Frequently Asked Questions

What are Section Corners?

Section corners were created when the government originally surveyed Indiana into “mile square” parcels.  Section corners refer to the four (4) corners of the “mile square” parcel.  The intermediate half-mile corners are referred to as “quarter corners” because they divide the section into quarters.  These corners are usually found near the centerline(s) of this County’s roads.  They are marked by monuments set under the direction of a licensed surveyor.

Where can I get a County Map?

Printed maps are available through the County Surveyor.  Digital maps of individual tax parcels are available on the GIS Mapping.

Where can I get a recorded plat of my property?

If within a subdivision, the County Recorder can provide a copy of the plat of each subdivision and lot(s) for a small fee.

If NOT within a subdivision, the County has only a few recently recorded copies of non-subdivision surveyed parcels.  Those are also available through the County Recorder.

Why was my survey drawing not recorded when my property was surveyed?

Indiana has only recently required the recordation of surveys in specific circumstances as in a) the creation of a new tax parcel; b) a previously unrecorded survey; or c) when the recent survey differs significantly from the description of record.

Why do I see people from your office working or digging in the middle of the road?

The County Surveyor is required to maintain records indicating the location of each original government horizontal monument within his county.  Many of these monuments develop the centerlines of county roads. (IC 36-2-12 sec. 10&11)

When do I need a drainage permit?

You will need a drainage permit in the following situations.  First, if a building or septic permit are required.  Secondly, for the relocation or improvements of a county tile or other regulated watercourse.,

What is the process for a drainage permit?

The Hancock County Stormwater Ordinance explains the process for obtaining a drainage permit.  The Ordinance is available at the County Surveyor’s Office in CD format.  Once you have a plot plan for a house or a layout for development and identified the outlet, then an engineer or surveyor can submit drainage calculations for your project.  The general release rates for the county are a 10 year return period storm may not exceed 0.1 cfs per acre and a 100 year return period storm may not exceed 0.3 cfs per acre.

What is the Hancock County Drainage Board and who are the members? How can I get in contact with them?

The Hancock County Drain Board is currently comprised of the County Commissioners, two pointed members, the County Surveyor (ex officio), a secretary and an attorney.

You may contact with them by leaving a message at the County Surveyor’s Office.

When do I need to go before the Hancock County Drainage Board?

The Drainage Board has jurisdiction over the Regulated Drains.  The following conditions require Drainage Board approval – encroachments into easements, variances from ordinances or standards, relocate or replace a drain, and all monetary actions for drains (assessments, repairs, brushing, dredging, spraying, etc.)

When and where does the Drainage Board meet?

The Board usually meets the first Thursday of each month in the Commissioners’ meeting room at 8:00 AM in the Courthouse Annex , 111 South American Legion Place, Greenfield, IN.  Information about the activities of the Board is available at the County Surveyor’s Office(317) 477-1150 – also in the Annex building.

What is a floodplain? What is a flood zone? What is a floodway? What is a flood fringe?  Who sets the standard for these?

A Floodplain is: The channel proper and the areas adjoining the channel which have been or hereafter may be covered by a regulatory or 100-year flood.  Any normally dry land area that is susceptible to being inundated by water from any natural source.  The floodplain includes both the floodway and the floodway fringe districts.

A Flood zone is: A letter assigned to the Flood Insurance Rate Map to determine insurance rates.

A Floodway is: 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 the peak flow of the regulatory flood of any river or stream.

A Flood Fringe is: That portion of the flood plain lying outside the floodway, which is inundated by the regulatory flood.

These standards are by studies of the channels or streams and are set by FEMA.

Who can help me with a flood zone determination?

A land surveyor, an engineer, or the County Surveyor’s office

Can I build in a floodplain? Floodway?         

All requests must go through IDNR.

What is an elevation certificate? When do I need one?

An elevation certificate is a form from FEMA that is used in relationship with floodplains.  The form is used to determine the lowest floor, lowest adjacent grade, number of openings below the first floor, and other useful information, in order to determine if a structure is in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  If a structure or improvements to that structure are within a designated flood zone then, the elevation certificate must be used.  The certificate must be filled out completely and have the seal of a registered surveyor, engineer, or architect.

What is a regulated drain?

A regulated drain is an open or tiled drain that was created by landowners under a drainage statute.

Where do I find maps of regulated drains?

Maps are on file at the County Surveyor’s Office.

