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Community Development

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The Community Development Department's mission is to enhance the character and diversity of Evanston's residential neighborhoods and commercial districts while promoting a healthy environment to make Evanston the most livable city in America. 

The Community Development Department is responsible for the overall administration and execution of all building, inspection, planning and zoning activities.  The department also manages affordable housing initiatives and other related programs funded with federal and local grants targeting lower and moderate-income residents.


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Building and Inspection Services Division

The Building and Inspection Services Division provides a wide range of services including:

  • Enforcement of City-adopted building codes
  • Review of construction documents, including building plans for code compliance
  • Building permit and contractor license issuance
  • Inspections for electrical, plumbing, structural, and mechanical trades
  • Certificate of Occupancy issuance
  • Administration of General Business License Program
  • Administration of federally funded Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program
  • Administration of Graffiti Removal Program
  • Administration of the City’s Sign Ordinance
  • Oversight of the Elevator Inspection Program

Planning and Zoning Division

The Planning and Zoning Division is tasked with administering the Zoning Ordinance (Title 6 of the Evanston City Code). This includes reviewing all proposals and applications for code compliance, processing applications for zoning relief (i.e. variances and special uses) and providing zoning information in order to maintain compliance of all properties within the City of Evanston.  This division also staffs and processes all applications to Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Plan Commission.  The Planning and Zoning Division is also responsible for sustaining the architectural vitality of City neighborhoods by aiding in the restoration, rehabilitation and conservation of historic buildings and preservation districts through the administration of the City’s Preservation Ordinance.

Housing and Grants Division

The Housing and Grants Division engages in a number of strategies to maintain and enhance a wide range of housing choices for both renters and buyers.  A number of programs are designed to promote housing that is affordable for low and moderate-income households.  Using federal and local funds, the City has provided financing for acquisition, new construction and rehabilitation of rental and owner-occupied housing.  The Division administers $2M in annual federal entitlement grant funding and ensures compliance with federal regulations and requirements.

Transportation and Mobility

The Transportation and Mobility (T&M) function coordinates City-wide T&M goals and programs. Efforts include providing technical review of emerging trends within the transportation industry, and evolving preferences in mobility options within Evanston. This work function also assists in the delivery of transportation infrastructure projects and on-going policy work outlined in the City’s Multi-Modal Transportation and Bike Plans. Additionally, the function:

  • Provides technical assistance to the Transportation / Parking Committee
  • Develops long-term policy and programming objectives with the City’s transit providers, including RTA, CTA, Metra, Pace and Divvy
  • Manages the City’s Bike and Mobility Programs, including Bike Evanston and Evanston’s Divvy program
  • Administers the City’s Bike Technical Advisory Committee

The Community Development Department staffs the following boards, committees and commissions:

Questions? Call or text 3-1-1 (847-448-4311) or submit a request.