Permits & Approvals

Update on SMC's PJDscattail circle-kindpng-pantanal wtl plants cattail clip art

To: Enforcement Officers, Certified Wetland Specialists and Other Interested Parties:
On August 30, 2021, the pre-2015 definition for Waters of the United States (WOTUS) went back into effect “until further notice.” What does this mean for the Jurisdictional Determination (JD) process? Until further notice, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) will perform preliminary wetland jurisdictional determinations (PJDs) based on the current definition of WOTUS in 33 CFR, Part 328.3, with supplemental JD guidance from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as available.
SMC’s wetland staff will continue to perform PJD field reviews in the company of a representative from the USACE-Chicago District. Areas not meeting the current federal WOTUS definition will be considered Isolated Waters of Lake County (IWLC), unless such areas meet the exclusion criteria listed under the definition of IWLC in Appendix A of the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO, as amended). 

See SMC’s fillable form (PDF) for requesting a PJD and/or boundary verification of IWLC. If you have any questions regarding SMC’s PJD services, please contact our wetland specialists: Glenn Westman at [email protected] or Juli Crane at [email protected].

Permitting Overview

urban and wtlSMC administers the countywide Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO). The WDO was adopted to ensure that new development does not increase existing stormwater problems or create new ones. The WDO establishes minimum countywide stormwater management standards, including standards related to floodplains, detention, soil erosion/sediment control, water quality treatment, and wetlands.

A Watershed Development Permit (WDP) is required for major and minor development in the county. SMC is the permitting authority for Non-Certified communities. SMC has delegated WDO permitting authority to Certified Communities for incorporated areas and to the Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department (PB&D) for unincorporated areas. 
Even in Certified Communities, however, certain floodplain and floodway development applications are forwarded to SMC for review and approval. For example, SMC permits public road developments (except State/Federal), developments by the Lake County Forest Preserve District, and any other development as specified by intergovernmental agreements with the SMC.

Types of Permits Issued by SMC

Soil Erosion/Sediment Control Approval

A U.S Army Corps of Engineers-generated SE/SC review and site inspection process for impacts to Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).

Earth Change Approval

SMC oversees earth change approvals (i.e., grading permits) in Non-Certified Communities and other areas under SMC’s jurisdiction.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE) Approval

SMC reviews and approves hydrologic and hydraulic models to estimate the base flood elevation resulting from critical storm events.