Land Use, Restoration & Research Permits

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Easements, Licenses, and Intergovernmental Agreements

Forest Preserves staff and advisors are committed to ensuring that Forest Preserves’ current land is managed and maintained in accordance with its mission. Use of land by non-Forest Preserves entities for utilities, infrastructure or other uses unrelated to the Forest Preserves’ mission are to be granted sparingly. The following legal instruments are subject to approval by the Forest Preserves Board of Commissioners.

Easements

The Forest Preserves limits the granting of easements to transportation agencies only. Temporary use of Forest Preserves land by parties other than transportation agencies may be approved through the granting of construction access permits. For more information on easement requests, visit the Forest Preserves municipal code website.

Licenses

Pursuant to the Forest Preserves license ordinance, requests by governmental agencies, municipalities or utility companies to locate utilities or other non-recreational infrastructure on Forest Preserves land are reviewed under the license application process. Forest Preserves code limits the term of licenses to 10 years but provides for renewal for subsequent 10-year periods with the payment of discounted renewal fees subject to approval by the Forest Preserves Board of Commissioners. In addition to a non-refundable upfront application fee ($500.00 for municipalities and other governmental agencies and $1,500.00 for utility companies and other “for profit” entities), other fees may be applicable depending on the level of potential impact to Forest Preserves land.

Intergovernmental Agreements

Requests for trail connections and other recreational infrastructure on Forest Preserves land requires agreements with municipalities and other governmental agencies. Application and review fees may be waived for trail connections or other recreational infrastructure under an intergovernmental license agreement that documents the mutual benefits of the project.

Requests for transfer of Forest Preserves land to a unit of local government may also be considered under the Local Government Property Transfer Act.


Forms & Fees


Contact

Mike Schechtman
Licensed Surveyor & Land Use Records Manager
Department of Planning & Development
708-771-1192
michael.schechtman@cookcountyil.gov


Construction

All organizations not under direct contract with the Forest Preserves, or their authorized sub-contractors, who wish to perform any work, stage any equipment, or erect any temporary structure on Forest Preserve property are required to obtain a Construction Access Permit.

The Construction Access Permit has a maximum term of 30 days and is subject to a non-refundable upfront application fee of $250.00. Additional fees may be applicable depending upon the nature and scope of the activity in accordance with the Impact Fee Schedule. The permit allows two separate 30 day extensions pursuant to additional extension fees.


Contact

Mike Schechtman
Licensed Surveyor & Land Use Records Manager
Department of Planning & Development
708-771-1192
michael.schechtman@cookcountyil.gov


Restoration

All individuals, groups or organizations not under direct contract with the Forest Preserves, or their authorized sub-contractors, who wish to perform any work or services upon Forest Preserve land or property solely or exclusively for the direct improvement or benefit of the Forest Preserves are required to obtain a Restoration Access Permit. There is a maximum term of six months with one additional six month extension. There is no fee.


Contact

Department of Resource Management
708-771-1180 
ResourceManagement.FPCC@cookcountyil.gov


Research

Unless otherwise under contract with the Forest Preserves, all research investigations on Forest Preserve property require a Research Access Permit. Research investigations include any monitoring, collecting, testing, study, observation, investigation or other related activity, that benefit the Forest Preserves, public education or the community.

If these stipulations do not apply, or if the proposed activity includes the installation, repair or maintenance of roads, facilities, or structures, a Construction Access Permit will be required. There is a maximum term of one year with five additional one year extensions as approved by the Forest Preserves. There is no fee.


Contact

Department of Resource Management
708-771-1180 
ResourceManagement.FPCC@cookcountyil.gov


Tree Mitigation, Protection & Preservation

Tree Mitigation

Any work or land use request by organizations not under direct contract with the Forest Preserves, or their authorized sub-contractors, requiring the removal of live trees, dead trees, or coarse woody debris from Forest Preserves property require payment of mitigation fees in accordance with the Forest Preserves’ Tree Mitigation Plan.

Tree Mitigation fees are in addition to any Construction Access Permit or Land Use application fees, and established Tree Protection and Preservation requirements.

As of January 1, 2022, the current per square inch cross-sectional value (used in the calculation of tree mitigation fees) is $124.33. This value is updated annually.

To request access to the current Tree Valuation Tables, please contact ResourceManagement.FPCC@cookcountyil.gov.


Tree Protection & Preservation

The Forest Preserves’ Tree Protection and Preservation Manual establishes standards and specifications to protect trees and other vegetation from construction impacts. All individuals, groups or organizations and their authorized sub-contractors are required to be in compliance with these standards and specifications to prevent collateral damage to the Forest Preserves’ forests and tree canopy.

Violations of the Tree Protection and Preservation Manual resulting in damage or removal of trees outside of the project area are subject to compensation according to the Forest Preserves’ Tree Mitigation Plan.


Contact

Department of Resource Management
708-771-1180 
ResourceManagement.FPCC@cookcountyil.gov