Monroe County, Indiana

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What role does the Planning Department play?
The Monroe County Planning Department performs a vital role in creating and communicating a vision of the county and acts as the primary coordinating agency in the development, adoption, and implementation of the county's land use plans and policies. The department provides both current and long range planning services to the various County boards, including the Plan Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and County Commissioners, as well as to the general public. Staff also provides assistance to outside agencies focusing on development opportunities in Monroe County. The Plan Commission jurisdiction is that area outside the former Two-Mile Fringe and the areas previously governed by the City of Bloomington's Planning Jurisdiction.
When do I need a building permit?
Permits are required for most any construction or remolding projects. Contact the Monroe County Building Department at 349-2580 for specifics.
What is my Zoning?
Monroe County (unincorporated) has sixteen (16) different zoning districts. The County is also responsible for most of the "two mile fringe" area formerly under the jurisdiction of the City of Bloomington. This fringe area has seventeen (17) zoning districts that do not coincide with the County's zoning districts. A staff member will help you find and explain your zoning classification.
What can I do on my property?
A "Permitted Land Use Table" specifies whether a specific use is allowed in a specific zoning district. A staff member will help you determine the specific uses for your zoning district.
How do I divide my property?
Depending on the existing parcel's zoning and other circumstances, property can be split through the subdivision plat process. All new and remaining parcels need to comply with the Land Development Code requirements for lot area, lot width and access. Anyone wishing to divide their property should schedule a meeting with a Planner.
How many acres are required to create a buildable lot?
The zoning district in which the lot is located will determine the required number acres. This will vary from five (5) acres in a Forest Reserve zone, to less than one (1) acre in some residential zones. A staff member will help you determine the required number of acres for your lot.
When do I need a logging permit?
If you are cutting trees for commercial profit, you will most likely need a logging permit. Trees can be removed for the building of a home or business, though generally only those trees that are located where the structure is to be placed and for access to that structure. Contact the County Planning office to determine if a logging permit is needed.
When do I need a sign permit?
A sign permit must be obtained for the placement of any new sign. Existing signs may be repaired or replaced as long as the size, design and location remain the same. There are special provisions for political, yard sale and temporary signs. Contact the County Planning office for assistance before you place any sign.
When do I need a grading permit?
Any land disturbance activity (vegetation removal, filling, disturbance of the soil) may require a grading permit. There are some exceptions when the land disturbance involves agricultural use and single family residential uses. Contact the County Planning office before you begin your grading project.
What are my building setbacks?
Setbacks from the roadway, rear yard and side property lines will be different depending upon your zoning district. A staff member will help you in determining the required setbacks for your lot.
What are the regulations regarding home businesses?
Monroe County has two land use designations for home businesses, a "Home Occupation" and a "Home Based Business." The home based business is conducted in the primary residential structure or one accessory structure. The home occupation is based entirely within the primary residential structure. Both home businesses are only permitted in certain zoning districts and with additional restrictions. A staff member will help you determine if a home business is allowed in your zoning district.
Can I have a second home on my property?
No. Monroe County ordinances permits only one principal building and its accessory structures on a lot. There is a provision for the temporary placement of a mobile home in cases where a family member requires constant attention due to a handicap or infirmity.
What are the regulations regarding outdoor trash and junk vehicles?
Monroe County does not permit junkyards. The ordinance defines a junkyard as "an open area where junk, waste, scrape, discarded or salvaged materials are bought, sold, exchanged, stored, baled, packed, disassembled, or handled, including but not limited to scrap iron and other metals, paper, rags, rubber tires, bottles, and inoperable equipment or machines or motor vehicles. A junkyard includes automobile wrecking or salvage yards, house wrecking yards, used lumber yards and places or yards for storage of salvaged house wrecking and structural steel materials and equipment."
Where can flood plain information be obtained?
Local flood plain information can be obtained through the County Planning office. Additional information regarding the National Flood Insurance Program can be found through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
What are the regulations regarding livestock and domestic animals?
Livestock, such as cattle, horses, llamas, goats, sheep, fowl and hogs, are permitted in Agricultural and Forest Reserve zoning districts. There are specific restrictions on confined feeding operations. Commercial non-farm animals, such as bees, fur animals and exotic animals are permitted in Agricultural zoning districts. Livestock and non-farm animals are permitted in some residential zones with certain restrictions and conditions. Domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, are permitted in all districts, provided they are not bred, boarded, sold, trained or groomed for commercial purposes. Contact the County Planning office to obtain the exact zoning regulations for your property.
What is the Lake Monroe Watershed area?
An Environmental Constraints Overlay Zone that encompasses all of Polk and Salt Creek Townships, and portions of South Benton, Perry and Clear Creek Townships. The purpose of the overlay zone is to preserve and enhance the quality of our drinking water, while also preserving the fish, wildlife and forest for current and future appreciation. Private Lands within this overlay zone may be used as their individual zoning districts (residential, agricultural, business, etc.) permits. However, there are specifics restrictions that will apply. A staff member can provide you with detailed information.
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