Bainbridge township zoning department

protection from unrestricted development

Zoning Department

The objective of Bainbridge Township zoning is to protect the area from unrestricted development. The township created a Zoning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals in 1949. Each group has five members who serve a five-year, staggered term basis. Members are appointed by the Board of Trustees. Linda Zimmerman is the secretary for both boards.

The Zoning Commission creates zoning regulations and makes recommendations on amendments for zoning changes that are directed to trustees for a final decision. The township has zoning for residential, convenience business, light industrial, mixed use (PUD), active public park, passive public park, and professional office uses.

The Board of Zoning Appeals considers requests from residents seeking “area” and/or “use” variances from current regulations. The BZA also grants conditional permits as provided for in the zoning regulations. The Zoning Inspector can instruct residents on whether changes to their property will require review by the BZA.

The township’s zoning department is staffed by Zoning Inspector Karen Endres, Assistant Zoning Inspector Steve Averill, Zoning and Planning Coordinator David Dietrich, and Administrative Assistant Linda Zimmerman.

how to reach us

Get in Touch

17826 Chillicothe Road, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023

Phone: (440) 543-9871
Email: kendres@bainbridgetwp.com

Hours:  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Evening Hours: 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on the 4th Monday and 3rd Thursday of each month.

Appointments are recommended.

meet the

Zoning Staff

Zoning Inspector
Karen Endres
Assistant Zoning Inspector
Steve Averill
Planning and Zoning Coordinator
Dave Dietrich
Zoning Secretary
Linda Zimmerman

Board of Zoning Appeals members

Vacancy – 12/31/2025

Michael Lamanna, Chair – 12/31/2021

Ted DeWater – 12/31/2022

Joseph Gutoskey – 12/31/2023

Todd Lewis, Vice Chair – 12/31/2024

Brent Barr, Alternate – 12/31/2022

Ian Friedman, Alternate – 12/31/2021

zoning commission members

Marion Perry – 12/31/2025

Marlene Walkush – 12/31/2021

Dennis Williams, Vice Chair – 12/31/2022

Kristina Alaei – 12/31/2023

John Lateulere, Chair – 12/31/2024

Laura Weber, Alternate – 12/31/2022

Stacy Westervelt, Alternate – 12/31/2021

important documents

Zoning Information

board of zoning appeals & commission

Meeting Minutes & Documents

Title File

frequently asked questions

Zoning Certificates

What projects require a zoning certificate?

Any project that results in additional lot coverage requires a zoning certificate including but not limited to sheds, driveway expansions, fences, patios, and decks – covered and uncovered. Additionally, interior alterations that result in construction changes require a zoning certificate. Examples of projects that do not require a zoning certificate include window and roof replacements that do not change the size or height of the structure or cosmetic projects such as painting, replacement of flooring, and electrical and plumbing work. Note that even if a zoning certificate is not required from the township, there still may be a county requirement for a building permit (440-279-1780). Please call if there is any question regarding the need for a zoning certificate.


Do new businesses need a zoning certificate?

Businesses moving into or relocating within Bainbridge Township need to apply for a commercial use zoning certificate. It is in the permitting process that it is determined that the proposed use is permitted at a given location and the new business is registered with the township with the contact information of the business owner.


Do I need a zoning certificate to move or put up a sign?

Ground, wall, marquee, and window signs require zoning certificates. When an old sign is moved to a new location on the property or structure a zoning certificate is required. Changing the text of a changeable copy sign does not require a zoning certificate.


Are temporary signs permitted?

Temporary signs are permitted with a zoning certificate under very specific circumstances in the residential zoning districts. Contact the Zoning Department regarding temporary signs.


Are signs permitted in the road right of way or on utility poles?

Signs are not permitted in the road right of way or on utility poles.


Do zoning certificates require a fee?

Yes – see the fee schedule.


May I run a business from my home?

Some businesses are permitted in residential homes under very specific and limited circumstances. A home business requires a Home Occupation zoning certificate. Anyone needing further information on the permitting process may contact the Zoning Department at Bainbridge Town Hall (440-543-9871).


Where can I get a zoning certificate application?

The applications for zoning certificates are available at Bainbridge Town Hall located at 17826 Chillicothe Road behind the Fire Department. Applications are also available at the Bainbridge Township website under Zoning Forms and Fees.


Do I need to provide all of the information requested on the application? What documentation is needed?

All information on the application needs to be provided to be considered a complete application.

There needs to be an authorization paper trail to demonstrate that the applicant has standing to submit the application.

In most cases, the property deed is the best record to use since the deed documents both the legal description and the property owner.

In the case where the applicant is a third party such as a contractor, the property owner needs to supply along with the deed, a signed document giving the third party authorization to submit the zoning application.

Projects with more than 300 sq’ of soil disturbance require a sediment control plan approved by Geauga Soil and Water (440-834-1122).

The zoning map is on the Bainbridge Township website for use in determining the property’s zoning district.

The property’s parcel number may be obtained at the Geauga County Auditor’s website.

Building plans and a site plan with setback dimensions are required for construction projects and ground signs.


How do I contact the zoning inspector?

Karen Endres, the Bainbridge Township Zoning Inspector, may be contacted at the Bainbridge Town Hall at 440-543-9871 or by e-mail at kendres@bainbridgetwp.com.

frequently asked questions

Natural Gas in Well Water

What is natural gas and where does it come from?

Natural gas is a mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons that occur naturally in the earth. Methane is the primary constituent of natural gas. Natural gas can originate from organic material buried in soil or glacial deposits, organic-rich rocks such as the Ohio Shale Formation, or may be trapped in oil and gas reservoirs deep beneath the surface of the earth.


