GIS supports property setback review


Home owners are almost always looking for ways to change their home
in order to make it a better fit for them and their family. At times it
is a simple fix within the home and at other times it is more complex,
for example, constructing an addition to the existing building
footprint. Most of these types of upgrades require permits and
inspections to be done by the local government in which the home
resides. More serious upgrades may at times may require a full review
of the property setbacks that are normal for the block on which the home
is located. In the City of Park Ridge, IL one case in particular
regarding an appilication for the rights to construct a garagae required
this type of review.

The property under inspection was applying to have a garage installed
in the back of their house which had an entrance off of a major road
and not an alley. In keeping in compliance with city standards, the
Community and Preservation Devlopment Department had to determine what
the average home setbacks were from the road on one particular block in
order to ensure that the applicant was not breaking the rules. The
normal workflow is to measure the setbacks of each house on that block
and decide if this new applicant is within compliance. The problem that
arises is how to display this information properly to the Board of
Appeals so they can understand the scenario first hand rather than just
being told facts from a piece of paper. For this instance the use of
the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department was implemented to
help map out the scenario as it is out in the field so that the
reviewers of this specific case could easily decipher if the applicant
was worthy of acceptance. Now, instead of trying to envision the
problem at hand, the reviewers can see each property with its driveway
and setback distance from the road. Thus making decisions easier to
come by as well as highlighting the effectiveness of GIS mapping.