GUIDE TO DIVIDING LAND AND RESIDENTIAL BUILDING
IN ALLEN COUNTY
This guide has been assembled to assist property owners and buyers in buying property, dividing land, getting an address, getting permits, and other issues that may arise. The links access the forms that are available in our office (Room 630 of the City County Building, One East Main Street).
1. I want to get information about a property before I make an offer. Where should I go and what information might I request?
There are a number of Allen County offices that you may visit. The Allen County Auditor, Allen County Treasurer, and Allen County Assessor each have information regarding the buildings, taxes assessed, tax payments, ownership, and other information. To view property tax information and property record cards go to this website. The Board of Health can inform you if there is a septic system on file for an existing or proposed home. The Department of Planning Services (DPS) can verify the zoning of the property, check whether the property was approved for a Special Exception, Variance, or other Board approved use, and verify the correct address of the property. DPS staff can also inform you if there are any zoning violations on the property and provide the Flood Insurance Rate Map for your property. If the property is vacant and a building is proposed, DPS staff can tell you local Zoning Ordinance requirements, such as minimum lot requirements and setbacks from property lines.
2. I want to divide my property. What are the requirements?
The conveyance of property in Allen County is common and often referred to as "metes and bounds" development. Although there is not an official approval or sign-off procedure for the conveyance of property from the Department of Planning Services, the property being split needs to meet all Zoning Ordinance standards. DPS staff can be contacted with any specific questions, but the following general rules apply:
If numerous sell-offs are projected, we encourage you to contact DPS staff to discuss any future plans.
3. I am planning on buying/selling a property which is landlocked. What are the rules regarding roadway (access) easements?
County approved roadway easements are required when a parcel does not have the necessary frontage on a dedicated right-of-way (120' in most areas). Roadway easements are reviewed administratively and do not require a public hearing if all Zoning Ordinance standards are met. Applications for roadway easements are submitted to DPS staff and are routed to the Allen County Surveyor, Allen County Highway Department, and the Board of Health for approval. Please read the Roadway Easement Information Sheet for further information on application and requirements. Metes and bounds parcels utilizing roadway easements must still conform to the one conveyance per 12 months rule.
4. I purchased land and need an address. Who assigns addresses and what is the procedure to get one?
The Department of Planning Services issues address to all parcels in Allen County including Fort Wayne, Grabill, Huntertown, Monroeville, and Woodburn. For address requests in Leo-Cedarville and New Haven, you must contact the respective city in order to obtain an address. In order to assign an address, we need the Address Request Form completed and returned to our office. A survey and legal description should also be included with the application. For metes and bounds parcel, the driveway location should be displayed clearly. Address requests can be faxed to 260-449-7682 or dropped off in the DPS office. Address requests typically take 24 hours to process.
5. I want to build a new house in Allen County. What do I need to get a permit? What other departments do I contact?
After an address is assigned, you will need to contact a few other departments. Please make sure that all applications to other departments have the address as assigned by DPS. You may need to obtain a driveway permit from the Allen County Highway Department (260-449-7369). You may also need to apply for a septic permit or see if there is an existing system on file for the Board of Health (260-449-7530). The Allen County Surveyor (260-449-7625) should be contacted regarding legal drains, drainage tile, and stormwater management. If you do not have a copy of your recorded deed, you may obtain one from the Allen County Recorder's Office (260-449-7165). Permits for new homes that are not in a platted subdivision require a copy of the recorded deed before the permit can be issued.
After you have contacted the other departments, you will need to complete an Improvement Location Permit (ILP) application.When you come to our office, you will need a plot plan showing the location of all existing and proposed structures. All structure and property dimensions must be labeled. Clearly mark the distance of all structures from the property lines and centerline of the road. You will also need to show utility easements and legal drains, in applicable. Properties that are in or partially within the floodplain may require additional information, such as certified survey or elevation certificate. The ILP fee for a new residence is $100. DPS accepts cash, or checks payable to the Allen County Treasurer. After an ILP is issued, a refund is not possible. The application fee applies only to the ILP and does not include fees associated with other departments.
