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Building FAQs

Swimming Pools

What size pool needs a permit to install?
All permanent and seasonally erected pools need a permit from the Building Department.

What is the first thing I need to do to obtain a pool permit?
Take the following to the Building Department:
  1. Plot plan
  2. The paperwork that comes with your pool, pump & filter
  3. Please have your name, address and day time phone number attached to the plot plan.

When should I apply for my permit?
Please apply a minimum of six weeks prior to the swimming pool season. If a Zoning Variance is required it may take two to six weeks to have your request heard, depending on the timing of your application.

What is a plot plan?
A plot plan is a 'birds-eye' view of your yard showing the following:

  1. Your house
  2. Your garage
  3. Any other structures on your property
  4. The location of the proposed above ground swimming pool
  5. Where the fence is located
  6. The distances from the outside of the pool to the fence, garage, house etc.
  7. Location of where the electrical receptacle will be for the pool pump/filter
  8. Location & approximate height of any overhead wiring from the pole to the house or from the house to the garage. (DO NOT PHYSICALLY MEASURE THE HEIGHT OF THESE WIRES!!)

Can the pool be placed in the front or side yard?
No - not without seeking a Zoning variance & approval from the Architectural Review Board.

Can I put the pool at the rear or side yard property line(s)? How far must the pool be from my house and garage?
The pool shall be a minimum of ten (10) feet from the house, rear, and side yard property lines. This requirement may be reduced if a Zoning Variance is granted. The pool should be kept as far from the garage as possible to allow for rescue, pool maintenance, and to discourage jumping or diving from the garage roof.

Is a permit needed for the pool pump/ filter electricity?

Can I use the receptacle in my garage for the pool pump/filter?
Yes, if it conforms to the current National Electrical Code. Contact Building Department.A minimum of two receptacles are required, one for pool equipment, and a convenience receptacle a minimum of ten feet from the pool.

The power lines from the pole to my house will be close to or above the pool, what should I do?
Supply a plot plan showing the location of the power lines and other requirements then Contact Building Department.

Can I use exterior lighting for the pool?
Exterior lights used to illuminate any pool shall be arranged and shaded as to reflect light away from adjoining premises & public streets. Such lights shall be turned off after 11:00pm till morning if within 200 feet of a dwelling.

Is a fence required for my pool?
Yes, and it needs to adhere to the following:

  1. The (Building Department) approved fence shall have a minimum height of four (4) feet.
  2. It shall completely enclose the surrounding pool area. NOTE: A building or existing wall may be used as a part of such enclosure.
  3. Gates or doors opening through such fence / enclosure shall be of self-closing & self-latching construction and shall be designed to permit locking and shall be kept locked when the pool is not in actual use, or is left unattended.


General Fences

Can I build my fence on the property line?
No, the fence can be built up to but not on the property line in the rear yard.

Can I extend my fence to my neighbor's garage?
Yes, but you will need to have:
  1. Your neighbor provide a signed permission form (available at the Building Department or on line) giving you permission to construct their portion of the fence that is on their property.
  2. It will require two (2) permits (yours & theirs). Second permit fee will be waived if fence is less than ten feet long on neighbor’s property.

Can I run the fence down to the public sidewalk in my front yard?
No, the fence must stop at the front building line. See Decorative Fences.

What is a building line?
Every street has a predetermined building line in the front yard of which no structure can encroach without seeking a variance.

Where is my building line?
If your block has been developed with a substantially uniform home set-back from the street, the building line is the uniform front foundation line. Contact Brooklyn Building Department at 216-635-4203 for further information.

I own a corner property, my house faces one street but I enter my garage from another street. I want to enclose my entire backyard with a wood fence. Can I do that?
All of the backyard can be enclosed with the exception of an 8-foot triangular area where the driveway meets the public sidewalk. The balance of the fence must be set back from the public sidewalk a minimum of two feet.

How high can my fence be?
The maximum height for a residential fence is six (6) feet.

How deep do I have to dig the postholes?
There are no requirements, but the following is recommended:

  1. Wood & plastic - three (3) feet minimum
  2. Metal chain link- two (2) feet minimum

Does the 'good' side of a fence have to face my neighbor's yard and public streets?

Do I need a permit to construct a fence?
Yes. See Permit Fees.

Decorative Fences

Is a permit required to construct a decorative fence in the front yard?

What is tallest decorative fence I can build in the front yard?
Maximum fence height is three feet.

How long can this decorative fence be?
Total length of fence should not exceed sixty percent of the house foundation width.

Where in the front yard can I put this decorative fence?
The fence shall be no further than eight (8) feet from the front of the house foundation wall (excluding front stairs).

Does the decorative fence have to be made of wood?
No, decorative fences of plastic, metal, or wood such as picket, slat and split rail may be built. Other types may require Board of Zoning Appeals approval.


Do I need a permit to construct a concrete or asphalt driveway?
Yes, any repairs to or new driveway requires a paving permit.

Do I need a permit to construct a service or postal walk?

Do I need a permit to construct a concrete patio?

What information do I need to secure a driveway permit?
  1. A plot plan or drawing showing the location of the driveway.
  2. Show length & width dimensions
  3. Show total square feet
  4. Show type of material (concrete or asphalt)

How much does a driveway permit fee cost?
See Permit Fees.

Are permits required for public sidewalks and street aprons?
Yes, permits are required for both.

Do I need to install wire mesh in the driveway?
No, wire mesh is not required but is strongly recommended in the driveway. Wire mesh is NOT PERMITTED in the public sidewalk or public apron.

