Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Boards and Commissions

Building Permits

How can I obtain a building permit?
Building permits are issued by the Community Development Department, located at the Municipal Services Center at 800 Field Drive.  Building permit applications and permit requirements can be downloaded here or picked up from the Community Development Department office.  If you have questions regarding building permits, you may contact Chris Teresi at  847.810.3502.
Do I need an architect to design my project and prepare the plans?

An architect stamp on plans submitted for permit is required on most projects. If the project is large or involves structural changes, the permit plans should be stamped by an architect.  An architect stamp may not be required for small projects, such as minor alterations in which the structure of the building is not being changed.

What are hours for construction?
Within the City of Lake Forest, construction activity is permitted during the following hours:

  • Monday - Friday 7am to 8 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 6 pm
What is the review process for my upcoming construction process?
Most construction projects in Lake Forest require a building permit.  For single family homes, a good rule of thumb is you need a permit for anything except, flooring, painting or planting.

It is always encouraged to contact Community Development staff early in the project planning process to understand the required reviews for the project and what permits will be necessary for the different aspects of the project.  Each project that property owners take on is unique and the Community Development staff members are here to give you guidance for your particular project.  Please contact us when you are ready to begin the conversation.
What should I do if I think a construction project is underway without the benefit of a permit?
Please contact  Chris Teresi at 847.810.3502 if you are concerned about a construction project that may be underway without a permit.  Staff is happy to look into the situation for you.
How long is the review process for my building permit?
Larger projects are reviewed in approximately 15 business days.  Smaller projects, based on scope and required reviews, maybe be reviewed over the counter or in 5 business days.

To minimize delays in your permit review, be sure that the information submitted is complete.  Often time, projects are delayed are due to insufficient information being submitted.  Building permit applications and checklists can be found here.


General - There is a power outage in my area, do you know when the power will be restored?
That information is not provided to the Police Department. Please call 1-800-EDISON-1.

City Clerk

How do I obtain a copy of my child's birth certificate?
For children born at Lake Forest Hospital within the last ten years, a certified birth record may be obtained from the City Clerk's office, in person, or by mail.

City Manager

Who is the City Manager?

Under the direction from the City Council, the City Manager's responsibilities are to oversee the day-to-day operations of the City, which includes enforcement of City Ordinances, recommendations of policy, and policy alternatives to the City Council, and the preparation of an annual budget for the Council's review.

Jason C. Wicha, the Chief Administrative Officer of the City, was appointed by the City Council on December 3, 2018.  Prior to coming to Lake Forest, Mr. Wicha served as the Assistant Village Manager in Skokie, Illinois.  Mr. Wicha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003 from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, and a Master of Public Administration degree in 2007 from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

How can I reach the City Manager?
Jason C. Wicha

Community Development Department

What are the responsibilites of the Community Development Department?
The Community Development Department includes staff responsible for planning within the Lake Forest community and staff responsible for construction and code compliance.

Responsibilities of the Building Section include documenting, reviewing, and inspecting all construction in the communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Bannockburn. The primary tasks include reviewing construction plans for compliance with building code requirements, conducting building inspections to ensure that all construction is consistent with approved plans, and encouragement of safe construction practices.  If you are unsure whether your project requires a permit, contact the Community Development Department at 847.810.3502.

Responsibilities of the Planning Section include administering the Zoning Code, making updates to the Comprehensive Plan, and staffing the Plan Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission, and Building Review Board.  Planning staff also undertakes special projects such as the Central Business District study, the Route 60 study, and the Historic Resources Survey.


What is EAB?
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is an invasive beetle native to Asia that was first discovered in southeastern Michigan in 2002. Adult beetles feed on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark, which transports nutrients and water throughout the tree, effectively starving the tree.
Where did EAB come from?
EAB is a native species of Asia and probably arrived in the U.S. on wood crating material.
Where is EAB?

In the U.S., EAB originated in Michigan and is now spreading throughout the Midwest, East coast, and Canada. It is currently in over 15 states, including most of Illinois, including Lake Forest.

If EAB was found in Lake Forest in 2009, why is it such a problem now?
The EAB infestation increases exponentially each year.  The Forestry Section has been proactively removing dead or dying ash trees since 2006 to decrease the available food source of the beetle. Only recently has research shown that chemical treatments are a viable option to protect ash trees.
How many parkway ash trees does Lake Forest have?

Lake Forest has over 4,000 parkway ash trees, which represents almost 20% of the parkway tree population or one out of every five parkway trees. Furthermore, some neighborhoods have as much as 60% parkway ash trees.

Does the insect harm any other trees? Humans?
No, EAB infests ONLY ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). It does not affect any other types of trees or plants. The insect does not pose any harm to humans and it is actually unusual to even see adult beetles.
Will the City inspect privately owned trees?
If a resident thinks that a private property tree may be infested with EAB, they should contact a certified arborist to inspect the tree.  If a positive confirmation has been established, it should be reported to the Parks & Forestry section at 847-810-3564.
Is there something residents can do to help with the replacement of ash trees?
Yes.  The Forestry section offers a share cost program to residents, which allows those residents that do not already have a parkway tree to split the cost 50/50 with the City. If you are interested in participating in the share cost tree program, please call 847-810-3564.


