In June 2008, the International Building Code was adopted with amendments by the City Council. Section 3406.1 was amended requiring that a change in occupancy, tenant, or business owner regardless of the use requires a certificate of occupancy and is subject to a life safety inspection by the Building Division and the Fire Department.
The occupancy application provides information to the City for demographic, building, zoning, and responsible party information. Each application is reviewed to determine if the proposed use is appropriate for the zoning district. Proper zoning is essential to maintain the quality of life in the City. Proper building use is also reviewed to ensure that mixed occupancy uses are compatible with each other according to the International Building Code.
The City amended the International Building Code to initiate a life safety inspection by the Building Division and the Fire Department prior to new occupancy. Performing this inspection prior to a business or tenant occupying a space ensures that all occupants and patrons can effectively exit the building and occupy the building safely. If during the inspection repairs or changes are needed to meet the life safety standards, the owner, tenant, or landlord is advised of the corrections and that compliance must be achieved prior to receiving a certificate of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy is required before a business is permitted to open.
The inspection includes life safety items such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Exit signage
- Emergency lighting
- Clear exit passageways and aisles
- Fire extinguishers
- Fire alarm
- Fire sprinkler
- Electrical cords
- Electrical wiring
- Electrical grounding and bonding
- Proper zoning
- Approved occupancy use group
- Proper fire separations between uses
The Fire Department conducts annual life safety inspections on all buildings. The occupancy application requirement was added to the International Building Code in order to provide the City the opportunity to inspect properties prior to a business opening. By doing this, the City is able to work with the building owners, tenants, or landlords to provide life safety compliance without disrupting business operations. Since the implementation of this ordinance, the City has been able to gain substantial compliance while ensuring a safe and high quality of life for all of the citizens and businesses of the Crystal Lake community.
Limited Use and Special Use Permits
Certain types of occupancies require a limited or special use permit. The criteria for each of these uses can be found in the Unified Development Ordinance Section 2-400.