Permits & Approvals and Early Assistance

Department Permitting Process

The Planning, Building and Development Department processes and issues a variety of permits and approvals in unincorporated Lake County. If your property is located in a village or city please contact their office.


Certain minor improvements including re-roofing (if the work will be done by a roofing contractor licensed by the State of Illinois), re-siding, water heater replacement, window replacement, fences,  sheds, keeping chickens, hoophouses, etc., subject to certain conditions, require only a registration and nominal registration fee.

Early Assistance

The Early Assistance (EA) process is a useful tool for providing an applicant with the best experience with the permitting and/or approval process. Its purpose is to save customer time and effort through coordinated and timely County guidance for projects in unincorporated Lake County. The EA process is most effective if the customer:
  • has an immediate objective in mind;
  • has a vision about what they want to do and a specific site where they want to do it; and
  • is the owner of the land or has the owner's permission to use it. 
The EA process can be initiated in two ways:
  1. customer requested, prior to applying for a permit; or
  2. a project manager (PM) determines that the EA process would be helpful during discussions with a customer because it is the PM's opinion that the project warrants an EA letter or meeting.

Early Assistance Letters

 Early Assistance letters for residential projects are provided at no charge (This does not included residential subdivision).These letters identify project requirements and design issues before a project begins. Request an Early Assistance Letter by contacting a Project Manager at 847-377-2600.

Early Assistance Meetings

Early Assistance meetings can offer guidance regarding solutions to challenges present on a complicated site. In addition, it is possible that we may be able to help you locate consultants who can assist you with your design. The meeting will be coordinated by a PM who will ensure all applicable Lake County departments are present to evaluate your proposal, as it relates to County regulations, and to provide you with answers to questions you may have about your project. Meeting notes will be provided to you. Request an Early Assistance Meeting by contacting a project manager at 847-377-2600.

Applying for a permit without Early Assistance

If an Early Assistance is not necessary for your project, you may download a permit application. Applications must be submitted in person at our office by either the property owner or his/her authorized agent. Please call ahead if you have questions about the submittal materials and to ensure that your application submittal is complete. 

Types of Permits

The types of Permits and Approvals issued by the Department are:     

    • Building Permit - Required for new construction, additions, alterations, garages, sheds, fences, signs, plumbing or electrical work, etc.
    • Change of Use Permit - Required for changing the use of the building or land
    • Demolition Permit - Required for demolishing a building
    • Site Development Permit - Required for grading, filling, or moving of earth
    • Temporary Use Permit - Required for establishing a temporary use such as a fund raiser, outdoor concerts, Christmas tree, farm produce, or food sales, etc.
    • Conditional Use Permit - Required to establish certain special uses
    • Administrative Conditional Use Permit - Issued for use legally existing prior to changes in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
    • Zoning Approvals - Various types of approvals such as rezonings and variations.
    • Subdivision Approvals - Required for the subdivision of land and applications involving subdivisions.

    View a list of projects or activities which do not require permits.

    More Information

    We encourage our customers to contact our office at 847-377-2600 if they have any questions relating to permits or approvals.