What type of base is needed for the driveway?
Gravel - no larger than two (2) inches in diameter or other material approved by the Building Department.

How close to the property line can I construct my driveway?
You can construct the driveway up to but not on the property line.

Where are expansion joints required?

  1. At the garage
  2. At the public sidewalk
  3. At any service / postal walk
  4. At any property line if two (2) driveways are being constructed side by side.

Do I need to have a driveway drain?
No, if the rainwater can flow to the street or your property only. Rainwater shall not flow to your house, garage or to an adjoining property.

Where do I tie in my driveway drain?
It must be tied into the storm sewer. Drains inside of a garage must be connected to the sanitary sewer.

When does the Building Department need to inspect the concrete driveway work?

  1. Call for an inspection upon completion of the setting of forms / stone at 216-635-4203.(24 hour notice is required for this inspection).
  2. Call for a final inspection of the driveway when forms have been removed and backfilled.

When does the Building Department need to inspect the asphalt driveway work?
Call for final inspection when asphalt driveway completed.

Decks & Porches

May I build a deck or porch in the front yard?
An open porch or deck is permitted to be built in the front yard a extending maximum of ten feet in front of the home foundation wall.

I want to build a deck, how do I know if I will need to seek a variance?
Supply a plot plan showing:
  1. Show the length and width of your property. (The length of your property is from the rear yard property line to the inside edge of the public sidewalk)
  2. Details / size of house showing the size of any porches/protrusions
  3. Show where the deck will be placed and the size / square footage of the deck. Bring this information to the Building Department.

Do I need construction drawings?

What should these drawings show on them?

  1. Size of the deck (length & width)
  2. Square footage of deck
  3. Location, distance & depth of 4x4 posts (Minimum depth of postholes is 36 inches deep)
  4. Size & spacing of floor joists
  5. Type of wood used for decking
  6. Railings for deck & steps (if over 30 inches high)
  7. Spindles for railings (maximum spindle spacing is 5 inches on center
  8. Lattice
  9. Stairs showing riser & tread dimensions  

Do I need a permit?


I want to demolish / tear down my garage. Do I have to rebuild a new one?
Yes, within six (6) months 

What is the largest size garage that I can build on my property?
A 400 square foot garage may be built on any residential lot, no matter the lot coverage.

What do I do if I want to build a larger garage?
Your garage (and any other accessory buildings in the rear yard area) can occupy up to 20% of your rear yard area, with a maximum of a 600 square foot. If you have a large lot and desire a larger garage you will have to seek a zoning variance.

How high can my garage be?
15 feet maximum height to the roof peak.

What is the smallest size garage that I can build?
Single car garage - 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep
2-Car garage - 18 feet 4 inches wide by 20 feet deep

Do I need gutters on my garage?
Yes - They can be splash blocked onto your own property or tied into the storm sewer.

What is splash blocked?
That is where the downspout rainwater is directed onto your yard (or driveway) rather than being tied directly to storm sewer drain.

Do I need to have a floor drain in my new garage?
No, but if you want to install one it must be tied into the sanitary sewer.

How close to the rear and side yard property lines can I build the garage?
That depends on what street you live on,with the minimum being three feet from the side and rear property line. Contact the Building department for further information at 216.635.4203.

What kind of siding can I use on my garage?
  1. Vinyl Siding
  2. T-111 (if painted or stained)
  3. Wood lap siding (if painted or stained)

How many layers of shingles can I have on my garage (or house)?
The maximum number of roofs permitted is two (2). After that, a complete tear-off is required.

What kind of shingles can I put on the roof?
The minimum requirement is a 235-pound asphalt or 220 pound fiberglass shingle.

Can I put shingles on a "hood" or flat roof?
If the roof has a pitch of 3/12 or less, than a rolled type roofing is required.

What are the requirements for constructing a garage pad?

  1. You need a 4-inch pad with a 6-inch minimum curb allowing for any wood or siding to be 8 inches above the grade of the land, with a 8 inch deep “rat wall” below on garages 600 square feet or smaller. On larger garages the Residential Code of Ohio requires a minimum of a 36 inch deep footer.
  2. Anchor bolts are installed within 1 foot of each corner and not to exceed every 6 feet.
  3. #10 wire mesh is required in the pad and rolled up into the curb to tie both the pad and the curb together.
  4. You need to call your inspector for a forms inspection prior to pouring the concrete.
  5. Concrete for the pad shall be a minimum of 6-1/2 sack.    

Is a footer required?
Only on garages larger than 600 square feet

Is a man/service door required?

Are windows required for a garage?

What permits are required to build a garage?

  1. Demolition permit. See Permit Fees.
  2. Garage pad permit. See Permit Fees.
  3. Garage permit. See Permit Fees.
  4. (Optional) Electrical Permit. See Permit Fees.  

Are garage lights required?
No, if there is no electrical run to the garage.  
Yes, if there is electrical run to the garage. This light must illuminate entrance doors of the garage.

Can I construct a carport instead of a garage?

Residential Permits

If you are doing the work, then you may secure the permit. If a contractor is doing the work, it is recommended that the contractor secure the permit for your protection. All contractors must be registered by the City. 

Permits are issued from the building department at Brooklyn City Hall during the following times:
Monday thru Friday 8am – 11: 45am and 1pm – 4:15pm (excluding holidays)  


For fees not listed, and all commercial and industrial work, please contact the Building Department at 216.635.4203 for information on applicable permit fees.