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Administration Office:
ph: 330-637-3916
400 North High Street
Cortland, Ohio 44410

Zoning & Development

Zoning FAQ's

Am I allowed to place my fence on the property line?

Yes, but it is recommended that you place your fence at a lawnmower width from the property line so you have access to maintain the fence.  If you place a fence at the property line it is your responsibility to find or set new property pins (by a surveyor) that will insure the fence does not encroach on your neighbor’s property.  If you own a corner lot, you are not permitted to place the fence at the street side property line.  Zoning on corner lots is more restrictive than interior lots. Check ahead of time with the Zoning Office for placement of any type of structure prior to beginning a new construction project on a corner lot.

Who needs a permit?

Under the provisions of the City of Cortland Zoning Ordinance section 1131.02, no land shall be used or occupied and no land shall be excavated or graded and no building or other structure shall be erected, structurally altered, added to or moved until a zoning permit shall have been issued in conformance with the provisions of the ordinance by the Zoning Administrator/Service Director.  Within business, commercial and industrial districts, zoning permits are required for new buildings, additions to existing buildings, fences and signage.  Within residential districts, zoning permits are required for new dwellings, additions to dwellings, additions to attached garages, detached garages, sheds fences, decks, patios, gazebos, above ground and below ground swimming pools.  It is requested that property owners please contact the Service Director at 330-637-4637 prior to the start of any new construction project.

How close to the property line can I place my shed or detached garage?

Shed/detached garage should be no less than 10’ from the side and 10’ from the rear property lines.

Should the finished side of my fence face the neighbor’s property?

Yes.  Posts and beams should be on the inside, finished side to neighbor’s side.

Will the Zoning Inspector come out and tell us where our property line is?

We do not survey properties.  We have on file with the Trumbull County Recorders office Plat maps that show the dimensions of every platted parcel of land in the City.  If requested, we will provide a resident with a copy of their tax map that can be used to help them with locating their property pins.  Or you can visit the Trumbull County Auditors site, click Search and then enter your address or name.

My neighbor’s house is in dire need of repairs and maintenance. What can be done to make him spruce up his home like the rest of the neighborhood?

You can file a written complaint with the Service Director by following the instructions here.

The Exterior Property Maintenance Code can be found here or you can call City Hall for a copy.

Do I need to get a permit from Trumbull County Building Inspection Department for my projects?

Yes.  After a zoning permit is obtained from the City of Cortland, a permit is required.  We recommend calling Trumbull County Building Department (330) 675-2467 for any projects to see if they require a permit.

Can I park my car in my front yard?

Yes as long as it isn’t three (3) or more consecutive days.

Can I park my car on my driveway with expired/no license plates?

No. Unlicensed vehicles, or vehicles with expired plates must be parked within the garage or removed from the property.

Can you tell me what a certain property is zoned?

Yes.  Click here for the zoning map.  You can also call the City Administration Building at (330) 637-3011 to find out what a certain property is zoned.

Do I need a fence around my swimming pool?

Yes.  Any pool with more than 18” of water must have a fence around it. This does not apply to small portable swimming pools provided they are emptied when not in use.  The fence must be not less than 4 feet in height. The structural wall of an above ground pool can satisfy the fence requirement as long as an additional fence placed atop of the pool wall shall measure no less than five (5) feet at any point in the pools circumference from the ground.

Do you need a zoning permit for applying siding/roofing to your home?

No.  Siding/roofing is considered maintenance, as long as the roof pitch remains the same and you are not adding any square footage (addition) to the structure. (Trumbull County may require a permit)

Can I operate a home-based business from my home and have employees park on the street in front of my home every day?

Only certain types of home occupations are permitted.  Under no circumstances can the home business have any employees, store inventory or sell any type of retail products.  All approved home occupations are service oriented (ex: accountant, hair stylist, computer services, etc.).

What can be done about a neighbor not cutting his grass/weeds?

A telephone call can be made to the Service Director informing the office personnel where the nuisance property is located.  A property check will then be conducted and appropriate action will be taken.  Keep in mind that the process can take a week or more.  The City sends a Certified Letter to the property owner and they have five (5) days from receipt of that letter to mow the grass/weeds.  If after those five (5) days the grass/weeds are not mowed then City Personnel will perform the work and the property owner will be billed the appropriate charges.

What is a variance?

A variance is required whenever a dimension, setback or something does not conform to the zoning ordinance.  You are required to go before the Planning, Zoning & Building Commission for approval.

Do I have to have a fence around my swimming pool?

Yes.  Per City of Cortland Zoning Ordinance 1125.13(6), every outdoor swimming pool, including those pools erected for sales and advertising purposes, or family pools shall be completely surrounded by a fence or a wall not less than 4’ in height and which shall be sufficiently substantial so as to exclude small children.   A dwelling house or accessory building may be used as part of such enclosure.

How close to the property line can I place my swimming pool?

We use the same guidelines as a shed/detached garage. No less than 10’ from the side or rear property lines.  Swimming pools cannot be located in the front yard.

What do I need to do regarding a zoning permit if I want to build a new home?

A site plan drawing should be brought into the Service Director’s office for approval.  The lot and home size will be evaluated to see if the plans are in accordance with the zoning ordinance.  Floor plan and elevation drawings are also required.  You can obtain the application for a new home below or call City Hall to have one sent to you.


Where is the Trumbull County Building Inspection Department located (where a county permit can be obtained)?

The office is located at 159 East Market St., Suite 100 Warren, OH  44481. (Inside the old First Place Bank Building)

Their number is 330 675-2467.