The first Wilmette Zoning Ordinance was adopted in 1922. The ordinance has been amended and re-written over the years, to its present form as Appendix A of the Village Code. Significant changes to residential zoning were effective with the 1990 ordinance. This ordinance was superseded by the zoning ordinance that was adopted effective April 1, 2014.

The 2014 zoning ordinance increases the number of single-family residential districts by dividing the former R1 zoning district into nine sub-districts, R1-A through R1-I. The development standards vary between these residential sub-districts, so it’s important to know the zoning designation for your property. View the zoning map here or contact the Community Development Department for more information at (847) 853-7550.

In total, the zoning ordinance provides for 21 zoning districts/sub-districts in four general categories: eleven residential districts/sub-districts denoted as R and R-A, R1-A through R1-I, and R2, R3, and R-4; the Village Center commercial district denoted as VC; five commercial districts denoted as NR, NR-1, GC-1, GC-2 and OR; and three planned commercial districts denoted as PCD1 through PCD3.

The purpose of zoning is to control the use and development of land in such a way as to promote the community welfare and to protect the health and safety of our residents.  The Zoning Ordinance limits use and density to insure compatibility with existing development. It is one of the tools used to implement the Comprehensive Plan, which is the long range plan for the Village. The Zoning Ordinance is drafted in accordance with State law governing land use.
To accomplish the above mentioned goals, the Zoning Ordinance divides the Village into various zoning districts which permit and prohibit specific uses. Each zoning district contains standards for development such as use, setbacks, building heights, lot coverage, minimum lot size, permitted encroachments, and floor area ratios. These requirements protect open space and insure that development is orderly and consistent with surrounding uses and structures. In addition, the Zoning Ordinance defines the administrative procedures and duties of staff and Boards and Commissions needed to implement the Ordinance. The Zoning Ordinance also prescribes penalties for violation of the Ordinance.
Zoning does not regulate materials or manner of construction of a building. These issues are regulated by the Building Code, Electrical Code, Plumbing Code and Fire Prevention Code. Zoning does not regulate the design of streets, the installation of public utilities and related matters. These items are regulated by the Village’s Subdivision Ordinance. While matters of aesthetics are not regulated by the Zoning Ordinance, design review is within the jurisdiction of the Appearance Review Commission, not the Zoning Board of Appeals.