When will my road, sidewalk, or curb be repaired?
Funding levels are set by the Lake Forest City Council on an annual basis with program supervision and the construction schedule coordinated by Ralph Davila, Engineering Assistant (847-810-3552).
How can I get flood plain information for my property?
You can fill out the Flood Plain Information Request Form and submit the required information to the City's Engineering Section.  To find out exactly where the flood plain sits on your property, you will need to hire a Illinois licensed land surveyor to survey your property.
How can I get information about utility work in town?
Residents can contact Bernard Pondexter in the Engineering Section at 847-810-3556 to inquire about utility work.
How can I report a sidewalk in poor condition?
Each summer the Engineering Section of the Public Works Department undertakes sidewalk repairs.  If you notice any damaged areas, please contact Jim Koblas at 847-810-3553.
How are streets selected for resurfacing each year?
Approximately every three years, the City has its entire street system (approximately 120 miles) tested by an engineering firm to determine its current overall condition.  Based on these findings, streets are selected to be included in a 3-year Pavement Resurfacing Program based on attaining either a certain budgetary amount or a Citywide pavement condition number.

Residents can contact Ralph Davila in the Engineering section at 847-810-3552 to inquire about the 3-year Pavement Overlay Program.

Environmental Sustainability

What is Sustainability?

There are a multitude of ways to define environmental sustainability. Short and simply- sustainability is ensuring we meet todays needs in tandem with environmental preservation and reconciliation.

This is accomplished through initiatives that can be found on our website.

How can I promote environmental sustainability?
The EPA provides numerous suggestions for individuals to live more green lives that can be found here
Specific to Lake Forest, residents can:

  • Take the Metra to work
  • Utilize bicycles for short distance travel
  • Switch to an electric car and/or carpool
  • Plant small trees on your property
  • Minimize utility usage
  • Ensure you are enrolled in our Electricity Aggregation Program

Fire Department

Selecting a smoke alarm
Be sure that the smoke alarm you buy carries the label of an independent testing lab. Some home smoke alarms run on batteries, others on household current. There are also different sensor technologies, some faster to react when fires are smoldering, others faster when fires are openly flaming, all are fast enough to provide sufficient warning. All laboratory tested smoke alarms, regardless of type, will protect you if they’re installed and maintained properly. A catchy phrase we try to teach is ‘change your clock, change your battery’ referring to changing your battery in your detector twice a year.

Fitness Center

What are the Fitness Center hours?
Monday – Thursday 5:00am-9:30pm
Friday 5:00am-8:00pm
Saturday 6:00am-6:00pm
Sunday 7:00am-6:00pm

*reduced hours will be posted for holidays throughout the year.
*Fitness Center will be CLOSED on Easter, July 4, December 25, and January 1.
What are the different membership options at the Fitness Center?
The Fitness Center offers multiple membership options. Members have the choice of paying for an Annual Membership in full at the time of registration or have monthly payments made through automatic credit card deduction. Effective May 1, 2016, the Fitness Center will be offering a month to month membership which will allow someone to cancel at anytime with 30 days written noitification. The Fitness Center also offers someone the option to pay a daily fee. We also offer a Matinee Membership. The Matinee membership allows members to utilize the Fitness Center from 11:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday, at a discounted rate. Please call 847-810-3932 for specific pricing.
Does the Fitness Center charge an enrollment fee?
There is a one time enrollment fee charged at the time of enrollment. As long as your membership is renewed prior to the expiration date then you will not be charged that fee again.
Is the Fitness Center open to non-residents?

The Fitness Center welcomes both residents and non-residents. Non-residents do pay slightly higher fees.

Are Group Exercise classes included with my membership?
Group Exercise classes are not included with your membership. The Fitness Center offers a wide range of classes for individuals of all fitness levels.
How do the Group Exercise classes work at the Fitness Center?
Group Exercise classes are offered on a Punch Pass system. Punch Passes are sold in 12 or 24 punches. Each time you take a class you will have a punch deducted from your pass. Someone can also pay a one time drop in fee. The Fitness Center also offers an All Access Pass. The All Access Pass is an annual punch pass. If someone purchases the All Access Pass, they can participate in as many Punch Pass Classes as they wish for 1 year.

Punch Passes can be purchased at the Fitness Center desk. Present your ID card to the Fitness Center desk staff prior to entering a Group Exercise class. The desk staff will check you in and provide you with a Class Pass. Present the Class Pass to the instructor at the beginning of class. 
Do I have to be a member to take Group Exercise classes or use a Personal Trainer?

You do not have to be a member to take Group Exercise Classes or use a Personal Trainer.

Lake Forest Dance Academy Preschool Recital

When and where do I bring my dancer on recital day?

One hour prior to show time to the John & Nancy Hughes Auditorium at the Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest.

How are they supervised while the show is going on?

We have parent volunteers, teachers and student assistants with them while they are backstage. A teacher will escort them to the stage in time for their dance(s). After they dance they will be escorted back to the waiting area. At the end of the show all dancers will be brought back onstage for a final bow.

Should they wear their costume?

