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No, leaves are not part of the ordinance; however, yard waste that is purposely placed in an area that prohibits the flow of water to designated drainage board areas is a violation.
No, the cases and site visits are complaint driven. Residents may report a concern via. St. Joseph County Code Enforcement Online Complaint Form
8AM to 4:30PM Monday through Friday
At this time our ordinances do not address anything related to structures. Public safety issues may be directed to either the St. Joseph County Building Department or St. Joseph County Health Department.
No, vehicles parked on the street are under the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s jurisdiction. Inoperable or abandoned vehicles on private property are part of the ordinance. Multiple inoperable vehicles may be a zoning violation.
Calls may be made anonymously, but online complaints must provide a phone number or email. Inspectors may need contact information for a complainant to verify address, nature of the complaint, etc. in order to create a case.
The current vehicle ordinance only covers inoperable vehicles, not the location of operable ones.
This is a public health hazard and is handled by the St. Joseph County Health Department
No, the ordinance states that it is a violation to purposely place material that blocks the flow of water and forces it to pool, creating a hazard.
Code enforcement does not have jurisdiction over burning. Please contact the St. Joseph County Police Department Non-emergency (574) 235-9611.
This may be a zoning violation. Please contact Area Plan/Zoning at (574) 235-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Code enforcement does not have jurisdiction over noise complaints. Please contact the St. Joseph County Sheriff Department (574) 235-9611
Nine (9) inches
After the first time a violation is found, the inspector will leave a courtesy hangtag at the location stating concerns and contact information. If after 7 days no contact or remediation has been made, a formal violation notice will be mailed to the owner/address of record.
In order to do any work on a regulated ditch, you need to have the approval of the Drainage Board
No, permanent or temporary structures cannot be built within the right-of-way.
If it is in a drainage way (ditch, swale, etc.) you may not block the flow. If it is sheet flow runoff (a wide path of water), you may do on your property whatever you want to do and if you create a problem for your neighbor it is your neighbor’s problem to deal with. In Indiana this is known as the "Common Enemy Drainage Law".
Indiana Drainage Law
Yes, with the permission of the Drainage Board. The County Surveyor will determine the culvert size and length. Once installed the property owner will be responsible for any maintenance on the culvert.
In order to do any work on a regulated ditch, you need to have the approval of the Drainage Board.
You need to notify the County Surveyor of your intent and then we will make a determination if the regulated drain can accept your water.
No, those salaries are paid out of the property taxes that you pay.
No, assessments go to a separate account for each regulated drain.
A regulated drain is an open ditch, drain tile, or a combination of both under the jurisdiction of the Drainage Board.
Since 1976, in St. Joseph County all subdivisions of three lots or more are required to petition to become an Urban Drain under the jurisdiction of the Drainage Board.
Drainage assessment rates are determined by the Drainage Board at a public hearing. Each person affected is sent a notice of the hearing. The Drainage Board sets the rates based upon the estimated yearly maintenance of the drain prepared by the County Surveyor.
You and your neighbors are responsible for the repair. You can request the Drainage Board to look at it and determine what the problem is. You need to fill out an application in the County Surveyor’s office. There is a fee attached with the application to cover any expenses involved.
Contact the County Surveyor’s Office at 574-235-7800.
The County’s economic development staff helps to set the growth and development plan for the Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Growth team and serves as a liaison to coordinate development opportunities with our local cities and towns, the South Bend Regional Chamber, the South Bend-Elkhart Partnership, the State of Indiana’s Economic Development Corporation as well as the private development community and existing, local businesses to help facilitate growth and development within the four corners of the County. Staff works with the development community to help navigate internal and external processes to help advance projects and match incentives, when needed, to help projects to completion. Staff works with local businesses that are seeking to expand or relocate within the County and aids and coordinates to help these businesses grow. Staff also works proactively with State and Federal partners to find resources that can be used locally to leverage development or infrastructure projects.
The Division of Economic Development staff works with our regional economic development partners to promote our region to the local, regional, national, and international development community and to help prospects navigate local and regional development rules to complete their projects. Our team’s goal is to take St. Joseph County to the world and to bring the world to St. Joseph County!
The Division of Economic Development staff aides and assists the Towns by serving as supplemental staff to the local government units as they prepare economic development plans, assist with business retention and expansion projects and coordinates as needed when prospects are interested in developing within their Town limits. Staff also works with the development offices in the cities of Mishawaka and South Bend on an as-needed basis.
Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a financial tool that collects new property tax increment generated by new development within a legally defined area. The collected increment helps to pay for infrastructure improvements (streets, sewers, parking lots) in the area near a new development and for targeted property acquisition to support redevelopment purposes. A TIF district sits within an Economic Development Area (EDA) which is a legally defined area managed by the local Redevelopment Commission. Further information about the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission or the Commission’s four economic development areas can be found in this section of the website.
An economic development area (EDA) is a legally defined geography that is established to facilitate economic development or redevelopment. An EDA is managed by the local redevelopment commission. Presently, the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission manages five (5) EDA’s and is considering the designation of two additional EDAs.
In Indiana, tax abatement is technically defined within state law as an economic revitalization area (ERA) deduction. The process begins by designating a certain piece of real estate as an ERA. Subsequent investment on that property, within state guidelines, is then eligible for tax abatement. Two types of investments can receive tax abatement - real estate and personal property improvements.
Regarding real property, the purchase of land does not qualify for a deduction; only a structure or building. Abatement is only for the increase in assessed value which means it cannot be applied to the value of existing structures. Activities eligible for abatement include the construction of new structures, additions to existing structures, and the remodel or repair of a structure that results in an increase in assessed value. Deductions for real property can be approved for a period up to ten years, during which, new taxes are phased in, hence the term tax phase-in.
Personal property abatements are for equipment or machinery used for the production, manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, or processing of other personal property. In addition, equipment used for research and development, information technology systems and on-site logistical equipment are eligible for abatement. Used equipment can qualify for abatement if not previously used and taxed in Indiana. Like the real property abatement, deductions for personal property can be granted for a period up to five years with additional years of abatement based upon the size of the project.
The tax abatement program is managed by the St. Joseph County Council. The Division of Economic Development plays a support role to the Council and works with the prospects and assists them through the various interviews and meetings required for approval. Tax abatement information can be found at: https://www.sjcindiana.com/taxabatement.
There are 2 options:
Option 1: Navigate to our GIS HUB and scroll down to the Data Portal section. Chose the coordinating tab and follow instructions for downloading.
This option is for those that just need the line work (no data included).
Option 2: Navigate to Online GIS Data Request Form and fill out the form with requested information to obtain mapping services.
This option is for those that need line work and the data fields (if for entire county a fee of $200 and a signed Provisional Data Usage Agreement is required before layer is delivered).
Fill out form with requested information to obtain printed map Online Mapping Requests.
The Regional GIS website it maintained by MACOG (Michiana Area Council of Government).
If you have questions pertaining to this website please contact them directly via phone (574) 287-1829
or email email@example.com.
If you have questions about the St. Joseph County data layers within this site please contact a
SJC GIS Staff member. John Carlson - 574.245.6583 or Beverly Kingston - 574.406.6851
You can find different Base maps of St. Joseph County on the county GIS-County Mapping main website page.
Base maps for the county can also be found on the county GIS HUB. Once there scroll down to the Download Maps section.
In 2015, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Growth GIS staff created the St. Joseph County GIS Quick Access maps.
These maps are designed to give you answers to basic county information quickly.
For additional information please contact: FEMA Flood Map Service Center
For all zoning classifications for County addresses (five digit addresses), New Carlisle, Roseland, Osceola, Lakeville, and North Liberty: St. Joseph County Zoning Classifications
City of South Bend (2,3,4 digit addresses)
City of Mishawaka (2,3,4 digit addresses)
Town of Walkerton (2,3,4 digit addresses)
St. Joseph County Zoning Classification map or Regional GIS Map
Contact Planning and Zoning Staff or call 574-235-7800
Zoning ordinances list the permitted uses for each zoning district. In addition to the primary uses listed, each zoning district also has a list of uses permitted with a special use permit. All of our Zoning ordinances are available online.
Contact our Staff or call 574-235-7800 for more information
Rezonings, development standard variances, special exceptions/special uses all require a public hearing in front of a decision-making body, such as the Area Plan Commission and the Area Board of Zoning Appeals. Property owners adjoining or near the subject property receive notice of that public hearing so that they can have their voice(s) heard in favor of or opposition to the issue at hand. The meeting agenda with application and staff report are available ten calendar days before the public hearing.
