Official Website of Shelby County Indiana Government
Planning Department Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • How much land do I need to build a new house in Shelby County?

Typically, 2-acres.  Lots established prior to 2008 are ‘grandfathered’ and designated as a building lot regardless of size, as long as the new home complies with all other zoning requirements.  The Plan Commission suggests contacting the Planning Director to verify building lot eligibility prior to purchasing a property or starting the permitting process.

  • What is the zoning of my property?

The Shelby County GIS system includes a zoning map.

Enter the property address, owner name, or parcel number in the search box at the top left corner of the screen and make sure to check County Zoning under the Layer button at the top of the screen.

  • How far does my structure need to be from my property lines?

The table below includes the setback requirements for accessory structures in the most common zoning districts.  Article 2 of the Shelby County Unified Development Ordinance includes setback requirements for all zoning districts.  Note that the Minimum Front Yard Setback is measured from the right-of-way line of the road (typically 25-feet from the center of the road). 

Zoning District Front Setback Side Setback Rear Setback
A1 50-feet 10-feet 10-feet
A2 60-feet 10-feet 10-feet
RE 50-feet and not in front yard 10-feet 10-feet
R1 35-feet and not in front yard 5-feet 5-feet
VR 25-feet and not in front yard 5-feet 5-feet
VM 25-feet and not in front yard 15-feet 20-feet
IS 35-feet and not in front yard 15-feet 20-feet


  • Do I need a permit to build a fence?

The Plan Commission does not require a permit to build a fence, however fences should comply with the Fence and Wall Standardsof the Unified Development Ordinance (Section 5.23 – 5.29, pages 90-92).  The Plan Commission currently enforces fence standards at the time a citizen informs the department of a non-compliant fence.

  • Can I build a ‘mother in-law quarters’ onto my home, a detached secondary dwelling or place a mobile home on my property for a member of my family in need of long-term care?

The County does not permit these types of structures without approval of a variance from the Shelby County Board of Zoning Appeals.  The Board will typically grant a variance for temporary occupancy in cases of hardship.  ***Note*** The Plan Commission defines an attached dwelling unit / mother-in-law quarters as a unit having a full kitchen, full bathroom, and living area without access to the main dwelling through an interior door.

  • Can I occupy an RV or place a mobile or manufactured home on my property?

No.  The County only permits occupied RVs, mobile homes, and manufactured homes in RV and mobile home parks.  The Board of Zoning Appeals may grant a variance for temporary occupancy in cases of hardship.

  • Can I operate a business out of my home?

Yes, however home businesses must comply with the Home Business Standards identified in the Unified Development Ordinance (Section 5.33 – 5.35, pages 119-122).

  • Is my property in a Flood Zone?  Can I build in a Flood Zone?

The Indiana Floodplain Information Portal incudes the official flood maps:  Enter the property address in the search box at the top left corner of the screen and make sure to turn on Floodplains (Best Available Data) under the Layers tab at the top of the screen.  A Floodplain Permit and additional development regulations (such as elevating a structure and floodproofing) apply to land grading or construction in designated flood hazard areas.  Development in the Floodway (dashed areas on map) also requires a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Water.

  • Does the zoning of my property effect my property taxes?

Typically, no.  Tax rates reflect the use of the land rather than the zoning.  Contact the County Assessor for more information: 317-392-6305

  • Does the Plan Commission enforce regulations regarding weeds, trash, and property maintenance?

No.  The Shelby County Recycling District enforces the County Nuisance Ordinance.  Contact the Compliance Officer for more information: Danny McComas – 317-392-8904