We ask that your dancer arrive in costume with hair as instructed by their dance teacher. Remember please to keep costumes hung up and not worn prior to the recital.

What about their shoes?
All shoes should be labeled with dancer’s name and brought in a labeled bag. Any accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) will be provided by the teachers at Dress Rehearsal.
How do I order tickets?
Online Tickets sales open March 20 at 10:00am.  Click HERE on March 20.
** Seating is assigned.  Don't wait too long to purchase your tickets. **

Tickets are $12.00 each.  Online ticket sales close May 2.

We will be selling tickets at the door for $12.00.
How do I order photos and DVD's?
Photo day is Sunday, April 7. All dancers will have a group photo taken - please see Photo Day Information and Schedule in the Recital Guide. Be sure to arrive no later than 15 minutes before your scheduled photo time. Dancers in more than one dance should bring all costumes with to change into before their next pictures. After the group photos are complete, dancers will be released to the observation room and you may then take your dancer to Studio 2 for their individual photo session.

Ed Johnson of EDTV will be making a video of the entire recital.

Photo and DVD Order Forms are in the Recital Guide.

We ask that you do not take photos or videos during the shows as it is distracting and dangerous for the dancers.
How do I prepare my dancer for performing?
Let them know how excited you are to see them dance with their class. Encourage them to have fun and focus on what they have learned; we will be helping them from the side lines. Your children are precious to us; we want this to be the very best experience in every way! 

Landscape Licenses

What are lawn equipment hours of operation?
  • Weekdays:  7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays:  8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Sundays and Holidays:  10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Mayor and City Council

Who is the Mayor?
Mayor Stanford “Randy” Tack
Term: 2023-2025
Mayor Tack was sworn into office on Monday, May 1, 2023. Dr. Tack earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois and attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Tack graduated with honors and completed his residency at the University of Illinois in Orthopedic Surgery. While in residency, he was recruited by Lake Forest Orthopedics and specialized in Spine Surgery, prompting a fellowship at Rush Medical Center. He moved to Lake Forest upon completion of his fellowship. Dr. Tack was founding board member of the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. He was appointed Vice President of the Midwest Orthopedic Network and managing partner at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. Dr. Tack also served as President of the Lake Forest Club. Dr. Tack was elected as a Third Ward Alderman in 2011, serving multiple terms from 2012-2018. While Alderman, Dr. Tack served as the Chairman of the Public Works Committee and Fire Services Committee. From 2021-2022, he also served as Chair of the Central Business District Working Group.
How can I reach the Mayor?
Stanford "Randy" Tack
8 N. Western Ave.
Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 810-3675
Who are my Aldermen?
Find contact information for the current City Council.

Parks and Recreation

What are your office hours?
What do I need to establish residency?
  • Please bring in a drivers license, a current water bill or house contract for a new home purchase with the address on it.
  • Children and adults must live within the corporate city limits of the City of Lake Forest to be considered a resident.  Exception:  Any child living within the boundaries of Lake Forest High School District 115 registering for a programs held at Lake Forest High School will pay resident rates. 
  • Residents of the Lake Bluff Park District are eligible for resident rates in the following areas: Athletics, Fitness Center, Wildlife Discovery Center, Kinderhaven Preschool Academy, Lake Forest Dance Academy, Lake Forest Sailing and Deerpath Golf Course.  Lake Bluff registration takes place during the non-resident registration period.
How do I get my Username and Password for on-line registration?
Important: please obtain your username and password in advance of the registration day.

To use our On-Line Registration Site, you will need an account with a username and a password.

New Accounts

Visit our On-Line Registration Site, click “Need an Account?”, fill out the form completely, and submit.

Please note:

  • When you create a new account, the category field will be set at Non-Resident and you will not be able to change this.  If you are a Lake Forest or Lake Bluff resident, please continue creating your account and then contact the main office at 847-234-6700.  We will confirm that your address is within the corporate boundaries of either the city of Lake Forest or within the Lake Bluff Park district and then change the category on your account to reflect this.
  •  If you are unsure if you already have an account, visit our On-Line Registration Site, click “Need an Account?”, and enter your email address or phone number in the proper field.  If you use an email address or phone number that is already in our system, you will get a pop up that says “Duplicate Check”.  If you have forgotten your username and/or password, please see steps below for login/password recovery. If you are still having trouble, please stop entering information and contact the main office at 847-234-6700 for assistance.

Existing Accounts

If you have registered for a program, reserved a park or beach pavilion, had a Fitness Center membership or participated in programs at Dickinson Hall in the past two years, you already have an account in our system.

If you do not know your login, follow these steps to recover your username/password:

  • Visit our On-Line Registration Site and click “Forgot your password?”
  • Enter the email address for your account in the box provided and click “Submit”.
  • An email will be sent to you with your username and a link to reset your password.
  • If you do not get the password reset email, the email address you used is not listed as the main contact email in our system.  If this happens, please contact the main office at 847-234-6700 for help.
How do I register for Recreation programs?

Police Department

How do I obtain a copy of a Police report or Accident report?
Police reports generally are not released to the public. Exceptions include those listed in the Freedom of Information Act or subpoena.