6. How long does it take to have my Improvement Location Permit issued?
Permits in platted subdivisions may take 2-3 days to process. Permits for properties on septic systems can take 3-5 days or longer due to the research that is required and additional review by the Board of Health. Incomplete applications, poor plot plans, development in the floodplain, or lack of necessary roadway easements may add to the processing time.
7. How do I get building permits?
Once the Improvement Location Permit has been issued, DPS will deliver it to the Allen County Building Department. Building permits may be obtained through the Allen County Building Department. They can be contacted at 260-449-7131.
8. Can I change my plot plan?
An Improvement Location Permit applicant may amend a plot plan without additional cost either before the ILP is issued or within 60 days after ILP issuance. The application must provide a new or revised plot plan. After 60 days, any change to a plot plan will require a new ILP and fee.
9. What is a Certificate of Compliance and how do I get one? What is a Certificate of Occupancy and how do I get one?
Before a new structure or addition can be occupied, a Certificate of Compliance (C of C) must be obtained from DPS. For a new house in a subdivision, typically two documents are needed to issue a C of C; a copy of the final inspection from the Building Department (Building Department will sent DPS an inspection copy), and a certified survey. If no certified survey is submitted, DPS staff must inspect the property. The Building Department then issues the Certificate of Occupancy and the process is complete.
10. I would like to add on to my existing house. Is an ILP required? What do I need to get an ILP?
An ILP is required in most instances. All room additions, garages, pools, decks, sunrooms, anything with footers or anything that changes the footprint of the building will likely require an ILP. Second story additions also require an ILP. For other projects please contact DPS staff.
11. I would like to know the requirements for above ground or inground pools. Do I need an ILP? Is a fence required?
A private pool is defined as being constructed or portable and used for swimming, wading, or bathing with over 24 inches of depth or with a top water surface exceeding 250 square feet. All pools require an ILP. Above ground pools must have walls at least 5 feet tall from ground level or a fence is required.
In ground pools may have an automatic pool cover instead of a fence. The cover must provide a continuous connection between the cover and the deck to prohibit access when it is drawn. It must be operated by a key or key and switch. The cover has to support 400 pounds when it is drawn over the pool, and be installed according to specifications and bear an identification tag.
Pool fences, if required, may be no less than 5 feet tall, and can surround either the pool or the rear yard. The fence may not have openings larger than 4 inches. All doors and gates must be self latching and self closing.
12. I would like to put a fence up. Where can I put it? Do I need an ILP?
For houses that are not at an intersection or a corner lot in a subdivision, you can construct up to an 8 foot tall fence behind and to the side of your house, and a 2 ½ foot tall fence in front of your house. The sight visibility at the corner will be taken into consideration. Always check your subdivision covenants see if you are allowed to construct a fence.
If you are unsure whether you need an ILP, please contact DPS staff.
13. I think my neighbor is violating the Allen County Zoning Ordinance. Who do I call if my neighbor is operating a business, has junk cars, or is dumping outside?
DPS follows up on all zoning complaints from the public. We go to the property and take pictures, and if there is evidence or suspcision of a violation, we notify the property owner. The owner has a deadline to respond or clean up the property. We work with property owners to bring their properties into compliance within a reasonable amount of time. If the property is in violation at the next inspection, legal counsel may get involved and the owner may be taken to court.
DPS staff works with other departments depending on the complaint, and it may be faster to call the respective department. For unlicensed/inoperable vehicle complains on private property, please call us at 260-449-7607. For drainage complaints, call the Allen County Surveyor at 260-449-7625. For structural or building complaints, or if someone is building without a permit, please call the Allen County Building Department at 260-449-7131.
14. Can I build a residential accessory building like a garage or pole building on a vacant property for storage of non-agricultural belongings?
No, an accessory building is only permitted with a primary use on the property. The most typical primary use on a property is an existing dwelling. An accessory building is permitted on a property where the primary use is agriculture, and agricultural uses are actively taking place. The following information is required to verify the agricultural use on the property.