Grant County, IN
Terms
APC: "Area Plan Commission"
The Grant County Area Plan Commission is a 13-member board established in accordance with Indiana Code (I.C.) 36-7-4-200, 36-7-4-300 and 36-7-4-400.  The APC has the authority to adopt and amend zoning and subdivision regulations, specifically including, but not limited to, regulations regarding planned unit development, subdivision plats and services plans for special districts, and animal feeding operations.  The Area Plan Commission generally meets the first Monday of the month.  Filing deadlines are the middle of the prior month.  Please contact the Area Plan office at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
BZA: “Board of Zoning Appeals”
The Board of Zoning Appeals is a 7-member body established under Indiana Code (I.C.) 36-7-4-900 responsible for hearing appeals, from individuals who are requesting special exceptions or variances from County Ordinances in regard to land use, building requirements, or from individuals who are questioning the appropriateness of orders made by County officials. It is the Board’s goal to treat all individuals fairly and courteously. Each appeal is heard and decided on its own merit.  Board meetings are generally the first Monday of the month and the filing deadline for a meeting is in the middle of the prior month.  Please contact the Area Plan office at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
Certificate of Occupancy
 A certificate of occupancy (or COO) is issued at the completion of a project following a final inspection by the Area Plan staff that shows that work has been completed and meets state and local codes.
CDR: "Commercial Design Release"
The State of Indiana, through its Department of Homeland Security, requires a commercial design release (CDR) for construction or remodeling of buildings for business use, which will involve either: entrance into and/or use of the building by the public, employees on the site, or three or more tenants.  The release should be obtained before construction begins.  For more information, contact Area Plan at 765-668-4765 or the Department of Homeland Security at www.in.gov/dhs.  
Comprehensive Plan
A comprehensive plan is necessary for communities who wish to create and enforce zoning ordinance (I.C. 36-7-4-603).  A comprehensive plan in the State of Indiana must have at least the
following elements:

(1) A statement of objectives for the future development of the
jurisdiction.
(2) A statement of policy for the land use development of the
jurisdiction.
(3) A statement of policy for the development of public ways,
public places, public lands, public structures, and public
utilities.

Often the plans include more detail and consider a variety of community characteristics which can include, but are not limited to: land use, transportation; utilities, economic development, education, parks and recreation, trails, etc.  Preparing a comprehensive plan is usually done through the planning department with the oversight of the Area Plan Commission.  
Zoning Ordinance
The zoning ordinance is the land use guide for the County and can be accessed through this website.  The land use table, which is a separate link on the website, lists what types of uses are permitted or not permitted in individual zoning districts.  An X on the land use table means it is permitted; an S means it is permitted through a special exception obtained through the Board of Zoning Appeals, and a blank box means a particular use is not permitted.  For clarification and to make sure the information on the website is current, please contact the Area Plan office at 765-668-4765.
ICC - International Code Council IRC - International Residential Code IBC - International Building Code
The International Code Council (ICC) is an organization dedicted to creating a set of codes that can be used for constructing safe and habitable buildings for use internationally.  The ICC and IBC are used by most states, including Indiana, as the basis for their building laws, which are in turn referenced by counties like Grant County in their local building laws.  The IRC and the IBC represent the foundation of the code requirements used by Grant County in conducting building inspections on projects for which permits are issued.
GFCI - "Ground fault circuit interrupter"
GFCI refers to an outlet that has a safety release in the event a circuit is overloaded or shorted.  
Improvement Location Permit; Building Permit
In Grant County, all permits are issued as ILP's, or improvement location permits.  These include the "building permits," which are in other places are issued as separate permits because, in part, the building department is separate from the planning department.  In short, ILP's refer to way a site is improved or used; a building permit refers specifically to the structure being built or altered.  For clarification, please contact Area Plan at 765-668-4765.
Setbacks
Setbacks, sometime known as building lines, are the distances on a property a structure must be away from the front, site or rear property lines.  Front setbacks in Grant County depend on the zoning district while the side setbacks are 10% of the width of the front yard.  Rear setbacks depend on whether the building is a principal residence or an accessory building.  If you want to build closer to the property line than the setback line, you will need to get a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Contact Area Plan at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
Special Exception
Special exceptions are land uses that may be considered in certain zoning districts that differ from the specific uses identified for that zone.  To get a special exception, a property owner needs to petition the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
Variance
A variance is request for deviation from an established developed standard identified in the zoning code.  Common variance requests include building structures closer to the property line than allowed, building a second residence on one piece of property, or building a structure on a parcel of land without a principal residence when the zoning district requires it.  Contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
Property split
A property split entails splitting a single parcel into two or more parcels.  Contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
More topics??
If you know of a term(s) that should be referenced in this list please contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 or send an email to areaplan@grantcounty.net.
GIS - "Geographic Information System"
GIS is the mapping system used by the various county departments in daily activities.  The GIS is done through a program called Elevate, which is provided by a company called 39 Degrees.  The GIS can be used by anybody and accessed through the County website.  Contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
Floodplain; floodways
A floodplain is land or an area along a river, stream or coast subject to flooding during what is known as a 100-year flood, or 1% chance flood.  Floodways are the channel of a river or watercourse that must be reserved to efficiently discharge the base flood during a flood event.  Construction today is generally prohibited in floodways.  Construction in floodplains is discouraged and needs to be built to specific standards for a property owner to get federally backed flood insurance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Floodways and floodplains are identified on the Grant County GIS.  Contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information.
Manufactured Home
A manufactured home or office unit is generally a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when attached to the required utilities.  The term "manufactured home" does not include a "recreational vehicle."  Contact the Area Plan department at 765-668-4765 for more detailed information. 
Frequent Questions
Do you need a permit?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you do need a permit:

  • Is it a new structure (principal or accessory building)?
  • Is it an addition?
  • Is the work on heating, ventilation, or air conditioning?
  • Is the work a remodel, alteration, or repair?
  • Is the work considered repair or alteration to a load-bearing wall?
  • Is the work any type of swimming pool (above or in ground)?
  • Is the work a deck or enclosing an existing porch?
  • Is the work replacing or repairing a roof?

However, you will need to contact the town hall or the county building inspector if the work is within the town limits of:

  • Fairmount
  • Jonesboro
  • Matthews
  • Sweetser
  • Van Buren
  • Upland
How long before I can get an inspection?
Typically the next day, but we require an advanced notice of 24 hours.
Are you responsible for Tax Assessments?
No, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Assessor's Office at 765-668-6562.
I have drainage problems!
Please contact the Drainage Board through the County Surveyor's Office at 765-651-2407.
Do we issue/sell business licenses?
No, but you may want to check with the Grant County Recorder's Office or the State of Indiana.
What setbacks do I need for my home or building project?
Specific information on residential setbacks can be found in the Grant County Code of ordinances on pages 224 through 226 (Click here for the Code) . For most properties, the following is accurate:
Front yard setback - 30' in agricultural or suburban areas; 15' to 25' in town settings (depends on zoning)
Side yard setbacks - 10% of front yard width with a minimum of 5' and maximum of 25'
Side yard fronting on street (corner lot) same as front yard
Rear yard - 20 feet for house and 5 feet for accessory structures for most properties.
For more detailed questions or commercial properties, please contact the Area Plan office at 765-668-4765.
Is ice shield protection required on roofs in Grant County?
According to Indiana code, in Grant County ice protection is NOT required; unless the shingle material's manufacturing instructions calls for it (which supersedes Indiana code).
Is drip edge (flashing) required on roofs?
Yes, drip edge is required on roofs. Drip edge should be installed in such a manner so as to prevent moisture entering the wall and roof through joints in copings, through moisture permeable materials, and at intersections with parapet walls and other penetrations through the roof plane.
What is a variance and how do you get approval?
A Variance is when a property owner seeks to do a property improvement that will differ from established development standards (such as setbacks, dwelling size, number of homes on one tract of ground etc.) Variances are granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals following the filing of a petition and a public hearing process. A variance "runs with the land" as long as the request does not change, and if the variance is granted it is in place forever.
What is a special exception and how do you get approval?
Each zone district lists special exceptions that, because of their special impact or unique characteristics, can have a substantial adverse impact upon or incompatible with other uses of land. They typically are uses that are not directly related to the original intent of the use of the land by zoning code. Special Exceptions may be granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals following a petition and a public hearing process. If granted the Special Exception, "it runs with the owner of the property". If the property changes owners, the Special Exception is no longer valid. A new Special Exception would have to be applied for by the new owner and approved again.
Can I/how do I call in a permit over the phone? Can I register as a contractor in Grant County?
Please call our office at 765-668-4765 and ask for a permit clerk. If no one is available immediately, please leave a message with your name, address, and phone number and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You can get permits for roofs and electrical hookups over the phone. You can also call in to register as a contractor. Please email (areaplan@grantcounty.net) or fax a copy (to 765-651-0892) of the registration form (click here) and we will contact you when we receive the form. At this time, we are only accepting credit or debit cards for over the phone requests. Also, if it is a contractor trying to get a permit, we will need a copy of the contract, or a letter from the owner, approving the contractor to pull the permit before we issue the permit.