Accident reports are available for a $5.00 fee. The Records Division at the Public Safety Building, 255 W. Deerpath, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday and holidays. You may also request an accident report by mail.
How do I get my fingerprints done?
Effective December 18, 2015, the Lake Forest Police Department will no longer provide fingerprinting services.

Please feel free to contact Accurate Biometrics at: 773-685-5832 or for their nearest location.

Public Works Department

Where can I find out about the holiday refuse and recycling schedule?
Please check the Events Calendar on the home page of the website or click here for the current year's holiday schedule.

Small Cell Technology (5G)

What is the Next Generation (5G) of Wireless Telecommunications?
5G is the 5th generation of mobile data technology that has been developed in order to provide significantly increased speeds of cellular data networks and support the development of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and smart home products (e.g. smart thermostats, refrigerator, etc.).

Unlike older wireless technology (3G, 4G) that rely on a network of microwave dish and panel antennas that can send and receive data over a large area, 5G antennas are generally smaller in size. Because 5G antennas have a more limited coverage area of less than 1,000 feet, and must maintain line of sight between the antenna and user for effective coverage, this changes the infrastructure needed to support 5G mobile networks and technology. Rather than rely on large antennas mounted on tall transmission towers spaced apart, 5G antennas require a dense network of smaller and closely-spaced antennas that can be installed on utility poles and buildings that are closer to their user base.

For more information about 5G, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website at
How is 5G being enabled?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to facilitate 5G deployment throughout the United States. This strategy includes pushing the development of 5G into the marketplace by supporting network providers, updating infrastructure policies, and modernizing regulations. For more information about the FCC’s efforts visit the FCC’s 5G FAST Plan.

What is Small Cell technology?
Small cells contain limited telecommunication equipment like antennas and radios, and are primarily attached to existing infrastructure (public streetlights or utility poles). Wireless service providers often seek small cell solutions to help complement and amplify traditional large coverage facilities such as cell towers. Because small cells are capable of transmitting a large amount of data at high speed over a small area, they are a solution to provide data capacity relief for densely populated areas as demand for wireless connectivity and service continues to surge.
Where can I learn more about the safety of 5G and Small Cell Technology?
The City of Lake Forest has no jurisdiction over the buildout of 5G and small cell systems. In fact, the City is prohibited by Federal law from regulating radio frequency exposure – only the FCC has jurisdiction over these issues.

The FCC requires telecommunication facilities to comply with radio frequency exposure guidelines. Compliance with these guidelines ensure exposure levels remain well below those generally believed to cause adverse health effects. For more information, please visit the FCC’s web page on Radio Frequency Safety at:

A worldwide online conspiracy theory has attempted to link 5G cell phone technology as being one of the causes of the coronavirus. Many cell towers outside of the U.S. have been set on fire as a result. FEMA and the FCC issued guidance on its website on April 9, 2020 reporting that 5G technology does NOT cause coronavirus which you can find here:
What has the State of Illinois done to enable 5G technology?
In 2018, the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act (“Act”), 50 ILCS 840/1 et seq., provides the regulations and process for permitting and deploying small wireless facilities within public rights-of-way and on private property to support the 5G wireless network. Small wireless facilities, also known as “small cell,” are most often attached to utility or other poles and enable the transmission of data and wireless communications to and from a wireless device, such as a computer, cell phone, tablet, or new “smart home” types of devices (e.g. thermostats, refrigerators, etc.). The Act states that these small wireless facilities are critical to delivering wireless access to advanced technology, broadband and 9-1-1 services to homes, business and schools in Illinois.
Who has oversight authority over Small Cell facilities and sites?
Oversight of wireless siting is largely established by Federal Law, including the Communications Act of 1934, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the Spectrum Act). Collectively, these laws aim to facilitate and enable the deployment of wireless infrastructure and restrict local authority in review and permitting of cell sites.  Most recently, the Federal Communications Commission passed FCC-18-133 that further removes barriers to wireless infrastructure deployment and establishes “shot clocks” for processing small wireless facility applications at the local level.

Additionally, the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, signed into law in Illinois, limits the ability for municipalities to regulate where small cell wireless facilities are located and grants wireless carriers the right to place small wireless facilities in the rights-of-way, subject to reasonable local regulations so long as they are not inconsistent with the law. 
What authority does the City of Lake Forest have over Small Cell sites?
The Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act authorizes the City to regulate limited aspects of small cell facilities.  The Act authorizes municipalities to consider the following when reviewing and permitting small cell sites:

  • Small cell facilities must not interfere with the frequencies used for public safety communications.
  • Small cell facilities must not interfere or obstruct the use of rights-of-way by pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Structural information may be required to document the integrity of any structure on which an antenna or related equipment is proposed to be mounted.
  • Screening of facilities proposed in historic districts or on properties designated as historic landmarks. 
What is outside of the City's authority?
  • The City of Lake Forest cannot impose a moratorium or an outright ban on the installation of small cell facilities.
  • The City cannot deny a carrier the ability to build out a system in accordance with all applicable regulations.
  • The City cannot require that an applicant place small cell facilities on any specific utility or category of utility poles.
  • The City cannot regulate the level of radio frequency emissions.
What is the City's process for reviewing applications for small cell facilities?
The local regulations governing small cell sites are contained in the City Code at Lake Forest Municipal Code Chapter 98.142 (Regulation of Small Wireless Facilities). This Chapter outlines proposal requirements and details small cell site development standards, zoning, permit processing, fee assessment, suitable siting locations, and other implementation criteria and requirements. Proposals must be submitted in accordance with these standards along with all applicable permits and license agreements. For more information, you may contact the Community Development Department at 847-810-3504. 

