Chapter 17.08


17.08.010    Title.

17.08.020    Purpose.

17.08.030    Definitions.

17.08.040    Private agreements or deeds.

17.08.050    Zoning districts.

17.08.060    Annexed areas.

17.08.070    Water areas.

17.08.080    District boundaries.

17.08.010 Title.

This title may be cited as the zoning code.

(Prior code § 153.001)

17.08.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this title is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the county, to enhance the use and enjoyment of property, and to provide for the regulation of land use in the community, while preserving the right of the individual property owner to use and enjoy his property. These purposes require a zoning ordinance which will define the districts into which the county is divided, the restriction on the uses within the districts, and the minimum standards for the use of buildings, structures, and land within the districts.

(Prior code § 153.002)

17.08.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this title the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning. The area plan commission shall have the right to adopt reasonable rules and regulations further defining the terms used in this title.

“Abutting property owner” means the official owner of record, whose property is contiguous to the subject property; any property which would touch at any point the subject property ignoring all rights-of-way, easements, alleys and the like.

“Accessory structure” means a structure subordinate to the principal use of a building on the same lot, and serving a purpose customarily incidental and subordinate to the use of the principal building.

“Adult arcade” means a commercial establishment where, for any form of consideration, one (1) or more still or motion picture projectors, slide projectors or similar machines, or other image producing machines, for viewing by five (5) or fewer persons per machine at any one (1) time, in which a substantial portion (thirty percent (30%) or more) of the total presentation time of the images so displayed is devoted to the showing of material which meets the definition of “harmful to minors” as specified in I.C. 35-49-2-2 (and as it may from time to time be amended) and/or represents or displays “sexual conduct” as defined in I.C. 35-42-4-4 (and as it may from time to time be amended).

“Adult bookstore” “Adult Novelty Store” or “Adult Video Store” means a commercial establishment which has a substantial (thirty percent (30%) or more) portion of its revenues, floor space or advertising associated with the sale or rental for any form of consideration, of any one (1) or more of the following:

A.    Books, magazines, periodicals or other printed matter or photographs, films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides, tape, records, CD-roms or other forms of visual or audio representations which meet the definition of “harmful to minors” under I.C. 35-49-2-2 (and as it may from time to time be amended) and/or represent or display “sexual conduct” as defined in I.C. 35-42-4-4 (and as it may from time to time be amended).

B.    Instruments, devices or paraphernalia which are designed for use in connection with “sexual misconduct” as defined in I.C. 35-42-4-4 (and as it may from time to time be amended).

“Adult cabaret” means nightclub, bar, restaurant, or similar establishment which features live performances which meet the definition of “harmful to minors” as set forth in I.C. 35-49-2-2 (and as may from time to time be amended) and/or represents or displays “sexual conduct” as defined in I.C. 35-42-4-4 to a clientele who pays any form of consideration for such live performance.

“Adult motion picture theater” means an indoor or outdoor facility with a capacity of six (6) or more persons, where for any form of consideration, films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides or similar photographic reproductions are shown, and in which a substantial portion (thirty percent (30%) or more) of the total revenue derived from or substantial time (thirty percent (30%) or more) is devoted to the showing of such material which meets the definition of “harmful to minors” as defined in I.C. 35-49-2-2 (and as may from time to time be amended) and/or displays “sexual conduct” as set forth in I.C. 35-42-4-4 (and as it may from time to time be amended), for observation by patrons.

“Adult theater” means a theater, concert hall, auditorium or similar establishment, either indoor or outdoor, which for any form of consideration, regularly features live performances, a substantial portion (thirty percent (30%) or more) of the total presentation time is distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on activities which meet the definition of “harmful to minors” as set forth in I.C. 35-49-2-2 and/or “sexual conduct” as set forth in I.C. 35-42-4-4.

“Agricultural use” means the production of livestock or livestock products, commercial aquaculture, equine or equine products, pastureland, poultry or poultry products, horticultural or nursery stock, fruit, vegetables, forage, grains, timber, trees, bees and apiary products, tobacco, viticulture, orchard, or other agricultural crops.

“Agrivoltaic” means a solar energy system or commercial solar energy generating facility co-located on the same parcel of land with an agricultural use such as crop production, grazing, apiaries, etc.

“Alley” means a public right-of-way intended as a means of access to the rear or side of property.

“Apartment dwelling unit” means a portion of a building containing a room or set of rooms fitted with living, sleeping and/or kitchen facilities and used as a dwelling for one or more persons but incidental to the principal use. This includes multi-family dwellings rented or leased by bedroom unit.

