Q: What is the 100-year flood plain?
A: The 100-year flood plain, or Special Flood
Hazard Area, is an area of land that has been determined by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) as having a 1% chance of flooding in any given year.
The flood plain is composed of a flood way and a flood fringe. The flood way
is typically determined to be the channel of a river or stream and the overbank areas adjacent to the channel. The flood fringe is
the area to either side of the flood way that is
subject to flooding, but conveys little or no flow.
Q: What is the base flood elevation?
A: The base flood elevation for the 100-year
flood event, throughout most of Winnetka, is 625.5. Any grade that is at or below this elevation
is considered in the flood plain. This elevation is referenced from the National
Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929.
Q: When is my house considered in
the flood plain?
A: If any grade adjacent to the foundation
of the house is at or below the base flood elevation, then
the entire house must be considered in the flood plain.
Q: My property was never in the flood
plain before, why is it in the flood plain now?
A: On November 6, 2000, FEMA remapped the flood plain in Winnetka. The old base flood elevation was 624.8. However, because
of increased rainfall intensities and various other topographic changes, the
base flood elevation rose to 625.5.
Q: When do I need to buy flood insurance?
A: Anyone in Winnetka can purchase flood insurance, even if the property
(a building and/or its contents) is not located within the flood plain. However,
if your property is located within the 100-year flood plain, and you have
a federally backed loan or mortgage on the property, you are required by law
to purchase flood insurance.
Q: Can I build in the flood plain?
A: The residential districts within Winnetka are within the flood fringe rather than the flood way.
Therefore, construction is permitted in accordance with the Village of Winnetka’s Flood Hazard Protection Ordinance. Improvements to existing homes are
permitted as long as the total cost of the improvements are less than 50%
of the current market value of the structure, excluding the land.
New construction of a home with a basement
may be permitted in the flood plain, if a Letter of Map Revision – Fill is
first obtained from FEMA. The Letter of Map Revision – Fill can be obtained
if engineered fill has been placed and compacted on the site to create a clay
building pad for the home. All work must be done in accordance with the Village’s
Flood Hazard Protection Ordinance. A Letter of Map Revision – Fill technically removes that portion of the property that was filled from the flood plain, thereby allowing a home to be constructed with an engineered
Compensatory storage must be provided for
any fill that is placed in the flood plain.
Q: What is compensatory storage?
A: Compensatory storage is an artificially
excavated, hydraulically equivalent volume of storage within the 100-year
flood plain that is used to balance the loss of natural storage capacity when
artificial fill or structures are placed within the flood plain. Compensatory
storage is required for all fill within the flood plain.
Q: How can I find out if my property
is located within the flood plain?
A: If you call the Public Works Department
at (847) 716-3568 and ask for Susan Chen, the Flood Plain Manager, she will
be able to read the Flood Insurance Rate Maps and give an approximation on
the flood zone. However, in order to make an exact determination, a topographic
survey would need to be obtained by either an Illinois Licensed Land Surveyor
or Professional Engineer.
Q: Can I tie my downspouts into the storm sewer?
A: For the past few years, the Village of Winnetka has
required that all new downspouts splash at grade rather than tie into the storm
sewer system. There are two reasons for this requirement. First, it allows the
storm water to pass over vegetated areas prior to entering the storm sewer
system, allowing some pollutants to be filtered out into the vegetation. Second,
by requiring the discharge to flow overland prior to entering the storm system,
the delay in the surface runoff from entering the sewer system helps equalize
the system, minimizing peaks and surcharging in the storm sewer.
Downspouts will only be permitted to tie into the storm
sewer system if not doing so would create an adverse drainage condition for
the adjacent properties. Downspouts must not be directed to drain toward or onto
adjacent properties (this includes all existing downspouts, as well).
Storm sewer sump pumps are permitted to connect to the
storm sewer system because the sump pump discharge at grade can cause severe
erosion and drainage problems. However, you must ensure that the storm sump
pump connects to the storm sewer and not the sanitary sewer
Q: My downspouts have always been connected to my sanitary
sewer system. Can these connections remain under some type of
A: No. All downspouts connected to the sanitary sewer
system are illegal and must be disconnected immediately. As noted above, all
downspouts, unless approved otherwise, must discharge at grade.
Q: When do I need to get a grading permit?
A: The Village of Winnetka has in the past required
grading plans to be submitted in conjunction with construction permit
applications. However, it has become necessary to require permits for all types
of grade changes in order to protect homeowners from the hazards of stormwater
runoff resulting from grading activities on neighboring properties (Ordinance
MC-193-97). A separate land grading permit will not require the payment of a
The following types of grading will not be required to
obtain a land grading permit:
Q: How can I solve a standing water problem in my yard?