Real Estate Transfer Tax

Who pays the tax and when?
The real estate transfer tax is the obligation of the buyer and is paid before closing.  The tax cannot be paid before the seller of the property pays their final water bill.
What forms of payment are acceptable for real estate transfer tax?

Acceptable forms of payment of the real estate transfer tax are cash or cashier's check made payable to The City of Lake Forest.


When does the City respond to snow and ice conditions?
We have contracts with both a local weather forecasting service and a weather radar system. The combination of the two forewarns us of snow and ice storms so employees can be either on-site or prepared to respond before the actual storm hits. Also, the Police Department works closely with Public Works to identify areas which need salting.

The goal is to respond to icing conditions and slick roadways with equipment and personnel sufficient to control conditions within 30 minutes during normal working hours and within 60 minutes after normal working hours.
When will my street be plowed?
While this answer is "weather influenced," under normal conditions it is important to recognize that the plow trucks need to make multiple passes along the streets to move the snow to the curb. Depending upon the specifics of the storm, the response time will vary accordingly. Regardless, snow removal operations will continue until the streets are passable and the parking areas have been cleared of accumulated snow.

Snow plowing operations begin when the accumulation of snow on streets reaches two inches and sidewalks when it reaches four inches, or as weather conditions warrant. The object is to remove snow from all streets within six hours after the conclusion of a snowfall. If snow accumulates three inches or more, the length of time to remove snow from the streets may increase dependent upon the intensity of duration or the storm.
Why do the plows fill the end of my driveway?

Plows need to make multiple passes along each street to push snow back to the curbs. To open all City streets, the plows initially plow the center of each street so cars can travel in both directions. After this has been done citywide, the plows return to push the snow back to the curbs. This is done so that the melted water can enter the storm sewer and drain away. Typically, it is during these two plowing intervals that the homeowners dig out their driveways. Unfortunately, it is not possible for the plow trucks to do their plowing and not fill in the driveway.

When are City sidewalks plowed?

All residential sidewalks are plowed.  Additionally, the City maintains sidewalks in the Central Business District, the train station platforms, City-owned facilities, and main walking routes.  Sidewalks are plowed after a snow accumulation of two inches or more.  Other than City facilities, sidewalks are not salted.

What will be done to restore my damaged parkway?
Unfortunately, snow plowing is performed under difficult operating conditions and much of the time in reduced lighting. Objects and areas adjacent to the street can be damaged without the operator even being aware of the damage.  Damaged grassy areas will be identified and repaired the following spring by the City.  To report parkway damage, please contact 847-810-3543.

Items within the right-of-way, other than grass, remain the homeowner's responsibility for repair.
What is the process for mailboxes damaged by City snow plows?
If it is called in within 48 hours of damage and is determined that a City snow plow caused the damage, the City will temporarily repair the mailbox for the remainder of the winter.  During the spring, the City will:

  • perform a permanent repair of the damage
  • replace the post with a standard 4x4-treated pole
  • replace the box with a standard issued Federal regulation black box, or 
  • reimburse the resident up to $50.00 with the proof of receipt.

Mailbox damage should be reported to the Public Works Department at 847-810-3542.


How can I get a new street sign installed?
Contact the Chairman of the Traffic Safety Committee/Deputy Chief Robert Copeland at 847-810-3809.
When will my road, sidewalk, or curb be repaired?
Funding levels are set by the Lake Forest City Council on an annual basis with program supervision and the construction schedule coordinated by Ralph Davila, Engineering Assistant (847-810-3552).
When will my street be swept?
Sweeping is weather and priority dependent.  The goal is to sweep the City a minimum of three times between April and December.
Who is responsible for the repair of my driveway apron?
Each resident is responsible for their own driveway apron.