“Bedroom unit” means a single bedroom with or without living facilities in an apartment dwelling unit.

“Board” means the board of zoning appeals.

“Board of health” means the Evansville-Vanderburgh County health department.

“Building” means a structure having a roof supported by columns or walls, used or intended to be used for the shelter or enclosure of persons, animals or property.

“Building-integrated solar energy system” means a type of system that is integrated into, replaces or substitutes for an architectural component of a building, rather than being a separate mechanical device (e.g. photovoltaic or hot water solar energy systems contained within roofing materials, windows, skylights, and awnings), and which is used primarily for on-site energy consumption.

“Club” means a building or portion thereof or premises owned or operated for a social, literary, political, educational, or recreational purpose primarily for the exclusive use of members and their guests, but not including any organization, group, or association, the principal activity of which is to render a service usually and ordinarily carried on as a business.

“Commercial” means the purchase, sale, barter, or exchange of goods, wares, merchandise or services intended for profit, or the maintenance or operation of offices or enterprises intended for profit.

“Commercial solar energy generating facility” means solar arrays and related equipment (including battery storage, but not inclusive of off-site transmission lines or fiber) that are considered to be a principal use; that convert sunlight into electrical energy expressly for the purpose of selling the electricity for off-site use; and that are grouped into two categories by size – community and large-scale.

“Commercial vehicle” means any vehicle other than private passenger vehicles, designed, intended, or used for transportation of persons, goods, or things. The term “commercial vehicle” shall also include private passenger vehicles such as pick-up trucks, vans, and automobiles which have been structurally or materially altered for use in connection with a commercial use.

“Commission” means the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Area Plan Commission.

“Completely-enclosed building” means a building separated on all sides from adjacent open space or from other buildings or other structures by a permanent roof and by exterior walls or party walls, pierced only by windows and entrance and exit doors.

“Community-scale solar energy system” means a type of commercial system that is a principal use in and of itself; where the electrical energy is generated to sell in either wholesale or retail transactions for off-site use; and where the system covers an area of less than 10 acres in size allowing it to fit at an appropriate scale into the community.

“Confined Feeding Operation” or “CFO” is a use involving the confinement and feeding of animals within the boundaries of the entire parcel on which the use occurs where:

A.    the number of confined animals exceeds:

300 cattle (including dairy cows, veal calves, beef cattle, breeding cattle or otherwise);

600 swine;

600 sheep;

30,000 fowl;

500 horses; or

300 animals not otherwise described herein of the same species;

B.    animals are confined, fed, and maintained for at least 45 days during any 12 month period; and

C.    ground cover or vegetation is not sustained over at least 50% of the animal confinement area;

However, a CFO does not include a livestock market where animals are assembled from at least two sources to be sold on a commission basis and that is required to operate under state or federal supervision, nor a livestock sale barn or auction market where animals are kept for not more than 10 days each.

“Confined Feeding Operation Facility” or “CFO Facility” means structures that together make up a CFO, including the structures containing animals, and any structures, including without limitation lagoons, ponds, or satellite storage facilities used to store animal waste, but a CFO Facility does not include a structure used to store CFO animal feed if separate from any structure containing animals or animal waste.

“Corner lot” means a lot abutting on two or more streets at their intersection or on two parts on the same street, the streets or parts of the same street forming an interior angle of less than one hundred thirty-five degrees.

“Detached building” means a building having no party wall in common with another building.

“Director” means the director of the Evansville-Vanderburgh area plan commission.

“Duplex” means a dwelling consisting of two dwelling units which may either be attached by a common wall or one above the other.

“Dwelling” means a building or a portion of a building occupied by one family for living and sleeping purposes with kitchen facilities.

“Dwelling unit” means a building or portion of a building occupied by one family for living and sleeping purposes with kitchen facilities.

“Easement” means an authorization or grant by a property owner to specific persons or to the public to use land for specific purposes.

“Efficiency dwelling unit” means a building or a portion of a building occupied by one family with living, sleeping, and kitchen facilities in one room.

“Family” means one or more persons occupying a single dwelling unit, provided that, unless all members are related by blood, adoption, or marriage, no such family shall contain over five persons. However, any such unrelated family must provide off-street parking for all “family” vehicles.

“Floodway” means the channel of a river or stream and those portions of the floodplains adjoining the channel which are reasonably required to efficiently carry and discharge peak flood flow of the regulatory flood of any river or stream.

