Construction and Neighborhood Services Frequently Asked Questions

    Please find below a list of commonly asked questions and answers regarding McHenry Code Enforcement. If you have additional questions please contact the Community and Economic Development Department at 815-363-2170.

    What is the maximum height my lawn can grow before it's in violation.
  • The maximum height for grass and/or weeds is eight inches. Owners will be required to mow their property within 14 days after the notice of violation has been sent. If compliance is not made after the 14 days the City will contract with a company to mow the property, and will lien the property to recover the cost of mowing.
  • My neighbor has bushes that are overgrown onto the sidewalk causing me to walk in the grass just to get around them. Is this a violation?
  • Yes. In no instance shall planting materials obstruct the pedestrian right of way.
  • My neighbor has a tree that is hanging over onto my property. Can the City make them cut it back?
  • The City cannot make your neighbor cut his tree back if it is on private property. If the tree/bush was overhanging onto public property then the City can have it trimmed. You can cut any branches and limbs that overhang your property line, but be a good neighbor and let the owner of the tree know that you will be cutting it.
  • Down the street there is a vehicle on the driveway with a flat tire and expired registration that has been there for 2 months. Isn't this a violation?
  • Yes, No inoperable or unlicensed motor vehicle shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises.
  • Can I place furniture on the curb with a "Free" sign on it?
  • Items cannot be placed on the public right-of-way for pickup more than 24 hrs. before your regular scheduled pickup day, and must be brought in within 24 hrs. after your regular scheduled pickup day. If no one takes your furniture and you did not schedule an extra pickup from your waste hauler then you need to remove the discarded items from the curb and the view of the public.
  • Can I widen my driveway with gravel?
  • Driveways can only be widened with pavers, concrete, or asphalt and must be widened with the same material as the existing driveway. A decorative border may be added, but there are size requirements that must be followed.
  • Do I have to shovel my sidewalk?
  • The City of McHenry requests residents to clear snow from the public sidewalks. It is to everyone's benefit to make the walkways safer by clearing ice and snow.
  • Can I burn leaves and other yard waste in my outdoor burn pit?
  • Only seasoned firewood is allowed to be burned in an approved fire pit. Keep pits 15-20 feet away from any structure. Dry seasoned firewood should not create a lot of smoke. see - Open Burning Regulations.
  • I'm a contractor who has never done work in the City of McHenry before. Do I need to register for a contractor's license with the City of McHenry?
  • No, you are not required to register with the City or to purchase a contractor's license.
  • Are there any types of transfer taxes required by the City of McHenry when a property is sold?
  • No, the City of McHenry does not currently have transfer taxes.
  • Is there a limit to the number of pets allowed in any one home in McHenry?
  • The City of McHenry limits dogs to 3 total per residence. You must also follow all McHenry County Health Department requirements as to vaccinations, shots and tags.
  • I want to open a business in McHenry and I have found a location I'm interested in - what do I need to do next?
  • Please contact the Community and Economic Development Department at 815-363-2170 to set up a walk-thru of the space you plan to occupy. If you plan to do any alterations to the space, permits may be required. Once all permits have been issued and the work is completed and approved by Staff, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. Permits are also required for any exterior signage.
  • I want to operate a business out of my home. What is the procedure? Do I need a city business license?
  • No business license is required to operate a business out of your home. However, you will need a home occupation permit. Applications are available at the Community and Economic Development Department. There is no fee; however, certain restrictions apply. Please call 815-363-2170 for more detailed information.