If you have any questions, you are encouraged to contact us prior to the hearing by emailing or calling us at 574-235-7800
If you have comments in favor or opposition to this matter you are encouraged to make them in writing via mail (227 W. Jefferson Blvd, County City Bldg., 11th Fl., South Bend, IN 46601) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and to attend the public hearing itself.
The Area Plan Commission has a policy of placing “Zoning Hearing” signs at properties scheduled for a rezoning public hearing ten calendar days before hand. The meeting agenda with application and staff report are also available ten calendar days before the public hearing.
If you have any questions on that matter you are encouraged to contact us prior to the hearing (email@example.com or 574-235-7800).
Do I need a building permit to install a fence?
Building permits are required for fence installation in unincorporated St. Joseph County. All fences must meet the location and height development standards in the zoning ordinance.
Where can fences be located and what is the setback?
Fences can be placed right at the property line. In other words, there is no setback for fences. Please note that the front property line is usually never at pavement, but rather at the edge of the County owned right-of-way which extends beyond the street surface (see "How can I determine where my property lines are located?" below).
What is the maximum height for a fence?
The maximum height of a fence depends on the type of fence and its location on the lot. There are additional regulations for corner lots.
For fences where greater than 70% of the fence is open, such as a chain-link fence, the maximum permitted height is 8’- however, if the fence is placed along the front property line or along the side property line within the front building setback (typically 35’ from the front property line for residential lots), the fence shall not exceed 4’ in height.
For fences where less than or equal to 70% of the fence is open, such as solid privacy fences, the maximum permitted height is 6’-however, if the fence is placed along the front property line or along the side property line within the front setback (typically 35’ from the front property line for residential lots), the fence shall not exceed 3’ in height.
Corner Lots. On a corner lot containing greater than 9,000 square feet, both property lines along the street are considered front property lines when it comes to determining maximum fence height. For corner lots less than or equal to 9,000 square feet, one front property line, as determined by the Zoning Administrator, may be considered a side property line and therefore allow for a taller fence. For all corners lots, fences along the two property lines abutting the streets cannot exceed 3’ when they come within 10’ of the right-of-way of the perpendicular street. This area is known as the clear sight triangle, and nothing taller than 3’ may be erect there to protect driver visibility at intersections.
Does it matter which way a fence panel faces (i.e. can the posts/"ugly side" face outward)?
There are no development standards in St. Joseph County regulating which way a fence panel faces.
How can I determine where my property lines are located?
The only way to determine the precise location of a property line is to hire a land surveyor.
Aerials provided by Planning & Zoning staff or online GIS sources can only provide the approximate location of property lines, and may be several feet off.
Can I place a fence in an easement? How do I know if there is an easement on my property?
Easements, such as those reserved for drainage or utilities, are to remain free of structures, including fences. To determine if there is an easement on your lot, first contact the Division of Planning and Zoning. If the parcel was part of a subdivision recorded after 1964, Planning staff will be able to provide you with a subdivision plat which includes all easements in existence at the time of recording. If the parcel was not part of a subdivision, or was part of an earlier subdivision, staff will advise you to contact the County Recorder’s Office to determine whether any easements are present.
No, they do not. Road funding comes from gas tax, which you pay every time you fill up at the pump. However, a portion of your property taxes does help fund bridge projects.
A traffic ordinance, approved by the Board of Commissioners, is required for all Regulatory signs (Stop and Speed Limits). Public Works may approve and arrange the installation of all other types of signs (Street ID, Warning, Informational, etc.)
Any work completed within the Right-of-Way requires a permit. This includes driveway construction for a new home and any work performed on an existing driveway. For more information visit the online driveway permit application.
Utility permits cover any construction work performed in the Right-of-Way, that isn’t for driveway construction. This may include utility work, ditching, installing yard drains, signs, etc. For more information call 574-235-7800.
If you reside in unincorporated St. Joseph County (5-digit address), a permit is required to install a fence ($50.00 fee). Fences must be installed outside the Right-of-Way, on private property. To properly determine the location of the Right-of-Way and/or your property lines, we recommend you hire a Licensed Surveyor.
Any new construction or renovation to an existing residence must get a permit from the Building Department. Additional permits may be required including, but not limited to: Septic permit from the Health Department and Driveway permit from Public Works. For more information visit our permits and forms center
"Chip and Seal" is a necessary and cost effective preventative maintenance tool, that protects the roads from confined water and freeze/thaw cycles. Annually, our Highway Division chip and seals various roads. Similar to the Paving Program, Public Works makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners to select these roads annually. For more information visit our Chip and Seal Program page.