“Floor area” means the sum, in square feet, of all roofed portions of a building, as measured from the outside measurements. Flood area includes the total of all space on all floors of the building.

“Front lot line” means a line separating a lot from a street. In the case of a corner lot, the front lot line is the shorter of any two adjacent lines separating the lot from a street.

“Frontage” means the property abutting one side of a street as measured along the street line, or as measured along the building line of a curve.

“Garage/yard sale” means a public or private sale conducted by the owner or occupant of the premises, conducted within a residence, garage, or other accessory building or outside thereof, which sale is of an item or items of personal property owned or in the possession of the occupant of the premises, which personal property was not acquired by the owner or occupant for the purposes of resale.

“Ground-mounted” means a solar energy system mounted on a rack or pole that rests on or is attached to the ground.

“Group home/community residential facility” means a facility which provides residential services for persons in a supervised group living program.

“Home occupation” means uses specifically listed in use group 2, conducted entirely within a dwelling and carried on by an occupant thereof, which is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for dwelling purposes and does not change the character thereof. Subject to restrictions as listed in Section 17.16.040(A)(2). Home occupation may also include any such use approved as special use per Section 17.28.010 et seq.

“Juice Bar” means an adult cabaret which does not serve alcoholic beverages.

“Junk yard, salvage yards, buildings used principally for the storage of junk, shops selling principally junk, and similar operations” means any land, property, structure, building, or combination of the same, where junk is stored or processed. Junk or salvage includes but is not limited to wrecked or inoperable vehicles, parts of vehicles, scrap iron and other metals, wood, paper, rags, rubber, tires, bottles, etc.

“Land” means and includes water surface and land under water.

“Large-scale solar energy system” means a type of commercial system that is a principal use in and of itself; where the electrical energy is generated to sell in wholesale transactions for off-site use; and where the system covers an area 10 acres or more in size, including collection and feeder lines, substations, ancillary buildings, solar monitoring stations and other related structures or accessory equipment.

“Lot” means an identifiable parcel of land having frontage on a public street or right-of-way, approved private streets, or acceptable easements.

“Manufactured/modular home” means a dwelling unit fabricated in an off-site manufacturing facility for installation or assembly at the building site, bearing a seal certifying that it is built in compliance with the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Code or IC 22 et seq., as promulgated by the Indiana Administrative Building Council. A modular housing unit is constructed in part or in whole at a place other than the foundation site, transported to the foundation site, and assembled on site to create one whole structure. The manufactured home or modular housing unit should include but not be limited to these features: asphalt roof, roof pitch of at least 2.5:12, house-type windows, doors and siding, and must be placed on a permanent foundation. Modular homes, prefabricated homes, and other such implied terms shall be deemed to be the same as “manufactured homes.”

“Massage parlor” means any building, room, place or establishment where massages are practiced on the human body with or without the use of mechanical or bath devices, by anyone not a physician, surgeon, or of similar status, duly registered with and licensed by the state.

“Maximum tilt” means orientation of a tilt-adjustable solar panel or array at the point closest to vertical, i.e. perpendicular to the ground.

“Mobile home” means a factory-constructed, transportable structure designed for permanent residential use when placed on a lot and connected to utilities.

“Mobile home site” means that plot of ground within a mobile home park (as defined and controlled by the Indiana State Board of Health) designed for the accommodation of one mobile home.

“Nude model studio” means a place where a person who appears in a state of nudity is observed, sketched, drawn, painted, sculptured, photographed or similarly depicted by other persons who pay money or any other form of consideration or such display is characterized by an emphasis on activities which meet the definition of “harmful to minors” as set forth in I.C. 35-49-2-2 (and as it may from time to time be amended) and/or “sexual conduct” as set forth in I.C. 35-42-4-4 (and as it may from time to time be amended). This definition shall not apply to colleges or universities who are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization.

“Nudity” means the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering, the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple, or the showing of covered male genitals in a discernible turgid state. “Buttock” means either of the two (2) rounded prominences of the human torso that are posterior to the hips and formed by the gluteal muscles to the hips and underlying structures.

“Opaque Fence” means a fence constructed of brick, stone, treated wood, painted rustproof metal, chain link with vinyl or metal screening inserts, vinyl, or other commercially produced synthetic fencing material so long as it is durable, uniform, and attractive. Opaque gates matching the type, height, etc. of the fence shall be provided for access. The use of chain link fencing or gates with mesh screening, tarps, and similar materials shall not be considered as opaque.

“Open use” means that use of a lot without a building or with a building incidental to the use, with a ground floor area of five percent or less of the area of the lot (e.g., car sales lots, flea markets, etc.).

