Building Department

Michael Salmon, Building & Electrical Inspector

214 N. Main Street
Tuscola, IL 61953
Phone: 217-253-2112
Fax: 217-253-5026

ISO Classification – 4


Building & Zoning

The City of Tuscola Building and Zoning Department's mission is to serve with professionalism, efficiency and a community partnership approach to ensure that new development meets homeowner objectives as well as community standards and compliance with local, state and federal development, and land use.

The Building Department issues building permits to homeowners and contractors to regulate construction within city limits and 1-1/2 miles outside city limits. The primary purpose of the department is to provide a minimum standard to safeguard life, health and property and regulate the control of design, construction and quality of materials, use and occupancy, location and maintenance of all buildings and structures within the jurisdiction. This Department also provides assistance with engineering, public works and code enforcement.

The Building Department is responsible for three key functions: Zoning Use,  Building Review, and Code Enforcement. These functions can be generally described as follows:


  • Zoning includes the administration of the zoning regulations and other development-related regulations of the Tuscola Municipal Code and providing zoning information to homeowners and developers.
  • Building Review involves processing applications, conducting public hearings and implementing the City’s Design Guidelines.
  • Code Enforcement involves ensuring compliance with community standards and international codes.


City of Tuscola Building Permits are generally not needed for: 

  • interior remodeling, unless structural changes are being made;
  • Shingle or roof repair/replacement;
  • Window/Door replacement;
  • or HVAC repair/replacement.


Before starting any project, it is recommended you discuss your plans with the City of Tuscola Building Department to assure zoning compliance.

The City of Tuscola has adopted the following Local, State and International building codes to which all building construction must adhere.      

The City of Tuscola has adopted and enforces the following Codes:


IBC 2006  (International Building Code)

IRC 2006  (International Residential Code)

IMC 2006  (International Mechanical Code)

IFGC 2006 (International Fuel Gas Code)

IFC 2006  (International Fire Code)

NEC 2008  (National Electric Code)

IECC 2012  (Illinois Energy Conservation Code)

Illinois Carbon Monoxide Detector Act

Illinois Residential Building Code

NFPA Life Safety Code

Illinois Plumbing Code 2004

Illinois Accessibility Code 1997


Building permits are needed for all buildings or structures being erected, altered, relocated, or demolished. A Structure is defined as anything constructed, made, or erected; the use of which requires location on the ground, or attachment to something having a fixed location on the ground.  Among other things, structures include buildings, mobile homes, walls, fences, signs, swimming pools, and all masts, antennas, dishes, or other devices designed to receive radio or television signals.

Fence Building Guidelines


Building a fence within the City zoning jurisdiction requires a fence building permit.  Please review these fence guidelines first to ensure compliance with City ordinances.


 Make sure your fence meets City zoning requirements  

a.   Fences are allowed in front yards, side and rear yards  

b.   Corner lots have two front yards, two side yards and no rear yards 

c.   Fences may be built up to the property lines, but not on or over the line. Must be on own property. Know  property lines to avoid possible disputes with a neighbor. The city does not locate property lines or mediate  property line disputes resulting from misplaced fences. 

d.   Fences may not block drainage  

e.   Fences 6’ in height are required around new inground swimming pools   

f.   Fences cannot exceed 30” in height in front yards and 6’ in height in side and rear yards  

g.   The finished or “good” side of the fence must face out  

h.   Fence posts must be on the owner’s side with post sunk to a depth of at least 24”  

i.   No electric fences, barbed wire or spikes are allowed 

j.   Fences may be located in an easement; However, if a fence is located within an easement, the fence may be  moved and/or destroyed in the course of work within an easement.  The property owner will not be  compensated for any damage  


Check for Deed Restrictions or Subdivision Covenants

Deed restrictions or covenants may also prohibit certain kinds of fences or specify allowed locations of fences in your subdivision.  The city does not regulate or enforce deed restrictions, or homeowners or civic associations in a subdivision.  


