Planning & Building

The Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department provides planning, zoning and building services for all of Whitley County including the communities of Columbia City, ChurubuscoSouth Whitley, and Larwill. The Department Staff assists both existing and future residents with applications for zoning, variance and development proposals as well as building permits for dwellings and accessory structures. The developers and development professionals are also provided with information and assistance on requirements and regulations regarding zoning matters and subdivision plats.
The Department also staffs the Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals for each of the Jurisdictional Areas within Whitley County, Columbia City, Churubusco, and South Whitley.  Indiana Planning and Zoning Law regulates membership, responsibilities, terms, and qualifications for the Plan Commissions (see I.C., 216) and the Board of Zoning Appeals (see I.C. 36-7-4-902, 905).

Are you civic-minded?

Interested in being active in Whitley County? All eight of our Plan Commissions and BZAs have regular openings in their memberships as members retire, move, or step down. If you would like to be considered for an appointment by the Commissioners, Mayor, or Council, now or in the future, please send us a brief letter of interest stating your interest, contact information, background, and any relevant experience or education. The requirements for each seat on the Commission and Board vary, so some positions may be filled only by certain qualifications.

We will take interest letters at any time to be considered for current and future openings. As of now, there are no current openings on the County boards and commissions.

The Department is divided into two areas:
  • Planning and Zoning Staff verifies zoning of property for residential, commercial and industrial uses, and reviews site development plans for compliance with local ordinances. They also serve as staff to the separate Advisory Plan Commissions and Boards of Zoning Appeals, and guide and assist petitioners through the development process.

  • Building Services Staff checks structural building plans for code compliance, issues permits, performs building inspections during construction and issues certificates of occupancy. The chief Building Inspector and the certified inspectors provide for public safety through the inspection process. The department enforces the required State-wide Indiana Codes which can be found on the state's website:
The Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning & Building Department offers the convenience of accepting MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Visa credit cards. The payment processing company charges a service fee of 2.65% or $3.00 minimum to cardholders who use this service.

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