“Owner-occupied bed and breakfast/boarding-house” means a bed and breakfast facility or boardinghouse which is individually owned, occupied and managed by the owner-operator who resides in the dwelling as their primary residence.

“Parking garage” means a building, except a “private garage,” used exclusively for public parking of motor vehicles.

“Peep show facility” means an establishment utilizing a device operated manually, mechanically, magnetically, electrically or electronically which exhibits, displays, projects or illuminates photographed, videotaped, or magnetically reproduced images, or exposes live entertainment to the viewer which the viewer is in a booth or stall distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on matter depicting “sexual conduct” as defined by I.C. 35-42-4-4 (and as may from time to time be amended) or nudity for observation by patrons thereof.

“Photovoltaic system” means a solar energy system that converts solar energy into electricity.

“Platted ground” means ground platted as provided by the subdivision ordinance.

“Pollinator-friendly habitat” means vegetation that consists of flowering or naturalized plant species providing opportunities for pollinator foraging on these sources of nectar and pollen; while also serving as larval host plants for egg-laying or nesting.

“Premises” means a lot and the structures located on the lot.

“Principal building” means a building in which is conducted the principal use of the building site on which it is situated.

“Private garage” means a structure for inside parking of motor vehicles (or storage of tools) used solely by the occupants of the principal building.

“Public park” means property owned by Vanderburgh County, Indiana or any city or town within the County (excluding the City of Evansville, Indiana) and designated for use as a park or for recreational activities.

“Public uses” means public parks, schools, fire stations, police stations, libraries, museums, zoological gardens and parks, city and town halls, county courthouses, utility complexes, including, but not limited to, public land or buildings devoted solely to the storage and maintenance of equipment and materials, and public service facilities.

“Religious Institution” means a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or building which is used primarily for religious worship of a supreme being or beings.

“Residence” and “residential” applies to a lot, a structure, or a portion of a structure which is used for any of the uses permitted in the residential districts.

“Right-of-way” means a strip of land occupied or intended to be occupied by transportation facilities, public utilities, or other special public uses. A right-of-way intended for any use involving maintenance by a public agency shall be dedicated to the public use by the maker of the plat on which the right-of-way is established.

“Roof-mounted” means a solar energy system mounted on a rack that is fastened to or ballasted on the roof of a structure.

“Setback” means the minimum distance between the street right-of-way, rear or side lot lines, and the front line, rear line, or side line of the building or any projection.

“Sexual encounter center” an enterprise that as one (1) of its business purposes, offers for any form of consideration:

a.    Physical contact in the form of wrestling or tumbling between persons of the opposite sex, or

b.    activities between male and female persons and/or persons of the same sex where one (1) or more persons appears in a state of nudity or where the activities in (a) or (b) herein are characterized by an emphasis on activities which meet the definition of “harmful to minors” as set forth in I.C. 35-49-2-2 (as it may from time to time be amended) and/or “sexual conduct” as set forth in I.C. 35-42-4-4- (and as it may from time to time be amended.)

“Site plan” means a map of a site showing lot dimensions, location and size of all buildings, setbacks, green space, ingress-egress, curb cuts, traffic flow plan, parking, or other improvements, whether existing or proposed.

“Small Cell Facility”: means a short antenna and related equipment (as defined by IC 8-1-32.3) placed on a utility pole or other vertical asset providing a low powered wireless signal for cellular and data service in a small geographic coverage area. Multiple small cell facilities form a connected network.

“Solar array” means the group of solar panels (or collectors) that are part of a non-commercial solar energy system or a commercial solar generating facility.

“Solar carport” means a solar energy system that is installed on a carport structure covering a parking area.

“Solar collector” means the device (or solar panel) which provides the surface on which sunlight is “collected” for the purpose of transforming solar radiant energy into thermal, mechanical, chemical or electrical energy, but does not include the frames, supports, hardware or other components of a mounting structure.

“Solar energy system for on-site consumption” means a system that is not a stand-alone principal use, but is co-located with another use and is under the same ownership as the overall site; that has a solar array less than 10 acres in size; that converts sunlight into either electrical or thermal energy through the use of ground, roof or building-mounted solar arrays or individual collectors and related equipment (including battery storage); and that the energy generated is to be at least partially used on-site to meet the energy needs of the principal use.

“Street” means a public way established by or maintained under public authority, or a right-of-way dedicated to public use, whether constructed or not.

“Structural alterations” means a change in the structural members of a building, such as walls, columns, beams or girders.