Submit the following materials to the City       

a.   Completed permit application  (link below)    

b.   A site plan showing where the fence will be located on the property   (can use aerial from the County GIS)          c.   Permit fee of $25   


J.U.L.I.E before you dig

Request a J.U.L.I.E. utility locate (1.800.892.0123 or at least 48 hours prior to starting work


 A Building permit must be approved and issued before any work is started   (Allow 2‐3 business days for review and processing) 


Fence Permit Application

 Right-of-Way Permits

Permits are required for all work performed in the public right-of-way.  Most dedicated streets in the City of Tuscola has a public right-of-way.  The right-of-way includes:

  •   The pavement;
  •   Curbing and sidewalks;
  •   The Area between the sidewalk and curb.

Work that requires a permit includes street openings, driveway construction, encroachments, street and sidewalk obstructions, new water services and renewals, water abandonments, and use of hydrants and barricades.

Street and side right-of-way permits ensure that:

  • Individuals working in the right-of-way know the appropriate rules and regulations.  This reduces the possibility of damage to utility lines.
  • Individuals doing work in the right-of-way are property insured against personal injury and property damage.
  • Work is done according to the City of Tuscola specifications, codes, and requirements, thereby providing for proper restoration of public property.
  • Schedules between agencies and individuals are coordinated so they do not attempt to perform work at the same location simultaneously.
  • A record of who performed specific work is maintained, in case problems are discovered after work has been completed.
  • Vehicular and pedestrian traffic is adequately maintained.

Permits are required for the following activities - (This is a partial listing):

  • Any type of excavation in the public right-of-way such as installing, repairing, or replacing of water services or sewer laterals, and installing or repairing of any type of underground utility.
  • Repairing or replacing of any sidewalk in the public right-of-way.
  • Resurfacing, widening, or closing of an existing driveway.
  • Installing a new driveway.
  • Installing, replacing, or removing street curbing.
  • Storing materials, dumpsters, or equipment in the public right-of-way.
  • Parking any heavy equipment such as cranes or lifts in a public street.



City of Tuscola Right of Way Application


Water and Sewer service taps are coordinated through the City Water department.  The application for service should be completed and fee paid, then the installation can be scheduled.  Find more information on the Water & Sewer Department Page.

Water and Sewer tap application

The demolition of any structure within the City of Tuscola zoning jurisdiction requires a demolition permit to commence work.

Demolition Permit Application

Signage is regulated under the authority granted in City of Tuscola Code of Ordinances Chapter 157.   Sign Permits are required for any new sign construction, erection, enlargement or modification.  

To apply for a permit to construct a conforming sign      Sign Permit Application Form

To request a variance to construct a nonconforming sign  Sign Variance Application

The following link will open the Douglas County GIS map.  From the controls available within that map application, zoning layers can be displayed by checking the zoning layer box.


Douglas County GIS Mapping Tool

The City of Tuscola participates in the National Flood Insurance Program and requires flood protection for buildings in the floodplain. The Building Department can help you determine if you are in the floodplain and what you will need to do to meet the regulations. For additional information about protecting your home from flooding, and the National Flood Insurance program, go to the FEMA and IDNR websites and the sites listed below.

Floodplain Regulations

Application for Floodplain Building Permit

City of Tuscola Zoning Map with Floodplain

Douglas County GIS Mapping Tool  -  Within this tool, choose the "hydrology" checkbox to turn on the floodplain map layer.

In order to be eligible for an electrical license in the City of Tuscola, you must apply using the form below. You must be at least 18 years old, live or do electrical work in the Tuscola area, prove at least two years apprentice electrical trade experience, and then you must pass a code exam. The exam is open book, 100 multiple choice and true false questions, and a time limit of 3 hours. You may take the exam by appointment only, after receipt and approval of the application. If you pass the exam (70%), and are approved by the City Council, a $100 registration fee per year, and a $5000 performance bond, with the City of Tuscola named as beneficiary, is required before the license is issued.


Electrical work in the city, and within the city’s one and one-half mile surrounding jurisdiction, requires a permit and an electrical license (unless you are the owner/occupant of a single-family residence). The city honors other Illinois municipal electrical licenses.

The City of Tuscola Zoning Code requires other permits in special circumstances.  Applications for Special Use Permit, Variance Permit and Text Ammendment Permits are listed below.  Information on these types of permits can be found in the City of Tuscola Code of Ordinances ( Zoning Code Chapter 156) or by contacting the Building Inspector at 217-253-2112 (Ext.  27) or .

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