I have a tile that connects to a regulated drain. Does this mean that maintaining this tile is the county’s responsibility?

No, the county is responsible for the regulated drain only.  Any private tile connecting to a regulated drain tile is the responsibility of the land owner.

What do the terms “brushing” and “dredging” mean?

The terms “brushing” and “dredging” are used in the Surveyor’s Office when discussing the maintenance of regulated drains.  “Brushing” is removal of trees, and small woody vegetation from the top of the bank to the flow line of the drain.  Brushing occurs when the woody vegetation has become overgrown on the banks of the regulated drain and is limiting the amount of water that can flow through this channel.  “Dredging” is the process of excavation excess sediment in the channel of the drain in order to increase flow and the storage capacity of the drain.  These two operations are performed by contractors under the direction of the County Surveyor’s Office.

What is a “watershed”?

A watershed is an area of land from which all storm runoff water drains to a common point.

 Why do I pay a drainage assessment and the drain is not on my property?

Even through the actual drain is not on you property, it does drain the storm runoff water from your property.

How do I petition to make a drain a regulated drain?

See IC 36-9-27-18 and 19

What is the General Drainage Improvement Fund? What is a Drain Maintenance Fund? Who contributes to these funds?

The general drain improvement fund is used as a “bank” to loan monies without interest for construction, reconstruction and maintenance of regulated drains.

A drain maintenance fund includes monies paid by landowners within a watershed for the specific purpose of repair and maintenance of their drain.  This fund does not include monies derived from County property taxes.

General drain fund: Is provided by appropriations from the County general fund, taxes levied by the County Council;, monies received from assessments upon land receiving special benefits in the construction or reconstruction of a drain;, interest and penalties on collection of delinquent drain assessments; repayment from a drain maintenance fund, etc.

How is the interest gained from investment applied to drainage funds?

Interest for invested drain funds is applied to the general drain fund.

How long does a drain stay on assessment?

Re-assessment length is a maximum of 5 years in the case of a construction or reconstruction project.  For maintenance funds, the duration of assessment is based on the balance in the fund at the end of each year.  However, when a maintenance fund has an unencumbered balance equal to or greater than four (4) times the estimated annual cost of periodically maintaining the drain – the fund is not to collect in that year (IC 36-9-27-43).  Urban drains may be assessed for a duration of 20 years (IC 36-8-27-88).

Where do I pay my drainage assessment?

All drainage assessment payments are made at the County Treasurer’s Office.

How is a drainage assessment determined?

Drainage assessments are determined by the Drain Board after consideration of the following item:  the number of acres per tract; the total volume of water passing through the drain; land use; soil types; elimination or reduction of damage from floods; any increased value to a tract(s) of land benefited from the drainage provided; or any other item that provides a benefit or liability to a tract of land (IC 36-8-27-112).

What are Benchmarks?

Benchmarks in land surveying usually refer to a monument containing an elevation relative to sea level.  The County Surveyor’s Office tries to maintain and perpetuate these for use by the development community, floodplain determinations and stormwater management.

What is a “legal survey”?

A legal survey is a process whereby a landowner may establish the location of the line between the landowner’s land and that of an adjoining landowner.  This usually occurs when a discrepancy exists in title descriptions or poor boundary monumentation exist.  IC 36-2-12-10(b)

Do you do private surveys?

No, you will have to hire a private surveying company.

What is the CRS program?

Community Rating System (CRS) is a rating system associated with insurance premiums for parcels within federally determined flood plains.  The determination of the insurance liability associated with the County’s flood plain program.  

How do I get in touch with IDNR? FEMA? Army Corps of Engineers? NRCS?

What is NPDS Phase II?

On December 8, 1999, Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, was published in the Federal Register.  The NPDES program, as authorized by the 1072 amendments to the Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulation point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.  Phase II of NPDES requires permit coverage for stormwater discharges fro regulated small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and for small construction activity that results in the disturbance of equal to or greater than one acre.  This Federal regulation went into affect March 10, 2003.  In response to Phase II of  NPDES, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management enacted Rule 13 (237 IAC 15-13) and revised Rule 5 (327 IAC 15-5).  Under these new State and Federal regulations,  Hancock County is required to establish a regulatory mechanism for regulating stormwater quality management.  Therefore, the “Hancock County Drainage Code” was modified to address stormwater quality and quantity.


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