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More Chicagoans Renovating Homes Due To Easier Permitting, City Says

By Joe Ward | September 13, 2017 3:03pm
 Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Building Commissioner Judy Frydland, and homeowners Neringa and Dennis Venslavicius discuss the streamlined home renovation permitting process at a news conference Wednesday in McKinley Park.
Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Building Commissioner Judy Frydland, and homeowners Neringa and Dennis Venslavicius discuss the streamlined home renovation permitting process at a news conference Wednesday in McKinley Park.
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Provided/Buildings Department

MCKINLEY PARK — A streamlining of the home rehab permitting process has resulted in more Chicagoans renovating their homes, city officials say.

Chicago has seen a 20 percent increase in large, single-family-home renovation permits issued this year, for an average of 202 permits issued per month, according to the city Department of Buildings. Such an increase shows that residents are not only further investing in their homes, they are also seeing an easier process for obtaining permits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a prepared statement.

"Home renovation projects improve neighborhoods and create jobs for residents in every neighborhood of Chicago," Emanuel said. "This shows that common-sense reforms can spur economic opportunity and encourage even more families across the city to improve their homes while also investing in their neighborhoods."

Reforms to the renovation permitting process have decreased the time to obtain a permit by 10 days this year, according to the city. Last year, the city approved a new process to allow homeowners to get a renovation permit without special zoning approvals in 30 days or less.

Renovation permits are up across the city, and the officials went to a McKinley Park block Wednesday to tout the reforms. Officials gathered in front of the home of Dennis and Neringa Venslavicius, whose home near 37th Street and Wolcott Avenue will soon have a second floor, according to CBS2.

"The neighborhood improved a lot in the past 10 years," Dennis said, according to CBS2. "We love it here ... so that's why we decided to improve our house for our daughters."

Other reforms to the permitting process include: a walk-in assistance program staffed by architects and zoning experts; an overhaul of plumbing, elevator, energy and electrical codes; and the rollout of the "easy permit" process which gives permits for small projects in a day.

The city has seen a 10 percent increase in easy permits issued this year, with an average of 1,102 issued per month, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

"The Buildings Department continues to strive for excellent customer service and assisting homeowners as much as possible in obtaining their permits and investing in the future of their community," Building Commissioner Judy Frydland said. "This enables them to complete home projects quickly and safely."