Recently Passed & Most Requested Ordinances

Here are a few of the most requested ordinances for the City of Evanston. Click here to view the complete City Code.

Cigarette, Tobacco and Nicotine Ordinances

Cigarettes, Tobacco and Liquid Nicotine Products

Legal Tobacco Purchasing Age

Ordinance Banning Hand-held Cell Phones While Driving

Ordinance Banning Hand-held Cell Phones While Driving

The Evanston City Council passed an ordinance making it illegal to speak on a hand-held cell phone while driving. Drivers, as of March 15th, 2010, will now be required to use a hands-free device in a public safety effort to curtail distracted driving. The City ordinance calls for a $50 fine, with an added $200 penalty if the violation occurs at the time of a traffic accident.

Anti-Idling Ordinance

Anti-Idling Ordinance

Evanston City Council adopted an anti-idling ordinance at the June 26, 2006, City Council meeting. The new ordinance prohibits standing or parked vehicles that are over 8,000 lbs. in gross weight from idling their engines for more than five minutes in any 60 minute period.

Panhandling Ordinance

Anti-Panhandling Ordinance

BBQ Grill Ordinance (308.3.1.1: Open-flame cooking grills)

Barbecue grills shall not be used on any stairs or porches that serve as a means of egress. The use of barbecues will be allowed on balconies or at ground level provided the following regulations are complied with:

(a) The use of a cooking grill which creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation shall be prohibited.

(b) Read the owners manual for safety guidelines.

(c) The use of the barbecue shall not cause the building's fire alarm system to activate.

(d) A portable fire extinguisher shall be located in close proximity to the barbeque, but not affixed to the grill. The fire extinguisher shall be at least a 10 pound ABC type extinguisher.

(e) Extreme caution shall be exercised when lighting the barbecue to prevent flames from elevating to an excessive height.

(f) Hot ashes or cinders shall be deposited into noncombustible receptacles free of all combustible material and away from combustible construction.

Curfew Ordinance

The curfew ordinance is available here

False Alarm Ordinance


Get an Alarm Permit. False alarms place the lives and property of community members in jeopardy. While police and firefighters are responding to alarms that turn out to be false, they are less likely available to respond to alarms that are valid. In addition, the occupants are less likely to believe in their system with repeated false activations.

In 2002 the Police and Fire Departments responded to over 6,000 false alarms (Police 4,700 and Fire 1,333). Many of these alarms resulted from smaller systems located in residential settings. In an effort to reduce the number of false activations, City Council approved the following modifications to the false alarm ordinance in July of 2003:

  • Reduced the number of free false alarms from 4 to 3
  • Modified the fee structure to:
    • 4 to 10, $100 per occurrence
    • 11 to 24, $300 per occurrence
    • 25 +, $500 per occurrence
  • Eliminated the $1000 per occurrence category
  • Added a special fee schedule if the system does not have a current alarm permit:
    • No free false alarms
    • $250 for the first occurrence
    • $500 for each subsequent occurrence

The intent of the Ordinance is to encourage the alarm owners to maintain their systems so that they are reliable and have minimal false activations. The Ordinance has a "User Friendly" provision that allows the Alarm Administrator to waive an alarm occurrence if the owner took action to prevent the false alarm from recurring. All requests for waivers must be received by the Alarm Permit Coordinator in writing within thirty (30) days of the alarm occurrence. Requests should be mailed to Evanston Fire Life & Safety, 909 Lake Street, Evanston, IL 60202.

City Council also asks community members to research the proper usage of their alarm systems through manuals or by consulting their alarm dealers.

Motorized Vehicles Ordinance

Motorized vehicles ordinance

Community members are allowed to responsibly operate motorized wheelchairs and electric personal assistance mobility devices, including Segways, on the public way.

Motorized wheelchairs and other electric personal assistance mobility devices are allowed in public parks, on beaches, parkways, sidewalks, in public areas of the city, streets and parking lots within the City limits.

The following motorized or motor-assisted vehicles are prohibited in the areas listed above: skateboards, rollerskates, scooters, pedicycles and bicycles.

As a reminder, there are many streets or portions of streets where these vehicles and bicycles are prohibited from use. Schedule XV of the Evanston City Code lists those streets that are simply too dangerous for these vehicles. Visit the City Code and enter "Schedule XV" to view the ordinance.

Nuisance Premises Ordinance

Nuisance Premises Ordinance

The Evanston Police Department, in cooperation with the Northwestern University Police Department, keeps watch over Evanston’s neighborhoods to curb the effects of disruptive behavior and crime on individuals in their homes, businesses and on the public way. The Nuisance Premises ordinance, amended by the City Council in 2007, allows the Evanston Police Department to hold landlords, managers and building owners accountable for encouraging or permitting criminal activity on their properties.

Pursuant to the Nuisance Premises ordinance, the Chief of Police can deem a property to be a nuisance premises after either one felony or two misdemeanors/ordinance violations, specifically arrests or citations, occur within a six-month period on-site. Once a property is declared a nuisance premises, the ordinance requires that the property owner/manager meet with the Chief of Police within 30 days to develop and implement measures designed to abate the nuisance. Property owners/managers who fail to implement a successful plan of correction may ultimately receive fines from the City’s Division of Administrative Hearings.

“This is a key component of our civil enforcement initiative. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all Evanston residents.” - Richard Eddington, Chief of Police

Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance

Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance

Sprinkler System Requirements

(Part of the adopted Fire Prevention Regulations)

Sprinkler Ordinance Information is now available in Ordinance 127-O-05, Section 4-5-3. It is part of the adopted Fire Prevention Regulations and is not a stand alone ordinance anymore.

Fire Prevention Regulations

Fire Prevention Regulations

(with Automatic Sprinkler System Requirements)

Weapons Ordinance

Weapons Ordinance