When am I required to obtain a zoning permit?
Whenever you plan to build anything, begin using a building or land in a different manner, or expand a building or use that already exists, you should check with the Zoning Office (419)-946-1911. In general, a zoning permit is not required for decks, patios, and similar uncovered structures. However, some types of changes to an existing building require review. We will be happy to discuss your plans with you, and will point out any requirements that would apply to your specific project.
How do I apply for a zoning permit?
Applying for a permit is usually a very simple process. Just give us a call. We will get some basic information from you about the project you’re planning. Then, we’ll collect information from several online and county sources to be able to compare certain details in the light of your plans. Once we do that, we’ll get in touch with you again, and go over the requirements applicable to your plans. If you elect to proceed, you will then need to mark the location of your proposed project, as well as identify the lot lines. When that is complete, call (or E-Mail) us to set up a site visit. Assuming that we find everything on site to be consistent with the requirements, we will collect the permit fee and issue the zoning permit during that visit.
I'm planning to add on to my house and/or garage; what paperwork do I need to file?
You will need to apply for a zoning permit. See the earlier question for the procedure.
Does the county have any limits on mobile homes?
Mobile (and Manufactured) homes are generally subject to the same restrictions as are site-built homes. The Morrow County Zoning Resolution does specify, however, that such homes cannot be relocated to sites within the zoned townships if they are over ten years old from date of manufacture. Only one home is permitted on each residential lot, and a minimum size of 1100 square feet is required. Septic and water services are required in all cases. The Resolution also gives criteria by which mobile homes can be declared abandoned, and must then be removed.
My neighbor is not complying with the county's zoning regulations. What should I do?
Talk with your neighbor. Many times, neighbors do not realize that they might be doing something that disturbs others. If you are unable to successfully convince them to address your concern, send us a note expressing what you see as a possible violation. Include a way in which we can contact you, to be sure your viewpoint is clear to us, and to allow us to explain the actions we could take to help get the situation corrected.
Why don't some properties I see appear to be in compliance with zoning regulations?
Morrow County’s zoning process is relatively young. The vast majority of buildings and uses within the county were established prior to the adoption of zoning regulations. Thus, most are “grandfathered,” or permitted to remain simply because they were there before it wasn’t legal to put them there. Sometimes, though, a situation exists that is a violation, but we aren’t aware of it. The land area over which we have jurisdiction is quite large, and we don’t have the resources to “patrol” the townships, looking for changes. If you feel that we should be looking into a particular situation, please drop us a note.
Do commercial buildings need to comply with the county's zoning code?
Absolutely. The Zoning Resolution applies to all buildings within the seven townships under the county zoning plan. However, it is important to note that zoning limitations are different in Commercial and Industrial districts from those in Residential and Agricultural zoning districts. Different setbacks apply and different uses are permitted in each zoning district. It is important to check with us early in your planning process, before investing a great deal of time and effort that might not be well spent.
Do I need a zoning permit for a shed?
Yes, all buildings are required to have a zoning permit. Simply put, a building is any structure with a roof.
Do I need a zoning permit for a fence?
No. County zoning does not regulate fences.
I just built a new home. Do I need an occupancy permit?
Yes and no. When your project is complete, you need a Compliance Certificate, for which we must make an inspection. However, this is not the same as an occupancy permit. Morrow County does not enforce building codes, which cover safety issues such as exits, smoke detectors, wiring, etc. Our inspection is for zoning compliance, to be sure that the project is finished in the way it was approved with regard to use, setbacks, parking, etc.
What if I can't comply with the county's zoning codes?
Some unusual cases might qualify for a variance. Normally, this is because the existing site has some extraordinary feature, such as steep slopes, dense woods, abnormal lot shape, making strict compliance difficult or impossible. If you feel that this is the case, please contact us, so we can help guide you through the variance process. There will be application requirements and fees, a required public hearing, and important public notice deadlines governing the date on which your case can be heard by the BZA. We are here to help, so contact us as early in the process as possible.
My neighbor has a junk car at their house. Is there anything that can be done about it?
Junk cars and other litter concerns are not addressed by zoning. Contact your township trustees to see if the problem might be declared a nuisance under state law. A commercial junkyard, however, might be a zoning concern, depending on its’ age and location.
Is there a building code in Morrow County?
This is another “yes and no” question. Morrow County does not have a state-certified building department. Commercial, industrial, and multifamily building owners must submit their plans to the State of Ohio for approval. There is a residential building code for Ohio, but it is not currently being enforced within our county.
What are the county's set back requirements?
The setbacks for main and accessory buildings vary from one zoning district to another. For residential and agricultural districts, the minimum front yard is 35 feet (plus the right of way), the minimum side yard is 15 feet, and the minimum rear yard is 40 feet. These requirements are for the main building. Note that the front yard is always measured from the edge of the right-of-way, not from the center of the road. They must also be at least 15 feet from any side or rear lot line.
What should I know about building an accessory structure, such as a shed, barn, or garage?
A zoning permit is required for each building that is 120 sq. ft. or larger. Accessory buildings must meet the minimum front setbacks and be at least 15 feet from any side or rear lot line.