The Defiance County Engineer and Board of County Commissioners are responsible for maintaining the public highways under its jurisdiction in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Chapters 5547 and 1723 as is necessary to preserve the integrity, operating safety and function of the highway facilities.  Since the manner in which the installation of driveway approaches, ditch enclosures, sanitary and storm water discharges, utility installations, etc. can materially affect the appearance and safe operation and maintenance of the highways, it is necessary that the Engineer be able to reasonably regulate the use and occupancy of the public highway rights-of-way.


The purpose of this policy is to set forth the conditions under which property owners, utilities and others may utilize the public highway rights-of-way under the jurisdiction of the Defiance County Engineer and Board of Commissioners.  It is the intent of this policy to permit the use of public rights-of-way in such a manner that the highway investment, safety of the highway user, highway maintenance requirements, proposed highway improvements and environmental considerations are preserved.  The policy provides guidelines for permitting uniform practices throughout the County for the accommodation of residents, utilities and highway users and recognizes the need for special consideration for unusual or hardship situations.


This policy may be modified by the Defiance County Engineer as conditions dictate for the safe operation of the county highways.




The policy of the Defiance County Engineer is a “Clear Road Policy”.  The policy is employed to increase safety, improve traffic movement and enhance the appearance of the highways by designing, constructing and maintaining highway rights-of-way as wide, flat and rounded as is practical and as free from physical obstructions above the ground (e.g. trees, drainage structures, massive sign supports, utility poles and other ground mounted obstructions) as is practical.




To effectively control the secondary uses of the public highway rights-of-way and administer this policy, the Defiance County Engineer requires certain permits.  The permits issued by the Defiance County Engineer include:

ï  Driveway Permit

ï  Ditch Enclosure Permit

ï  Right-of-way Occupancy Permit

ï  Sanitary/Storm Water Discharge Permit (For discharge of water into a drainage ditch)

ï  Utility Right-of-way Permit (For new utility installations)

ï  Special Hauling Permit (For oversize/overweight loads)


This policy does not supersede specific permits or agreements previously issued or entered into for the occupancy of highway rights-of-way, nor does it supersede specific requirements of other governmental agencies or bodies.  For utility use permits, the provisions of this policy are based on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials publication, “A Guide for Accommodating Utilities on Highway Rights-of-Way”.  In case of conflict with that publication, the guidelines set forth in this policy shall apply.




The construction and repair of driveways to allow access to residences, farms or businesses that front on Defiance County or Township maintained highways shall be done only with the written permission of the Defiance County Engineer.  Permission is also required for the paving of that portion of an existing driveway that lies within the road right-of-way.  Further, any change in use (e.g. residential to commercial, etc.) must be reported and approved by the County Engineer’s Office.


Permit application forms are available at the Defiance County Engineer’s Office, 510 Court St., Suite 201, Defiance, Ohio  43512.  Application forms must be completed in their entirety and presented to the Engineer’s Office for review.  The owner or developer is required to set a minimum of two (2) stakes to indicate the edges of the proposed drive for the inspector.  The driveway location should be located so that it affords the greatest amount of visibility possible for safety of the user of the driveway and approaching traffic.  In cases where an existing drive is to be paved, a sufficient number of stakes outlining the area to be paved is required.  The stakes must be in place before the application can be processed.


When an application has been received and the stakes placed, an inspector from the County Engineer’s Office will conduct a field check to analyze the conditions of the drive location.  Where driveway culvert pipes will be necessary to cross an open ditch, the inspector will determine the diameter and length of pipe needed.  The length of pipe will be determined by the width and depth of the proposed driveway.  The diameter of the pipe will be determined through the use of available hydrological data.  When conditions warrant the installation of an unusually large structure, the owner or developer will be required to construct the enclosure using a set of plans prepared by and stamped by a professional engineer and approved by the County Engineer.  The location of the driveway will then be approved or a different location my be required, depending on conditions.


The profile of driveways must slope away from the existing pavement of the roadway in accordance with the minimum standards shown on the Defiance County Engineer’s Driveway Pipe Standards details.  Driveway aprons, that portion of the driveway between the edge of the pavement and the road right-of-way, may be constructed of asphalt, concrete, limestone or gravel.  Concrete driveway aprons should be at least two (2) inches lower that the roadway so snowplow blades can clear the apron without obstruction.  Asphalt aprons must extend to the pavement, but not above it.  No curbs or headways that would create hazards or hamper maintenance operations, such as snow plowing, mowing, etc. will be allowed to be constructed in the shoulder area.


Property owners are required to maintain any drive approach to minimum standards.  Existing drive pipes that have deteriorated or have been damaged causing a blockage to the flow of water in the roadside drainage ditch will be required to be repaired or replaced.  When the County Engineer’s Office determines that an existing pipe must be repaired or replaced, a written notice will be sent to the owner.  The owner will be given thirty (30) days from the receipt of the notification to complete the required work.  Failure by the owner to repair or replace a damaged or deteriorated pipe after notice will be cause for the County Engineer to remove the pipe at the property owner’s expense in accordance with ORC Section 3767.17.  If a damaged or deteriorated pipe presents a danger, directly or indirectly, to the traveling public or maintenance crews and equipment, immediate repair or replacement will be required.


The normal time limit for construction/installation of a driveway culvert pipe permit approval process is ninety (90) days from the issuance of the permit to completion.  During construction, the pavement must be kept clear of dirt, stones and other debris.  During progress of the work, barriers shall be erected.  If equipment or workers must work from the roadway, the appropriate traffic control and flaggers shall be required.  If, in the opinion of the County Engineer, any grading work done under this permit interferes with the drainage of the highway in any way, catch basins and outlets shall be constructed as necessary.


If a permitted installation is completed contrary to the orders of the County Engineer, the owner will be served written notice to remove and/or correct the installation.  If after the notice the owner fails to remove the obstruction, the pipe/driveway will be removed by the County Engineer at the property owner’s expense in accordance with ORC 3767.17.




The construction and repair of ditch enclosures parallel to Defiance County or Township maintained highways shall be done only with the written permission of the Defiance County Engineer.  Application forms are available at the office of the Defiance County Engineer, 510 Court St., Suite 201, Defiance, OH  43512.


Applications must be completed in their entirety.  Once an application has been received, an inspector from the Defiance County Engineer’s Office will make a field check to observe the existing conditions at the location.  The inspector will determine the condition of the ditch, whether a pipe is necessary and if so, the diameter, length, and need of a T-riser and/or catch basin.  The inspector may require a survey to be completed by the Defiance County Engineer’s Office in the event the ditch needs cleaning or moved back from the roadway.  All materials, installation, erosion control, seeding and finished grading will be the owner’s responsibility, unless determined otherwise by the appropriate County official.


T-risers and/or catch basins should be used at the upstream end of the drive and where needed to pick up side drainage and/or side drainage tiles running into the enclosure.


ï Permit & Inspection Fees

ï Driveway Permit & Ditch Enclosure Permit

ï  Mailbox Turnout Construction Guide