Vehicle Stickers

Why do I need an annual vehicle sticker?
Annual vehicle stickers are required by City Code (Section 74.175) for all vehicles registered with the IL Department of Motor Vehicles to  a City of Lake Forest address. Failure to display a current vehicle sticker could result in a ticket for the ordinance violation. The vehicle sticker also allows for parking at the north end of Forest Beach and access to the Compost Recycling Center. Lake Forest vehicle stickers expire each year on April 30. As a courtesy, renewal notices are sent to residents each year in mid-March.
What is the difference between a vehicle sticker and a parking permit?
A parking permit or a daily fee is required to park all day in city owned lots in downtown Lake Forest or at the Telegraph Road/West Lake Forest train station.  Your City of Lake Forest vehicle sticker is not useful for parking all day in city owned lots that require a parking permit or a daily fee.  Individuals who need to frequently park all day have the option of purchasing a parking permit hangtag.  Lake Forest also offers daily fee parking at each train station for individuals who would like to park all day occasionally.  For more information regarding parking, please visit
I just moved to Lake Forest. How do I get a vehicle sticker?
New Lake Forest residents are required to provide proof of residency and their vehicle registration(s) to obtain City vehicle sticker(s).  Please visit  Municipal Services Finance Department, 800 N Field Dr (8 am - 4:30 pm, M-F)  to purchase your City vehicle sticker(s).  If you prefer, you can email the Finance Department the required information and request a new account online purchase PIN.  City vehicle stickers ordered online will generally arrive in 7-10 business days via US Mail.   Lake Forest residents whose vehicles are registered outside of The City of Lake Forest have the option of purchasing a City vehicle sticker (or Forest Park Beach Parking sticker) to allow for parking at the north end of Forest Park Beach.  You are required to provide proof of residency and your current state vehicle registration ID card(s).
When will I receive my vehicle sticker?
Vehicle stickers should arrive within 10-14 business days via US Mail to your home address.  They can also be issued over the counter if the purchase is made in-person at the Municipal Services building.
I ordered my vehicle sticker online or by mail and have not received it. What should I do?
If you have not received your vehicle sticker within 14 days of your online order, or 30 days from your mail order, please notify The Finance Department by calling (847) 810-3631.  If necessary, the Finance Department can place an order for a replacement vehicle sticker.
I plan to purchase a new vehicle. Can I transfer my old vehicle sticker to the new vehicle?
Vehicle stickers are transferable.  In order to do so, you must surrender the old sticker (pieces are acceptable) and provide the documentation for the new vehicle.  If you forgot to remove the vehicle sticker from a vehicle you no longer own, you must provide proof that you no longer have the vehicle (auto dealer bill of sale showing the trade-in, seller’s odometer disclosure statement for a leased vehicle, or signed vehicle title).  A replacement sticker is $5.00.
I had my windshield replaced, or my car was totaled in a car accident, and I did not remove the vehicle sticker from the windshield. What should I do?
In order to obtain a replacement vehicle sticker, you will need to provide The Finance Department with the receipt for the windshield replacement, or the statement of total loss from the automobile insurance company.  A replacement sticker is $5.00.
I no longer own a vehicle listed on the renewal notice. What should I do?
Please make the appropriate changes on the renewal form and mail the form and your payment to the address listed on the form.  Or, you can simply change (add / edit / remove) your vehicle information when purchasing your sticker online.
How much are vehicle stickers?
Please see the fee schedule on the renewal form, or visit for vehicle sticker prices and more information.  We no longer offer a senior discount.
I put my sticker on the wrong vehicle. What should I do?
You may be able to remove the sticker carefully in one whole piece and place it on the correct vehicle. If you were unable to remove the sticker from the windshield intact, you should return the pieces of the sticker to obtain a replacement sticker from The Finance Department for a fee of $5.00.
I bought a sticker for my vehicle and then got rid of the vehicle. Can I obtain a refund?

No, vehicle stickers are non-refundable.

I am moving out of Lake Forest in a few week/months. Can I purchase a temporary sticker or get a refund on a portion of the sticker after I move?
You will have to purchase the vehicle sticker or risk being ticketed until you move. We do not sell temporary stickers and refunds are not given if you move out of The City of Lake Forest.
I currently have a temporary license plate. Can I wait for my permanent plates to arrive before I purchase my vehicle sticker?
No. You should purchase a vehicle sticker even if you have a temporary license plate. When you receive your permanent license plate, please call 847-810-3622 with the information to update your account.
I never received my vehicle sticker renewal notification. What should I do?
If you have previously registered your vehicles with The City of Lake Forest, you should receive a renewal notice (via US Mail or email) each year no later than the end of March.  If you have not received your renewal notice, please notify The Finance Department by calling (847) 810-3631.  Please note that failure to receive a renewal notice does not excuse your obligation to purchase a vehicle sticker as required by city ordinance.
My child is currently attending college outside of Lake Forest. Do I need to purchase a vehicle sticker if the vehicle is not here in Lake Forest?
Yes. You must purchase a vehicle sticker for each vehicle that is registered to Lake Forest. Even if the vehicle is primarily used outside of Lake Forest, you could receive a ticket for not displaying a current vehicle sticker. The price of the vehicle sticker would include a late fee if it is purchased May 1st or after. 
Lake Forest is not my primary residence and/or my vehicle is registered to another city/state. Am I required to display a Lake Forest vehicle sticker?
No, you are not required to display a vehicle sticker if your vehicle is registered to another city/state.  If your vehicle is registered to another city that requires vehicle stickers, you should purchase and display a vehicle sticker from that city.  However, you have the option of purchasing a Beach Parking Sticker at the resident rate.  The optional Beach Parking Sticker allows for parking at the north end of Forest Beach and access to the compost center.  Proof of residency (or property ownership) and the vehicle registration are required to purchase a beach sticker from The Finance Department front counter at Municipal Services.