What number do I call if my property is in the city?
Who do I contact on septic systems or leach fields?
Please contact the County Health Department at 765-651-2401 ext. 132.
Where can I get a driveway permit?
The Grant County Highway Department at 765-667-6044, or the State Highway Department at 260-484-9541.
Yard Barns/Accessory Structures - What do I need to know?
In 1974 Grant County Commissioners adopted the Area-wide Zoning Ordinance. The county ordinance specifies that structures over 120 square feet, have to get an accessory building permit from the Grant County Area Plan Commission prior to installation. Within the ordinance, it addresses building rules to use for construction that are based on the International Residential Code book with Indiana Amendments. The IRC states that any detached garage, carport or accessory structure over two hundred (200) square feet must be placed on a permanent foundation and/or footer. With the recent construction and purchase of yard barns larger than 200 square feet (10x20)several counties in Indiana are allowing for options for permanent foundations. Other methods may be approved by the Building Inspector to meet the anchoring and base requirements. Please contact the Area Plan office for more information on this subject.
How many residences can I have on one parcel of land?
Per the Grant County code, you can have only one single-family or two-family residential building on any tract/parcel of land UNLESS your tract is at least 40 acres in size (allowing 20 acres for each residential structure). You can also request a variance from the general development code or you could have a tract of property smaller than 40 acres split into two parcels.
Can I put an accessory building on a vacant piece of property.
What if I want to turn my house into a bed and breakfast?
When you convert your home or part of your home into a bed and breakfast your structure becomes a Class 1 residence as defined by the Indiana Building Code with amendments.  Simply put, that means you will need to either get a design release or approval from the Building Plan Review section of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.  This is to ensure that your structure, with or without additions or alterations you make, meets minimum design standards as established by the state's building code.  For more information contact Area Plan (765-668-4765) or the Department of Homeland Security Plan Review section.
What types of open burning are permitted?
Generally, all open burning is prohibited in the state of Indiana with a few exceptions.  Indiana Code 13-17-9-1 and Open Burning Rule 326 IAC 4-1 allows for burning of vegetation from agriculture land for maintenance purposes.  Private residences may open burn clean wood products and paper in a noncombustible, well-ventilated container that is enclosed on the bottom and sides.  Specific exemptions for open burning activities can be found at 326 IAC 4-1-3(c)(1) which states that recreational or ceremonial fires, some disposal burning, and burning of clean wood, etc.  is exempt.  In all cases adequate firefighting equipment should be available.  Under 326 IAC 4-1-3(a) undesirable wood structures on real property or wood remnants of the demolition of a predominantly wood structure in an incorporated area can be burned.  However, houses or commercial structures are typically not considered a predominantly wood structure.  In all cases, it is recommended people contact their local fire officials or Grant County Area Plan before any open burning activity.
Swimming pools
If you are building a swimming pool in Grant County, you need a permit from Area Plan.  Your pool will need to be inspected and have a certificate of occupancy allowing you to use it before you use it.  This is important for your safety and we will assess fines for use without a COO.  Above-ground pools need fences (or the walls of the pool with a self-locking ladder) that are 48" high.  You don't need permits for temporary pools that are taken down in the fall.  We have drowning deaths almost every season so please check with us before you build or install your pool.  Get a permit, get inspected!  Call 765-668-4765 with questions.