appeals operates on a very lean budget with the majority of its cost directed to its staff functions. The Zoning Board operates with minimal overhead cost, accounting for less than 1% of total FY2017 appropriations. In previous years,the Zoning Board took measures to drastically reduce cost related to travel expenses and transcription services. The Zoning Board will continue to assess budget priorities to ensure it is maintaining the leanest possible budget with no externalities to public service. The Zoning Board served approximately 2000 people in FY2017 and projects to serve slightly less individuals in FY2018. Service level is based upon the number of people served public notices.

The FY2018 Strategic Initiatives and Goals are to:

  • Provide exemplary service: The ZBA aims to conduct its public hearings in a fair, transparent and equitable manner. As evidenced by customer satisfaction surveys, the ZBA met its FY 2016 target and currently continues to meet its FY 2017 targets.
  • Provide timely public notices: The ZBA provides proper public notice as required, and consistent with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The ZBA met its FY 2016 target and currently continues to meet its FY 2017 target.
  • Provide prompt findings and recommendations: The ZBA submits findings of facts and recommendations to the Cook County Board of Commissioners based upon the standards and requirements set forth in the Cook County Zoning Ordinance.