Utility Billing

I am renting a home in Lake Forest. How do I open a utility billing account in my name?
Your and your landlord can request that a duplicate copy of the water bill be sent directly to a renter.  The account will remain in the owner's name and the owner will continue to receive the original bill and any past due notices.  To request a duplicate bill for a renter, please arrange to have both parties complete and sign their section on the Duplicate Billing Request Form
How can I pay my utility bill and what forms of payment do you accept?
  • Pay online 
  • Pay by phone (833) 699-7832
  • Utility bill payments can be deposited in City of Lake Forest postage-free white drop boxes located at the Telegraph Road (West) Metra train station parking lot, and on Bank Lane north of Westminster. There is also a drop box located  to the left of the main entrance steps of the Municipal Services building located at 800 N Field Dr.
  • Pay in person at the Municipal Services building and at City Hall during regular business hours Mon. - Fri. 8:00am to 4:30pm.  We accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.
  • AutoPay on a checking, savings, or credit card account.  To enroll in autopay, please register your utility billing account online at 
What is the current water and sewer rate?
As of May 1, 2019, the water rate is $4.60 per 1,000 gallons up to 10,000 gallons of water used and the sewer rate is $1.16 per 1,000 gallons.  The rate from 10,001 to 60,000 gallons of water used is $5.90 per 1,000 gallons.  The rate for 60,000 or more is $6.30 per 1,000 gallons.  For more information, please visit the Uillity Billing page.
What is the unit of measure?
Your water meter reads in gallons. Consumption is billed in thousand gallons.
How often will I receive a utility bill ?
For billing purposes, The City of Lake Forest is divided into three sections/cycles. A bill is generated approximately every 90 days (quarterly) for each cycle.
I was away all winter/summer but I still received a utility bill. Why?
The utility bill includes a water customer charge and sewer customer charge, both of which are based on the size of each meter(s) in the home or business. The utility bill has a separate line item for water usage calculated by water meter readings.  The utility bill also includes a refuse collection fee and a police fire pension fee.  For more information, please visit the Utility Billing web page.
How do you read my water meter?
The water meters are equipped with a Radio Read Meter Transceiver Unit (MXU) which permits meter reading via radio signals. As the Public Works vehicle moves through the city, the MXU connected to your water meter receives a wake up signal from the vehicle. the MXU obtains the meter's identification number and the water meter reading which are transmitted back to the vehicle.  Every meter has three different identifying numbers. The serial number, an ECR number and a radio frequency number, all of which help ensure against errors.
Why is the consumption for my sewer charge different from my regular consumption?
The City of Lake Forest realizes that increased water usage, during the warmer months of the year, is usually due to outside watering. When you water your landscaping, the water does not enter the sanitary sewer. Therefore, your yearly sewer consumption is based upon your winter quarter water bill consumption, i.e. during the winter your usage is 5,000 gallons, but during the summer you use 40,000 gallons, your sewer charge will be based on usage of 5,000 gallons.
Why do I receive a bill from the North Shore Water Reclamation District and pay a sewer charge on my water bill?
The sewer charges on your water bill is for maintenance of the sewer lines from your home or business to the North Shore Water Reclamation District intercepting sewers. North Shore Water Reclamation District bills you for the actual sewage treatment  and disposal process.
I am selling my home in Lake Forest. How do close the utility billing account?
You will need to arrange for a final water meter reading and pay your final utility bill in order to close your account.  Please contact the Utility Billing Department at (847) 810-3620.  When selling your home in Lake Forest, you are also required to have a sanitary and storm sewer inspection before a final utility bill can be prepared.  Please contact Community Development, (847) 810-3503, for more information.

Water Plant

Where does my water come from?

The source of all our drinking water is Lake Michigan.  The water is treated using an Ultrafiltration Membrane System, and we produce 1.4 billion gallons annually.

What is the hardness of our water?

The hardness of City of Lake Forest water is 7.5 grains per gallon or 130 mg/l of calcium carbonate.

Why do I detect a chlorine smell in the water?

Chlorine is added to the water as it leaves the Water Plant and into the distribution system.  The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency requires that we maintain a chlorine residual in the distribution system to protect the water as it passes through the pipes to your home.

Why does my water sometimes have a musty, earthy taste and odor?

During the summer months, as the lake water temperature increases, tastes and odors are more noticeable.  This is generally the result of compounds produced by blue-green algae and other vegetation found in Lake Michigan that can cause a musty, earthy taste in the water.  These compounds are not harmful and refrigerating the water or using a carbon filter water pitcher may help to minimize the taste and odors.

Do I need a water filter?

No.  The water is purified using an Ultrafiltration Membrane System and is safe to drink.  Daily tests are taken to ensure that we meet all of the Environmental Protection Agency parameters.  If you are sensitive to chlorine or don’t like the taste, a carbon filter will remove all of the chlorine.  Chlorine will evaporate if you fill a pitcher of water and leave it in the refrigerator overnight .

Why does my tap water look cloudy in the winter?

This occurs when the water temperature of the lake drops below 40°F.  When the water is cold, it contains a relatively high level of dissolved oxygen.  As the water moves through the mains and the pipes in your house, it is under pressure and the oxygen remains in the water.  When you relieve the pressure by opening the faucet and filling your glass with water, the oxygen is now free to escape giving it a milky appearance.  If this occurs, simply put the glass down and let it sit for a few minutes.  If the cloudiness goes away, it is entrapped oxygen.

