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June 18, 2014

Permits now required for building on agricultural land

Officials to vote on fee schedule for new permit to build on agricultural land

The Cass County Planning Department is now requiring landowners to obtain a permit before building structures on their agricultural properties.

Because many new agricultural buildings don’t require a building permit, owners often have them built without knowing the standards they must meet, said Arin Shaver, executive director of the planning department. Requiring an improvement location permit for new buildings on agricultural properties would ensure these standards are met, she added.

“The problem in the past has been that they don’t apply for anything, so they don’t know what standards they’re supposed to be meeting,” Shaver said.

For example, a farmer might build a barn on his or her property line not knowing a setback prohibits them from doing so, Shaver continued. Requiring the farmer to obtain an improvement location permit would establish a line of communication with planning department staff to ensure the project is carried out properly.

Building permits are only required for structures on agricultural properties when they are built to hold a large number of livestock, classifying them as a commercial building.

Improvement location permits are available at the planning department’s office on the third floor of the Cass County Government Building, 200 Court Park. They are also available on the county’s website, co.cass.in.us, by clicking the “Departments” link at the top of the page and selecting the planning department on the subsequent page. Shaver said there will be a two-day turnaround period for those applying for the permits.

Cass County Commissioners unanimously approved the proposal Monday.

The planning department is also seeking to establish a fee schedule for the improvement location permits. Agricultural, residential, public and semi-public property owners would be charged $10, while commercial and industrial property owners would be charged $50.

Commissioners opted to send the proposal on the fee schedule back to the Cass County Plan Commission to be changed to reflect a flat $20 fee for accessory structures on skids rather than the originally proposed fee based on size. Should the plan commission pass it with the requested change, the measure would return to the commissioners for a vote.

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