As in any city, North Royalton has a list of ordinances that may dictate how you handle your renovation or yard project.  Ordinances are laws that are set by governments.  In these cases, the City of North Royalton has created the ordinances that have been passed by City Council.

If you wonder if there are regulations regarding a project you may be considering, you can access the North Royalton Ordinances online by going to the city’s website,,  clicking on the Government tab, the Council Office tab, then, on the right side of the page, midway down, the Code of Ordinances link.  On that page, there will be a link that states “Click here to view North Royalton Code online.”  That link directs you to the American Legal Publishing Corporation’s webpage and the North Royalton Code of Ordinances.  There is a search bar on that page, where you can look up questions you may have about aspects of your project.  Here is some often-sought-after information based in the ordinances:


Whether you are doing a full-scale renovation or small project, such as replacing a water heater, make sure that you have the proper permits.  The city of North Royalton requires that a permit is procured, to ensure that the job is done properly and to ultimately protect the homeowner.

For those residents planning to handle the project themselves, there are some things to know.   To ensure that you avoid fines and penalties, make a call to the city’s Building Department, before you start your project. You may need to submit plans, showing the proposed improvement.   Some permits can be received on the first trip.  There are some projects that require that the plans be submitted for additional review.

If you are hiring a contractor to take care of your project, there are also some things you must know before you begin.  According to city officials, “the city requires that you deal only with a contractor registered by the city of North Royalton. For liability reasons you should require the contractor to secure permits for your project. Homeowners holding permits in their name are assuming responsibility for the project.”

When the project is complete, you must then call the Building Department to have the project inspected.  If you have hired a contractor, make sure that the inspection has taken place.  Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that this process is complete.  Larger projects may require multiple inspections, such as a new garage may require inspections for the footers, the electrical, plumbing work, concrete work, and an inspection at the end of the project.

Permits are usually good for 180 days, when inspection is required.  If the permit expires, a call to the city is required, for the permit to be reactivated, or a new permit to be issued.  For more information on the permit process or about your specific project, call the Building Department at 582-3000.


Residents or contractors who are looking for information about fencing need only to go to Chapter 1465 of the North Royalton Codified Ordinances.  Some of the information has also been cross-referenced with Dogs and Other Animals, Electrical Fences, Temporary buildings and enclosures, and Fences enclosing swimming pools.  The chapter is broken down by the purpose, relative definitions, the plot plan and permit required, the general requirements, inspections, exemptions, variances, appeals, and penalties in both residential and non-residential districts.  The purpose is stated as “The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations controlling the use of fences (wood, vinyl, iron, steel, masonry, stone, and any type of growing plant or shrub or other material not listed) balancing the property owners’ interests of privacy, security and landscape design within the property with due consideration to the environment of the neighboring properties, the appearance of the community and the safety of the public and the individual.”

North Royalton Building Commissioner Dan Kulchytsky said that if a resident or business wants to replace a few sections of an existing fence, they can do so without a permit.  If a new fence is to be installed, or if all of the fencing material is being replaced on existing posts, a permit is required.  In order to do either of these things, it is recommended that a licensed contractor is hired who has been approved by the city.  In order to receive a permit, the type of fencing material must be provided, as well as a plan, which includes the height and size of the proposed fence.  The permit must then be obtained.  The city’s building department needs to be contacted for footer hole inspection.  After that approval is obtained, the fence can then be erected.

Open Burning

In the spring, it is not unusual for residents to want to burn piles of leaves and other dead debris left over from the fall and winter.  The City of North Royalton, however, through its ordinances, prohibit the practice of open burning.  The term “open burning” references the means of burning any type of material which results in bi-products burning being emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a chimney stack from an enclosed chamber.  It does not include smudgepots, road flares, chimneas and/or similar devices which are associated with safety/occupational or recreational fires.

A recreational fire is defined as “an outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, chimnea, barbecue grill, or barbecue pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet (914 mm) or less in diameter and 2 feet (610mm) or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.”  A recreational fire must be fueled with firewood that is clean and seasoned, natural gas or its equivalent, or clean burning fuel that has an emission that is equal or lower than those that come from seasoned firewood.  The fire cannot be used to dispose waste.  It must be at least 25 feet away from a deck, building or any other structure.  The fire must be attended to at all times and the person attending the fire must have a way to extinguish it. “Nothing in this section prohibits cooking on decks or patios adjacent to residential or commercial structures by use of a gas grill, charcoal grill, hibachi or similar device,” according to the ordinance.

According to the ordinance, the following purposes are allowable with the Fire Chief’s permission or notification: Pest control or prevention, with verification from the Ohio EPA or local health department, Cooperative Extension Service, Ohio or U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that open burning is the only appropriate method; agricultural waste disposal under certain conditions; hazardous, ignitable or explosive materials disposal; military munitions or explosive devices where there is no other practical method of disposal; instructional methods of fire fighting under certain provisions; in emergency/extraordinary circumstances; bonfires or campfires used in ceremonial purposes with a total fuel area no larger than five feet in diameter by five feet in height, burning no longer than three hours, set back 50 feet or more from any building or structure and to be attended continuously with a method to extinguish.  The application for permission needs to be submitted, in writing at least ten working days before the date of the proposed fire.  Information, such as the purpose of the fire, the material used, the date(s) that the burn will take place, the location, showing proximity and the methods to reduce air emissions need to be included in the application.

“Violations of any of the conditions set forth by the Fire Chief in granting permission to open burn shall be grounds for revocation of such permission and refusal to grant future permission, as well as for the imposition of other sanctions provided by law,” according to the ordinance. Those  in violation may also be guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree and a separate offense deemed committed for each day during or on which the violation occurs or continues.

Rain Barrels

If you are looking to install a rain barrel, the ordinances do address that too, as follows:

“Chapter 1464 Exterior Property Maintenance, Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens.

(1)   Roof drains, gutters and downspouts shall be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions. Roof water shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a public nuisance. Roof drains, gutters and downspouts shall be connected to a public storm sewer, or in the event a public storm sewer is not available, shall be discharged in a manner approved by the Building Commissioner and the City Engineer, or his or her duly authorized representative. However, one or more downspout (s) may be diverted into an approved rain barrel or other structural storage container, provided that the overflow from such appurtenances is directed into the public storm sewer system. Rain barrels or other structural storage containers shall be covered at all times and incorporate a drainage system that directs any overflow away from the building’s foundation and into the public storm sewer system. The installation of rain barrels or other structural storage containers shall be subject to review and approval of the City Engineer, or his or her duly authorized representative, and shall conform to the standards set forth by the City for such devices. Visual screening of rain barrels or other structural storage containers may be required, on a case-by-case basis, so as to prevent unsightly visual impacts to the surrounding area. This will be determined by the City Engineer or Building Commissioner, or his or her duly authorized representative, at the time of permit application and subject to any standards set forth by the city.

(2)   As an alternative requirement of division (a) of this section stating that downspouts be connected to the public sewer system, one or more downspout (s) may be directed into an approved rain garden.  Such rain garden shall be subject to the review and approval of the City Engineer, or his or her duly authorized representative, and shall be constructed in accordance with the latest edition of the Rain Garden Manual for Homeowners. No rain garden shall be constructed until a permit has been obtained.”

The North Royalton Building Department is open and operating during normal working hours, but are limiting in-person visits to appointment only. “Applications. forms, and email addresses from the various departments are available online at  If you need to drop something off, please use the blue box in front of our building at 11545 Royalton Road. This box is checked several times a day,” according to city officials.  For questions, residents can call 440-582-3000.


Contributing  Writer