St. Joseph County Department of Public Works Design & Construction Standards
St. Joseph County hires an independent contractor to pickup leaves one time in the Spring and three times in the Fall. This is done to help reduce the amount of leaves residents burn or send to the landfills. For further information: Leaf Collection Information Program
Please contact the City of South Bend or City of Mishawaka for information regarding connection to sewer and/or water. The St. Joseph County Regional Water and Sewer District does serve a few areas in the County with sewer.
The City of South Bend and the City of Mishawaka continue to provide this program for city residents. Contact the City of South Bend or the City of Mishawaka for more information. Unfortunately county residents are not eligible for this program.
To purchase or view County Maps contact our GIS Staff or use the Online Data Request form.
No, any permanent structure or object may not be placed within or overhanging the Right-of-Way.
The Board of Commissioners will consider and approve all special event requests. Insurance is required. For more information and to submit a request, please call 574-235-7800.
No, roadside swales are necessary to maintain the transportation of water from the roadway to established drainage channels. In some cases, it is possible for residents to install a pipe to lessen the slope of a ditch. Public Works must approve the pipe installation. Residents must follow Public Works guidelines, and obtain a utility permit prior to performing the work.
Yes, over-sized loads require advance notice, and may require special assistance and/or bonding. For more information contact the Public Works Department: 574-235-7800.
You may contact Public Works at 574-235-7800 and a staff member will be assigned to investigate the problem or you can fill out a Report a Concern.
For potholes on city streets or county roads, you may contact the proper city or county maintenance department. The Highway Division maintains all county roads in unincorporated St. Joseph County and can be reached at 574-235-7800 or by filling out a Report a Concern. State Roads, Interstates and U.S. Highways are maintained by INDOT.
Sprinkler heads shall not be installed within the Right-of-Way. If damage has occurred, it is the responsibility of the owner to repair at their expense. The Right-of-Way varies for each road and can be determined by contacting Public Works at 574-235-7800.
It is the responsibility of the home owner to maintain their driveway, including the culvert. A private contractor may be hired to complete this work. Any work completed within the Right-of-Way requires a permit and can be obtained through the Public Works Department.
You may contact the Highway Division to remove and properly dispose of a dead animal within the Right-of-Way at 574-235-7800, or fill out the report a concern form.
The Highway Division makes every effort to provide the same level of service to all residents. If you believe additional snow plowing is required, you may contact the Highway Division or fill out the
Report a concern form.
The Highway Division is responsible for all mowing along County roads within the Right-of-Way. To request mowing along your road please contact the Highway Division or fill out the Report a concern form.
The Highway Division can remove any tree, which is deemed unsafe to the traveling public, within the Right-of-Way. The Right-of-Way varies for each road and can be determined by contacting Public Works at 574-235-7800. If the tree is outside the Right-of-Way and on private property it is the responsibility of the home owner. To request someone to investigate, you may contact the Highway Division or fill out the Report a Concern form.
A HAWK signal stands for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. The signal is designed to aid pedestrians and bicyclist when crossing a street with high traffic volumes by alerting drivers to stop.
As you approach a roundabout slow down and yield to pedestrians, bicyclist and vehicles. If there is no traffic in the roundabout you don't have to stop. If traffic is present, stop, wait for an opening and then enter. Proceed with care at your exit. If you happen to miss your exit, simply continue around. Please remember the vehicles circulating in the roundabout have the right-of-way.
You can have your property surveyed to determine where your corners are supposed to be.
List of private land surveyor's
No, the County Surveyor does not do private surveys.
Surveys are not on file in the County Surveyor's Office.
If the survey was done after 1966, they can be found on the St. Joseph County Subdivision Locations Map.
Prior to 1966, they will be found in the County Recorder’s Office.
The cost to survey your property will depend on the private land surveyor that you contact.
No, we can only direct you to contact one of the state licensed land surveyor's.
The office of the Surveyor does not perform any private survey work.
A plat of your property, which shows dimensions of your property, may be obtained in the Recorder's office, located on the 3rd floor of the County-City Building.
If lot corner irons were set, you can find them with a metal detector. If you are going to erect an improvement close to the property line, you would be best advised to call a private land surveyor.
All County addresses are five digits (ex. 12345 Main Street).
Any two, three and four digit addresses will correspond to a City or Town.