What is the pink stuff that shows up in my sink, faucets, and tub?

Stains that appear around plumbing fixtures, which are frequently wet, are not caused by the water.  They are actually caused by airborne bacteria, mold, and mildew.  These are called biological growths and usually occur more during the summertime.  Dry areas will not support this growth.  To minimize this bacteriological growth, ventilate and dry areas shortly after use.  Frequent cleaning is another way to minimize these growths.

Does our water contain Fluoride?

The Illinois Department of Public Health requires that we add fluoride to the drinking water to help prevent tooth decay and promote strong teeth for children up to the age of 8.  In Lake Forest, we add between 0.9 and 1.2 parts per million of fluoride to the drinking water.  Multiple tests are taken daily to ensure a proper feed rate.  Since 1991, we have had perfect compliance with the Department of Public Health for the addition of fluoride to the drinking water.

How do I report water quality issues?

You can call the Water Plant at 847-810-4650 between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday) to inquire about water quality issues.

Water & Sewer Utilities

Who is responsible for water service repairs?

The City maintains all water mains.  Water services that connect to the City's water main are the responsibility of the homeowner or business owner.  This includes the water line from the building to the water main.

Why is my water meter making noise?

The water meter will make noise when the water is running.  However, if the noise is excessive, residents can make an appointment with the Water/Sewer Section to check the meter and determine if a repair is necessary.  Please contact 847-810-3570 to schedule an appointment.

What do I do if my water meter is leaking?

Homeowners are responsible for leakage in the plumbing around or leading to the water meter.  However, the Water & Sewer Utilities Section is responsible for water leaks within the water meter.  Please contact 847-810-3570 to schedule an appointment.

Why is my water pressure low?

The City's water pressure is approximately 50 - 55 pounds per square inch (PSI).  If the pressure is low throughout the inside of your house, call the Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570.  If the pressure problem is isolated to only part of the house or one fixture, it is usually a plumbing problem.

Why does the City flush fire hydrants?
The City flushes fire hydrants to remove accumulated sediment buildup.  This will improve water flow and quality throughout the water system.
What should I do if my water looks rusty?

You should run your cold water from a utility sink or the outside hose for approximately 1/2 hour or until the water runs clear.  If it does not clear up, call the Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570.

What do I do if sewage is coming up through the floor drains?
There are three possible explanations for this problem:

  • There is a blockage in the service pipe that leads from your house to the City's sanitary sewer.
  • There is a blockage in the City's sanitary sewer main.
  • The entire system is at capacity because of heavy rainfall.

In all cases, please contact the Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570, Monday - Friday from 6:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.  If flooding occurs after hours, please call the Police Department (non-emergency) at 847-234-2601.  They will notify the Water & Sewer Utilities Section, who will investigate the problem and determine how to correct the problem.
What if the storm drain in front of my property doesn't drain properly?

If possible, make sure there are no leaves or grass covering the drain.  If the opening is clear and the inlet is not draining, contact the Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570, Monday - Friday from 6:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Why do I have a constant wet area in my yard?
There are a number of possible reasons for a wet area in a yard or parkway.

  • If you have a sprinkler system, make sure you don't have a leak in the line or a broken sprinkler head.  Call your irrigation contractor to repair the leak.
  • It could be a leak in the water service that goes from the City water main to the house.
  • It could be a water main break on the City water main.

If you do not have a sprinkler system, contact the Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570 to have the area inspected.  If the City determines that it is a service leak, the repair is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Why is there an odor coming from my floor drain?
Typically, odors from floor drains are caused when the trap in the floor drain has dried out, allowing sewer odors to come through the drains.  To fix this problem, add water to the floor drain.  If this does not resolve the problem, contact the Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570, Monday - Friday from 6:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Can I connect my storm sewer service to a road drain?

No.  Road drains are for transporting storm water from the roadways only.  Private storm sewer services, such as sump pump discharges and area drains in private yards need to be connected to storm sewers only.

What can I do to prevent basement flooding?
There are measures you can take that may help prevent flooding and water damage to your basement. While not a guarantee against future flooding, these ideas may help in the event of substantial rainstorms.

  • Install a battery-powered sump pump as a back-up system to your other sump pump.
  • Install an uncapped standpipe in the floor drain, if the location of floor drain permits one. It may give you the extra protection needed to prevent a basement back-up.
  • If you have basement window wells with drains, make sure the drains work. Clear leaves and debris from the window wells. Also, consider window well covers for basement windows.
  • If your downspouts "splash out" as opposed to going underground, extend them away from your house foundation.
  • If you notice water standing over street catch basins, either inform the City's Water & Sewer Utilities Section at 847-810-3570 or try to remove the debris from the catch basin to allow it to take water.
  • If you notice that your property is graded so that water accumulates next to the walls of your home, re-landscape to direct the water away from your home.
  • Install a check valve to prevent sanitary sewer back-up.
  • Do yearly inspection or rodding of sewer lines at your home.
  • If you have yard flooding, it may be beneficial to have a yard drain installed.
Stay Informed!