The Planning and Development Department provides general and specific advice on planning, zoning, economic development, housing, and building issues. Staff also provides information to the public and developers with respect to procedures and requirements related to the development and use of land and/or buildings.

The Planning and Development Department maintains the Comprehensive Plan and works with other departments on their functional plans. The Department is responsible for managing the development process: the administration of the Zoning Code, Subdivision Regulations, Sign Code and Building Codes. Business attraction and retention efforts and community development projects and grant programs are also undertaken by the Department. In addition to planning, economic development and building activities, the Department provides recreational programming to the community.

Lastly, it is noted that the Department also provides staff support to a large number of City Council’s boards and commissions including the Planning Commission, Design Review Subcommittee, Zoning Board of Appeals, Recreation Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation, and Housing Renewal Commission, as well as to special project committees.

Questions regarding planning, zoning, and/or economic and housing development may be addressed to the Planning and Development Department at (440) 775-7182.


Planning Division

Planning is an important vehicle to assist with establishing the City’s physical foundation. Planning provides the policy framework for the City’s day-to-day decision making related to community development matters. The Comprehensive Plan serves to guide Oberlin’s growth and the quality of development, as well as identifying the infrastructure and community facilities necessary to support growth.   The Planning Division oversees the Comprehensive Plan and makes recommendations concerning updates. The Division has also been involved with the development of area plans within the community such as the Downtown Plan, and the District Plan for the U.S. Route 20/State Route 58 corridor.

Zoning is a tool administered by the Planning Division to implement the adopted community planning program. It ensures that land is used in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan’s future land use pattern recommendations. That pattern should be reflected in zoning categories or districts, thereby attempting to avoid nuisances and promoting healthy and orderly development. Similarly, the Subdivision Code provides regulations to ensure that quality subdivision design and development is realized.

The Planning Division provides staff support to the Planning Commission; the Zoning Board of Appeals; and the Design Review Subcommittee and the Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation.

Further information on planning and zoning can be obtained by calling 440-775-7182.


Building Division

The Building Division of the Planning and Development Department enforces regulations and codes relating to building construction, housing and property maintenance, and nuisance abatement, i.e. sidewalk repair, rubbish and junk removal, junk car removal, weed control, and condemnation and demolition of structures. The Building Division may be reached at (440) 774-3428.

Commercial Construction/State Certified Building Official The City of Oberlin administers the Ohio Building Code (OBC) for the purpose of providing uniform standards and requires a permit for the construction, repair, alteration or change of use of commercial, industrial, multiple-family residential (more than three dwelling units), and institutional structures.

Residential Construction/Permits and Inspections – A building permit is required for most construction activity, including residential buildings, additions, renovations, demolitions, prefabricated structures, garages, sheds, decks, temporary buildings, roofing, siding, swimming pools, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. The City will inspect work at specified stages of construction. The Residential Code of Ohio applicable to Multi-Family Dwellings is administered for residential and related construction.

Contractors must have a current license and/or registration in order to be granted a Building Permit.

Building Maintenance – The City enforces the International Property Maintenance Code (2009 Edition). This Code requires that all properties be maintained in good repair, be structurally sound, and sanitary, so as not to pose a threat to public health and safety. Housing and other buildings may be inspected as a result of complaints or staff observed exterior building deficiencies.


Economic Development & Housing

The Economic Development and Housing Division plans, organizes and implements programs that assist in the retention and expansion of existing Oberlin businesses, and vigorously seeks out new businesses for the City. The Division administers the City’s revolving loan fund and façade loan programs which can assist businesses with start-up and expansion/retention projects and building improvement projects. Other business incentive programs are also available. The Division works closely with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the County’s Community Development Department, Team Lorain County, Oberlin Business Partnership and The Oberlin Project in fostering business retention and attraction.

The Division is also involved with housing issues. In this regard, it is noted that the Division is involved with assisting the Lorain County Community Development Department in the implementation of the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program (CHIP) grant for the City of Oberlin which provides income-eligible persons with home repairs and rehabilitation. Staff also offer a limited home repair service using local Revolving Loan Fund resources.

In addition, the Division collaborates with the County, Zion Community Development Corporation, Oberlin Community Services, the Salvation Army and others in encouraging neighborhood stabilization efforts, providing housing opportunities for all, and completing community development projects.

Lastly, it is noted that the Division provides staff assistance to the Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation (O.C.I.C.) and the Historic Preservation Commission and endeavors to promote and encourage economic development and preservation of historic buildings and homes as well as the promotion of heritage tourism within the City. For more information regarding the Division’s activities, please contact the Planning & Development Department.