Ella Street Canal Bridge
How long does it take to get a zoning permit approved?

Most permit applications are reviewed and approved the same day as they are submitted provided the proposed project complies with the development regulations for the zoning district in which the project is located.  Larger projects may take up to 30 days to review.

Do I need a permit to build, replace, or modify a fence, wall, deck, patio, garage or shed?

Yes.  In the City of Tiffin no building or structure (including movable sheds) shall be erected, moved, added to, or razed without a zoning permit issued by the Zoning Inspector.

How long is my zoning permit valid?

The approved permit will expire if the work has not begun within one (1) year from the date of issuance or if the work has not been substantially completed within two and a half (2 ½) years from the date of issuance.

How do I apply for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals?

After discussing the proposed project with the Zoning Inspector, a variance application along with a non-refundable $200 application fee must be submitted to the City Zoning Department. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the Zoning Board of Appeals must hold a public hearing to discuss the request. The applicant or their representative must be in attendance at the public hearing. All property owners located within 200 feet of the requested variance will also be notified of the public hearing. Within 30 days after the public hearing the Zoning Board of Appeals is required to approve, approve with supplementary conditions, or disapprove the request for appeal or variance.

Do I need a permit to replace the roof, siding and/or windows or to make interior renovations on or within my home?

The City of Tiffin does not have a residential building code, thus, any improvement which does not alter the existing footprint of a residential structure on a property does not require a zoning permit.  The Richland County Building Department serves as the commercial building department for the City of Tiffin.  All commercial alterations should be coordinated with the Richland County Building Department.  They can be reached at 419-774-5517.

How far does a fence need to be from a property line?

In general, fences can be built up to the property line, unless there is an easement or restriction prohibiting otherwise.

Will the city determine the location of my property lines?

No.  A private surveyor must be hired to determine the location of any private property line.

Does the city require contractors to be licensed?

Effective January 1, 2024, the City of Tiffin has instituted an ordinance requiring general contractors to register with the city. This process has been established to insure that the City collects all income taxes due under city law and allows City Administration to maintain a list of contractors in the event a citizen has a complaint regarding work performed.

General Contractor License Guidelines


Additionally, any contractor wishing to perform work on either a sanitary sewer main or sanitary sewer lateral must obtain a sewer builder’s license from the City Engineer’s Office.  In order to obtain a sewer builder’s license the contractor must submit a liability bond in the sum of $1,000 with the sureties to the approval of the City Engineer, conditioned that they will obey all ordinances of the City and laws of the State relative to street openings and sewer connections, and that they will indemnify and hold harmless the City from all loss or damage that may be either directly or indirectly occasioned by making connection with any sewer or the making of the necessary excavations, a Certificate of Insurance from an insurance company authorized to conduct business in the State of Ohio, stating that the applicant has in effect Comprehensive General or Contractors Liability Insurance and Completed Operations Insurance with minimum bodily injury limits of $250,000 per occurrence and $500,000 aggregate and property damage limit of $100,000 per occurrence and aggregate and an annual fee of $20.00.  The sewer builder’s license shall be in effect for the calendar year of issuance, with the calendar year commencing January 1 and ending December 31.

How do I propose to vacate a street or alley?

After discussing the proposed vacation with the City Engineer’s Office, a vacation petition along with a non-refundable $100 application fee must be submitted to the City Engineer’s Office.  The application will need to be signed by all property owners adjoining the proposed right of way being requested for vacation.  Upon receipt, the City Engineer’s Office will provide a copy of the petition to the Clerk of City Council.  The applicant will be contacted by a City Councilperson.  Final decision is at the discretion of City Council.  The applicant requesting the vacation of any public land shall be required to pay and shall pay the fees and costs associated with publishing all public legal notices advertising the vacation request and for the recording of any documents establishing such vacation, prior to the third reading and approval of any vacation ordinance by City Council.  The applicant will be invoiced by the Clerk of City Council.

Alley or Street Vacation Petition

Can I connect my roof drain and/or sump pump into the city sewer?

These connections are only allowed to be made into a designated city storm sewer.  Connections of such made into an existing sanitary or combined sewer are in violation of the City’s codified ordinances.  The City of Tiffin offers a 100% reimbursable grant program which promotes clean water and the removal of downspouts and sump pump connections from any sanitary and combined sewer.  Information pertaining to this grant program can be obtained by contacting the City of Tiffin Water Pollution Control Center at 419-448-5440.

Who do I contact if a traffic signal is not operating correctly?

Traffic Signal operations are managed by the City of Tiffin Public Works Department.  If you have a concern in regard to the operations of a traffic signal, please gather as much information about the issue as possible and contact the City of Tiffin Public Works Department at 419-448-5430.  Outside of their normal business hours of 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. feel free to either leave a message or for immediate after-hours concerns, contact the City of Tiffin Police Department at 419-447-2323.

Who do I contact to report an issue with my water service or to obtain information pertaining to waterline infrastructure within the City of Tiffin?

Water service within the City of Tiffin is provided by a private utility company, AQUA.  Further contact information can be found on their website at www.aquaamerica.com.

What are the colored paint markings and/or flags on or near my property?

These markings are more than likely the result of an Ohio Public Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) ticket request.  The mission of OUPS is to prevent damage to member facilities and promote public safety by providing an efficient and effective communication and education process.  OUPS should be contacted at 8-1-1 a minimum of 48 hours in advance of any excavation.  Flags and paint markings are utilized to identify the location of underground utilities.  Typical marking and flag colors are as follows:

  • Yellow – Gas
  • Green – Sewer
  • Blue – Water
  • Orange – Fiber Optic/Communication/TV
  • Red – Electrical
How are streets selected for the City’s Annual Paving Program?

The City Engineer’s Office physically drives every street within the city limits every 3-5 years and assigns each block of each street a pavement rating based upon its condition at the time of the inspection.  The rating is imported into the City of Tiffin’s Paving Log.  The rating along with other contributing factors such as current budget, project cost and future projects are evaluated when establishing each year’s list.

Who do I contact to report a pothole or pavement problem within a street or alley?

 Inquiries should be directed to the City of Tiffin Public Works Department at 419-448-5430.

Who is responsible for repairing the public sidewalks?

It shall be the duty of every owner of any lot or parcel of land situated within the corporate limits of the City to keep, and maintain good and sufficient sidewalks along all public streets, avenues, boulevards or land adjoining thereto.

Who do I contact in regard to the condition of a tree within the city right of way or a tree within the city right of way that is damaging the sidewalk?

Tree inquiries should be directed to the City of Tiffin Public Works Department at 419-448-5430.