Zoning FAQs


What is zoning and why is it important?

Generally speaking, zoning governs the permitted uses of real property, the minimum requirements for property development, the placement of structures on a property, and the maximum development allowed on-site. Zoning enforcement both encourages development practices that best serve the goals of the community and preserves the features that make a place unique and beautiful.

Do zoning regulations change?

Zoning regulations can and do change via ordinances passed by Village Council. Amendments and updates are necessary to ensure that the Code is up-to-date and functioning as best as possible for the welfare of the community. Some examples include amendments to the Village Zoning Code, adjustments to district boundaries, and changes to zoning districts.

What is a variance? How can I get one?

A variance is a deviation from the established zoning regulations. A variance usually occurs when there are unique topographical circumstances that make it difficult or impossible to meet the requirements of the Zoning Code. Someone may apply for a variance if they wish to develop but do not have the means to meet the parameters of the Zoning Code.

You can apply for a variance through the Zoning Department. Your variance application will be brought before the Board of Zoning Appeals for a public hearing. The Board of Zoning Appeals may grant the variance.

Are the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission the same thing?

The Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission are two separate entities with different duties.

The Board of Zoning Appeals has the following powers and duties:

  • Hear and decide appeals of a decision or determination made by the zoning inspector or other decision maker in the interpretation of the Zoning Code.
  • Hear and authorize variances.
  • Make a determination of boundary lines between zoning districts on the official Zoning Map when the street or the lot layout differs from the map.
  • Grant an extension to a zoning permit to begin construction, complete construction, or both if there is just cause.

This differs from the Planning Commission, which is tasked with the following:

  • Initiate and review amendments to the Zoning Code and Zoning Map and make recommendations to Council.
  • Approve or disapprove conditional use applications.
  • Approve or disapprove matters related to nonconforming uses.
  • Approve or disapprove preliminary plats for major subdivisions.
  • Approve or disapprove major site plan applications. The Commission may also refer major site plan applications to Council for final approval.
  • Act in the capacity of the local planning agency and review comprehensive plans and other planning documents as requested by Council.

With this in mind, the Village of Archbold Council has the ultimate authority to pass or approve the recommendations and decisions of the aforementioned bodies.

What is a setback?

setback measures the distance between one thing and another - in this context, a setback is the distance from the property line to a structure. Per the Zoning Code, there are minimum distance requirements that specify how far a structure must be from your lot lines. This measurement is taken from the lot line to an architectural projection, which includes the roof line or eave spout.  The setbacks vary depending on the zoning district in which the lot is located.  Minimum setback requirements can be found in Sections 152.032 and 152.033 of the Village Zoning Code.

Does my swimming pool need a fence?

Above-ground pools must have a 4-foot top rail fence with a lockable gate (including any attached decks) or a removable ladder. In-ground pools must have a 4-foot wall or fence with a gate and lock enclosing the pool or the entire property.


How do I know if I need a zoning permit?

Building and zoning permits are necessary for any development in the Village. This includes alterations and additions to existing structures or a change in use that does not align with the permitted uses in a given zoning district. If you are unsure about whether you need a permit, please contact the Planning Director at 419-446-2109. Before investing in plans for a project, you and/or your representative should contact the Planning & Zoning Department to share ideas and learn about any restrictions on the property.

Does the Zoning Department process commercial building permits?

As of now, the Village does not process commercial building permits. Commercial building permits are acquired through Wood County Building Inspection. However, you still may need to apply for a zoning permit in addition to the commercial building permit. Give us a call for more details!

What is an accessory structure?

Per the Zoning Code, an accessory structure is considered “incidental to the main use of the land or building”. These types of structures include garages, pole barns, gazebos, sheds, and other structures that don’t serve as living quarters in a residential district.

Where can I put an accessory structure?

Accessory structures can only be located in the rear yard. Accessory structures 625 square feet or less must be at least 6 feet from the side and rear lot lines and cannot be taller than 20 feet. Accessory structures over 625 square feet must meet the zoning requirements for a principal structure. 

Accessory structures cannot exceed a total of 30% lot coverage of the rear yard and no more than 3 accessory buildings or structures are permitted on a property.

Who locates my property pins?

The Planning & Zoning Department may be able to locate your property pins; however, there are instances when the pins have been removed or shifted. If this is the case, you can provide an existing up-to-date survey with the location of your lot lines to the Zoning Department, or have your lot surveyed by a Professional Surveyor.

Do I need a permit to build a fence?

Yes, you do need a permit to build a fence. You also need permits to construct structures like utility sheds, decks, porches, pergolas, and swimming pools.

Do I need a permit to replace a structure?

Yes! Anytime something new goes up on your lot, even as a replacement for another structure, you need to apply for a permit to do so.