McHenry County Department of Health - Environmental Health
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Pre-Construction Plan Review

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Opening a Food Service Establishment in McHenry County

Prior to construction of a new food establishment or extensive remodeling (i.e. enlarging, altering or converting an existing establishment), a plan review of the food service and construction design is required.  The plan review ensures the establishment contains the facilities necessary to handle food in a safe and sanitary manner.  All food establishments including retail food stores, restaurants, bars, schools, childcare, and other facilities serving food and/or beverages to the public, must meet the minimum requirements of Article III of the McHenry County Public Health Ordinance

The following guidelines will assist you and your organization in opening a new food establishment in McHenry County.

  1. Initial Inquiry:
    Review the Article III of the McHenry County Public Health Ordinance and obtain a copy of the Food Establishment Construction Plan Review Application [PDF]. 
    Questions can be directed to the Food Program Coordinator at 815-334-4585 or email: [email protected].

  2. Submit Plans: 
    Submit a completed Food Establishment Construction Plan Review Application [PDF] to McHenry County Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health, 2200 N Seminary, Woodstock, IL 60098.  Be sure to include the following documents:
    • One set of the food establishment plans drawn to scale detailing room layouts, food service equipment locations, plumbing and ventilation for the establishment.
    • Specification sheets including the manufacturers’ name and model number for food service equipment in the kitchen, bar, waitress areas, and self-service areas.
    • Copy of the proposed menu.

  3. The Plan Review Fee:
    The appropriate plan review fee is required at the time that the plan review application is submitted.  Plan review fees are based on risk classification and square footage of the establishment. 


    Category III 

    Category II  

    Category I 

     Up to 250 square feet




     251 to 1500 square feet




     1500 to 3000 square feet




     Over 3000 square feet




  4. Review and Approval Process: 
    Please allow seven business days for the initial review and processing.  Remember to contact the local Building and Fire Departments regarding additional review and permitting requirements.

    The plans may need additional information or changes prior to approval.  Correspondence indicating the status of a proposed plan will be sent to the applicant.  Please allow three business days for this review and processing.

    Department approval is required prior to the start of construction.  Failure to obtain approval prior to construction may cause undue delays to open a facility if construction does not meet the minimum requirements of the Ordinance.  If construction begins prior to Department approval, the plan review fee is doubled.
  5. A pre-operating inspection:
    A Department inspection of the completed facility is required before operations begin.  Please allow a 48 hour notice to schedule the inspection. 

  6. Final documents:
    At the time of the pre-operational inspection, please provide the following:
    • Documentation from the Licensed Plumbing Inspector verifying all plumbing has been installed per the Illinois State Plumbing Code.
    • A written report from a qualified Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractor indicating the exhaust hood(s) has been tested and balanced (if applicable).
    • The Food Health Permit Application [PDF] and corresponding fee.

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