- Placement of soil for gardening purposes provided that
all of the following are met:
- The location of the soil placement is more than
3 feet from a property line;
- The soil placement is less than two inches in
- The soil placement affects an area less than
100 square feet;
- The placement of the soil is not located within
the 100-year flood plain.
- Repair or restoration of lawns, provided that the lawn
grade is not raised; and
Planting, landscaping and/or mulching along the
property lines that effectively change elevations, creates a berm and/or
displaces water at the property line shall not be permitted.
Landscaping/planting finished grades must be at the existing grade, or
lower, along the property lines. Landscaping plans must meet and comply
with the approved engineering and grading plan for the site.
[Please note that for any proposed change in
grade within the 100-year flood plain, a land grading permit will be
required which will need to be accompanied by certification from an
Illinois Licensed Professional Engineer that no net fill has been placed
within the 100-year flood plain.]
A: Standing or ponding water in a yard means that there is
an existing low lying area that is not drained. This problem can be solved in a
few ways. One way is if the property has adequate pitch from the area in
question toward a public right-of-way or drainage structure, then a drainage
swale can be constructed to convey the storm water to an appropriate point of
discharge. Damming or displacing water onto adjacent properties is not
permitted. A second method would be to construct a storm inlet at the low lying
area and then connect it to either the property’s existing storm sewer service
or, if there is not an existing storm service to the home, a new service can be
constructed. Filling in the low lying area and displacing the water onto
adjacent properties is not a permitted solution.
Q: How will the construction of my neighbor’s new home
affect the drainage on my property?
A: As part of the building permit review process, a
grading plan that has been designed and certified by an Illinois Licensed
Professional Engineer must be submitted for review and approval by the Village’s
Engineering Department. All new construction must provide some form of storm
water management on site. The proposed grading must not increase the rate or
amount of storm water discharge as compared to the existing conditions, and any
pre-existing drainage problems must also be addressed. As a result, most new
home construction requires the installation of one or all of the following:
drainage swales, storm sewer inlets and service and possibly, storm water
When does the Village's Annual Leaf
The Village's annual leaf collection normally
begins in October and runs through November.
What is leaf collection?
Leaf collection is a free service to residents
provided by the Village of Winnetka Public Works Department. Every year the Public Works Department will collect
leaves from the parkways in residential neighborhoods. The leaves do not need
to be bagged during the program, but residents are asked to rake leaves onto the
parkway (not the curb line) so that the Public Works crews can efficiently and effectively collect
How often do the Public Works Crews
collect the leaves from my house?
The Public Works Crews generally complete the entire
Village about once every seven days. It is possible that the crews will be by each
house at least four times.
What happens if I forget to place
my leaves on the parkway and the Public Works Crews have already passed?
Due to the high demand for leaf collection
and the limited time to collect the leaves, the Public Works Department will
not be accepting any callbacks. Residents can keep the leaves in the parkway
until Public Works Crews return. However, if the program has ended and residents
forgot to place the leaves in the parkway, then they will need to be placed in yardwaste bags, which may be purchased at Grand Foods or Lakeside Foods for $2.00.
Throughout the winter months, the Public Works Department is committed to keeping the streets clear and traffic
moving. Our snow-fighting team is primed and
ready, dedicated to providing the most efficient and thorough snow removal
possible. Your safety and convenience are our #1priority.
Residents sometimes call during major snow
storms with questions regarding snow removal procedures. Unfortunately, we
are often unable to completely answer all questions when snow
removal operations are in high gear. At such times, snow-fighting has to come
first. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q. How is
the Snow Plow and Ice Control Plan implemented?
A. The Village has a limited number of plows
and drivers so we must assign the routes so that priority is given to the
main streets such as Hibbard Road, Green Bay,
Sheridan Road, etc. These routes receive much of the traffic within
the Village and must be kept clear for traffic safety and emergency access.
Minor streets receive next priority, and cul-de-sacs and alleys are addressed
last. Public sidewalks are usually plowed when streets are plowed, unless
the demands of keeping streets clear takes precedence. Plowing activities
begin with snow accumulations of about 2 inches on sidewalks and streets.
Q. How often does the Village use
A. The Village uses salt in combination with plowing
on the main streets, but tries to limit salt use in residential areas to intersections
and to those locations where traffic is heaviest or where there are inclines,
in order to reduce both the cost and salt damage to the environment. Salt
is generally less effective at very low temperatures and so a combination
of salt, sand and liquid salt brine may be spread during these periods
to maintain traction.