How do I know if I have natural gas in my ground water supply?

Methane is colorless and odorless. Therefore, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to detect the presence of natural gas through your sense of smell. Signs that methane gas may be present in ground water include popping or spurting of water at the tap or gurgling noises at the well casing. Bainbridge Township firefighters and Division of Mineral Resources Management (DMRM) staff are equipped with portable instruments that can detect the presence of natural gas. The DMRM will inform you if detectable concentrations of natural gas are measured during our visit to your home.


Why does DMRM pump my water well during the monitoring process?

When a well is pumped and the height of the column of water declines, water pressure is reduced, and natural gas, otherwise not apparent, may be released.


If I have natural gas in my water supply, does it mean that it came from an oil and gas well?

Not necessarily. Natural gas occurs naturally, and is common in water wells in Geauga County, specifically in water wells that are drilled to the Ohio shale, a gasbearing formation that is below the deepest fresh-water aquifer, the Berea Sandstone. The DMRM is conducting an investigation to determine which water wells have been affected by oil and gas operation(s).


What are the health risks associated with drinking well water that contains natural gas?

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ingestion of water containing natural gas does not pose a direct health threat. Methane does not have any known toxic, poisonous, or cancer-causing properties. There are no known adverse health effects associated with drinking or bathing with well water that contains methane. However, if your well has been disconnected and then reconnected, because natural gas was detected in your water well, or you are receiving bottled water, the DMRM recommends that you not drink your well water until you receive the results of water quality tests, including coliform bacteria tests being completed by the Geauga County General Health District (GCGHD). Prior to deciding to resume the use of your well water for drinking purposes, the DMRM recommends that you consult with the GCGHD and/or your personal physician.


What health or safety risks are associated with the use of well water that contains natural gas?

Running tap water in your home can allow dissolved natural gas to exsolve (come out of solution as gas bubbles) and increase the level of natural gas in the air within your home. Natural gas cannot explode unless it reaches a concentration that is 100 percent of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) in the room and has a source of ignition. The primary danger is when the natural gas accumulates at combustible or explosive levels in confined spaces. Areas of concern are basements, utility rooms, and bathrooms where large quantities of water are used.


Under what circumstances would my water well be disconnected from my house?

Any well that has a sufficient concentration of dissolved methane to exceed 10% LEL in a confined space (room), should be disconnected until the concentration of natural gas diminishes.


How should I respond to the natural gas measurements provided by DMRM, or my house methane detector?

When DMRM representatives visit your home, they will pump your well and measure methane concentrations at the well vent, and directly at the cold and hot water taps. This screening process tells us whether gas is present at detectable levels in the ground water being pumped from your water well at a specific time and day. These readings do not- indicate whether gas is accumulating in a room at dangerous levels.

If a DMRM representative detects the presence of gas in the running water, he/she will then measure the concentration of methane in the room (basement, kitchen, garage, utility room, etc.). This reading will indicate whether the emission of gas from the running water is accumulating in the room at potentially dangerous levels.

The DMRM recommends the following actions in response to LEL measurements within rooms:

  • 1-4%: No immediate action necessary
  • 5-9%: Increase ventilation, continue to monitor to see if the % LEL continues to rise
  • 10-19%: Shut off water and monitor to see if % LEL continues to rise
  • 20+%: Keep water shut off. Increase ventilation; Evacuate the premises; Call the Fire Department for an inspection (440) 543-9873; Notify DMRM at (330) 896-0616.


What should I do if my natural gas alarm is triggered?

If you have a natural gas monitor it is generally set to provide an audible alarm when the concentration of methane extends ten percent of the LEL in the room. If you hear the alarm, shut off your running water, ventilate the room, and watch the digital reading on the monitor to see if the concentration diminishes. If the digital reading continues to increase beyond 20% LEL, the DMRM recommends that you evacuate the premises and notify the Fire Department and DMRM.


If my water well has been disconnected, under what circumstances would it be re-connected?

When over the course of several weeks of monitoring, DMRM finds the following:

  • No observable or audible evidence of gas in your well; and,
  • Gas readings are less than ten percent of the LEL in your well vent; and
  • Gas readings are less than four percent at the running tap water;
  • Once the above criteria are met, the DMRM considers it safe for you to reconnect your water supply.


Once my water well has been reconnected, how can I be sure that I am safe?

The best way to ensure your safety is to continue to operate the methane detection system(s) in rooms where you run large quantities of water, particularly hot water (basements, utility rooms, kitchens, or bathrooms).


Will the natural gas eventually dissipate?

If your water well had natural gas in it before December 15, 2007, your well will likely continue to emit natural gas from time-to-time in the future. If the gas in your water well was caused by the local oil and gas well operation, the DMRM expects that the gas will eventually dissipate.


Why has the natural gas problem lasted so long?

There are a variety of geologic factors that control the dissipation of gas. While DMRM has asked Ohio Valley Energy (OVE) to pump specific water wells to accelerate the process, the DMRM cannot predict how long it will take before gas completely dissipates.


If symptoms of natural gas re-appear after my well has been reconnected, what should I do?

If signs of natural gas re-occur (e.g. the audible alarm on your natural gas monitoring system is triggered, spurting water, gurgling noises at the well casing, etc.) immediately notify the Bainbridge Fire Department at (440) 543-9873 and the DMRM at (330) 896-0616. The DMRM will immediately require OVE to disconnect your water well and re-install a storage tank as a temporary water supply.