Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I build a second house on my property?

The Clinton County Zoning Ordinance only allows one house per lot or parcel, with one exception.  A secondary farm dwelling may be built on a farm if it is built to serve as the living quarters for the owner or spouse, a full-time employee of the farm operation, or the mother, father, or children of the owner or spouse.  It must be located within 250 feet of the primary farm dwelling and may not be sold separately from the farm.  A full list of requirements for Accessory Dwellings can be found in Section 4.2.1.C of the Zoning Ordinance.

  • What is an Agricultural Easement?

The Clinton County Zoning Ordinance limits the overall density of non-farm development in the A-1 Zoning District to no more than one dwelling unit per 40 acres.  To accomplish this, an Agricultural Easement is required when creating a new non-farm lot in the A-1 Zoning District.  The Agricultural Easement requires that 40 acres of agricultural land, or the remainder of 40 acres after subtracting off the size of the non-farm lot being created, be reserved for only agricultural use.  This means that the land can be used for farm related activities, but no additional non-farm lots can be sold from the land that has the easement placed on it.  The Agricultural Easement needs to be prepared in order to obtain zoning approval of the new lot.  Without the Easement, the lot created does not comply with requirements of the Zoning Ordinance and the Subdivision Regulations and no zoning permit can be issued.

  • Do I need a zoning permit (building permit)?

Zoning permits are required for the primary purpose of ensuring that all zoning setback requirements are met.  Zoning permits can only be issued for construction on lots that meet all requirements of the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations.  Permits are required prior to beginning construction for all non-farm structures in the unincorporated areas of Clinton County.  Construction is considered to be any work involving the erection, construction, reconstruction, moving, conversion, alteration or addition to any building or structure.  If an existing structure is being expanded (horizontally or vertically) a permit is required.  Minimum setbacks from property lines are included in the Summary of Bulk Standards. A Zoning Permit application form is available here.  A complete listing of requirements is found in the Zoning Ordinance.

  • How do I obtain a zoning permit (building permit)?

Application forms for a zoning permit are available from the Administrator or here. The following information is required to apply for a zoning permit.

A site plan of the property.  The plan should be drawn to scale and show the boundaries of the lot, the location of all existing features, location of the proposed building and its distance from property lines.  The plan should also show the location of any wells and the location of any existing or proposed on-site septic system.  Information about well and septic permits is available from the Clinton County Health Department.

A percolation test with acceptable results must be done prior to approval of a zoning permit for any building which requires a septic system.

A completed application form with the required fee must be returned to the zoning office.

  • What is a Public Hearing?

A Public Hearing is a special type of meeting, held by governing bodies when required either by State Law or County Ordinance, in order to both inform the public about pending actions and to solicit comment from the public about the action. Public Hearings are required to be held by the Planning and Zoning Commission for all Zoning Map, Text Amendment and Planned Unit Development applications.  Major Subdivisions need a Public Hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission only when the Preliminary Plat is being considered.  The Board of Adjustment holds Public Hearings for Variance and Special Exception applications.When a Public Hearing is required for an application, notice needs to be published at least 15 days before the hearing date in an official newspaper of the County.  Official newspapers for Clinton County are the Clinton Herald and the DeWitt Observer.  For applications which involve a specific property, all property owners within 500 feet of the property for which the application is filed are also notified by mail by the Zoning Office.At the Public Hearing, the applicant makes a presentation explaining the application and answers questions from the Board or Commission members.  After the applicant has made their presentation, the Chair of the meeting will ask for comment from the public, first for comments of support for the application, then for comments opposed to the application.  The applicant  has the opportunity to present rebuttals to statements made at the Hearing.  When the public has had the opportunity to speak, the Public Hearing will be closed, and the Board or Commission will then discuss the application.  This discussion may happen immediately following the Hearing or at a later date.  Following discussion, a vote will be taken to either approve or disapprove the application.