Q. Can you send a snowplow back to
clear the end of a driveway?
A. There are approximately 4,000 driveways
in the Village. Unfortunately, we are not able to compromise our priority on public safety by devoting resources to clearning driveways.
Further questions may be directed to the
Public Works Department at 847-716-3568. While we may not be able to
immediately respond to your call in the height of a snow emergency, we will
promptly return all phone messages.
What's Spring Cleanup?
The Annual Spring Cleanup Program is a free
service to residents provided by the Public Works Department. The program
provides residents an excellent opportunity to clean out their attics, basements,
garages, etc of materials that can easily catch fire. The Public Works Crews
collect almost anything that two men can reasonably lift from the parkway.
Is anything and everything collected?
dirt, stones, construction material, logs, paint, paint thinner, stains, chemicals,
gasoline, oil, pesticides or herbicides, propane tanks, and other liquids
or hazardous materials are not collected and should not be placed at the curb
What if I place my stuff at the curb
after the crews have passed?
Due to a high demand and limited time the
Public Works Department will not respond to callbacks. Residents can call
the Public Works Department at 847-716-3568 to request a special pick up.
How do I dispose of paint and paint cans?
Oil based paint; stains or finishes are considered a household chemical waste by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). and are properly disposed via household chemical waste collections sponsored by SWANCC and the IEPA and available to all Illinois residents. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency - Household Chemical Waste and SWANCC web pages include information concerning collections and a complete schedule of upcoming collection events.
Latex Paint --
Latex paint is non toxic and will not be accepted at Household Chemical Waste collections. Let the paint dry out completely. After the paint has dried, dispose of it in your regular trash with the lid off so the waste hauler knows the can is empty. You can add shredded newspapers, kitty litter or Waste Paint Hardener (available at most hardware stores) to your latex paint as needed.
Paint Can Disposal --
A paint can which previously contained oil-based or latex based paint may be disposed of in the regular trash. If the paint can is of an acceptable recyclable material such as steel, tin, or a plastic container stamped recyclable 1 - 5, the can may be recycled in the community’s recycling program. In order to be accepted for recycling, the container must have the lid removed and be wiped clean with a paper towel until the bottom of the container is dry and can be plainly seen.
RESIDENTIAL ELECTRONIC RECYCLING
How do I dispose of Residential Electronics?
Beginning January 1, 2012, due to a legislative landfill ban, Winnetka refuse workers will no longer be able to collect residential electronics for disposal through the backdoor residential waste program.
To schedule curbside electronics pickup for a fee, contact the Public Works Department at 847-716-3568 – or take advantage of the option to drop off items free of charge at the Winnetka Public Works Yards - 1390 Willow - Tuesdays between 10:00 am – Noon and Thursdays between 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Residents may also drop off electronic waste at the SWANCC Transfer Station, 1151 North River Road in Glenview, most Saturdays from 9:00 -11:00 am. Visit swancc.org. on the web for more information.
Which electronics are subject to the restrictions and require special handling?
- Restricted electronic products include the following:
- Computers – PCs, Laptops + Monitors
- DVD Players, DVR/Cable Boxes/Satellite Receivers
- Fax Machines
- Mobile Phones
- MP3 Players, PDAs
- Computer Peripherals (Mice, Keyboards, Drives)
- Printers, Scanners
- TVs, VHS Players
- Video Game Consoles
- Stereo Equipment
Only residential waste items listed above can be accepted. Do not bring household hazardous waste or home appliances such as microwaves, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, air conditioners or other unlisted items.
Electronics from businesses, institutions or schools require a special pick-up for a fee and will not be accepted at the drop off locations. Please do not drop-off electronics other than during the posted dates and times. Thank you for your cooperation!
For a list of additional recycling opportunities, visit SWANCC’s Green Pages directory at swancc.org.
Recycle My Fridge Program
The Village’s wholesale electric supplier, Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA), has launched a refrigerator/freezer recycling program for residential customers in member communities.
The refrigerator or freezer must be in working condition, 10-30 cubic feet in size, owned by the resident, and picked up from the residential address listed on the billing account. Program participation is limited to residents served by the Village of Winnetka. As a thank-you, the resident will receive a $35 prepaid credit card within four to six weeks after the collection.
For more information on the program or to schedule a free pick-up time, call 877-341-2313 or visit RecycleMyFridge.org. If you have a non-functioning appliance, please call the Public Works Department at 847-716-3568 to schedule a special refuse collection.