“Structure” means anything constructed or erected on the ground, or attached to something with a fixed location on the ground including, but not limited to buildings, walls, signs and pools.

“Thoroughfare plan” means the portion of the thoroughfare plan adopted by the area plan commission for the development, improvement, or extension of streets and roads in Evansville and Vanderburgh County, which includes an official map indicating the general location for controlled access, major arterial, minor arterial, and collector streets and roads.

“Thoroughfare setback” means a minimum setback line established by the thoroughfare plan which defines the distance between a structure and the centerline of the street. Thoroughfare line includes both right-of-way line and building setback.

“Use” means the purpose for which land or a structure is designed, occupied or maintained.

“Use or development commitment” means a written commitment which conforms with IC 36-7-4-1015 concerning real estate.

“Yard” means space on the same lot with a structure or use, open and unobstructed.

“Zoning” means an enactment by the legislative body of local governments, in which the community is divided into districts of zones in which permitted and special uses are established, as are regulations governing lot size, building bulk, placement, and other development standards. Requirements vary from district to district, but they must be uniform within districts. The zoning ordinance consists of two parts: a text and a map.

(Ord. 06-22-006 § 1, amended, 06/28/2022; Ord. 05-19-005 § 1, amended, 04/30/2019; Ord. 04-17-007 § 1, amended, 04/04/2017; Ord. 04-17-006 §§ 1, 2, Amended, 04/04/2017; 17.08.030 Amended 1/2/2007; amended “apartment dwelling” definition and added “bedroom unit definition)(Ord. dated 2/22/94 § 1(a); prior code § 153.003)(Portions amended 8/10/98)

17.08.040 Private agreements or deeds.

This title establishes minimum requirements and does not abrogate private agreements or covenants between parties which impose stricter requirements. Where those agreements or deeds impose less strict requirements, however, this title controls.

(Prior code § 153.004)

17.08.050 Zoning districts.

A.    For the purpose of this title in regulating use of land, water, and buildings, the county is divided into the following districts:

1.    Residential districts:


District Name


One-family residence


Two-family residence


Multiple residential


Multiple residential


Multiple residential

2.    Commercial districts:


District Name


Commercial office


Commercial office


Light commercial


Community Commercial


General commercial

3.    Waterfront districts:


District Name


Waterfront recreational/residential


Waterfront industrial

4.    Industrial districts:


District Name


Light industrial


General industrial


Heavy industrial

5.    Special districts:


District Name


Floodway district


Planned unit development


Agricultural district


Airport district

B.    For the purpose of this title in regulating use of land, water, and buildings, all properties zoned R-0 prior to enactment of the ordinance codified in this title shall henceforth be designated CO-2.

(Prior code § 153.005)

17.08.060 Annexed areas.

All areas annexed to the city will retain the same zoning classification as before annexation, except that all areas zoned agricultural in the county before annexation will be zoned R-1 single-family residential in the city after annexation.

(Prior code § 153.006)

17.08.070 Water areas.

The water surface and land under the water surface of all canals, creeks, rivers, waterways, ponds, lakes, and other water areas in the county are in the same zoning district as the land which it abuts as shown on the zoning district maps. Where the zoning districts shown on the zoning district maps are different on opposite sides of the water area, zoning district on each side extends to the centerline or midpoint of the water area. For convenience of mapping and clarity, the zoning of water areas is not shown on the zoning district maps, but is determined by the provisions of this title.

(Prior code § 153.007)

17.08.080 District boundaries.

A.    Unless otherwise shown, the district boundaries are centerlines of streets, alleys, or the subdividing or boundary lines of recorded plats or their extensions. If the districts designated on the zoning district maps are approximately bounded by street lines, alley lines, or the subdividing or boundary lines of recorded plats, those lines or their extensions are district boundaries.

B.    If, due to the scale or illegibility of the zoning district maps, or due to the absence of a street, alley, or recorded subdividing or plat lines, there is any uncertainty, contradiction, or conflict about the location of a district boundary, the area plan commission shall recommend the designation to the county commission. The county commission shall designate the location for that district boundary in accordance with the provisions of this title.

C.    If the boundary line of a zoning district classification divides a lot, the provisions of this title covering the less restrictive portion of that lot apply to the entire lot, unless the frontage of the lot is in the more restricted district, in which case the provisions covering the more restricted portion apply to the entire lot.

D.    The provisions of subsection C of this section do not apply to situations where specific portions of a lot are rezoned to accommodate a different use from that use of the remainder of the lot.

(Prior code § 153.008)