St. John Indiana - Founded 1837

FAQ Center

Building & Planning

Clerk Treasurer's Office

Fire Department

Public Works

Building and Planning Frequently Asked Questions

Clerk Treasurer Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Department Frequently Asked Questions

Public Works Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to get a State Design Release for my project?
The State of Indiana requires that a Construction Design Release be obtained for most commercial and industrial building projects. This release can be applied for electronically with the Division of Homeland Security at http://www.in.gov/dhs/2372.htm. They can also be reached by calling (317) 232-6422.

The information below comes from the State of Indiana website. The Division of Homeland Security is the final authority on whether a state construction design release must be obtained.

The chart below is intended to be an aid in determining whether Indiana law requires you to file your project with the state of Indiana. As always, Indiana Department of Homeland Security recommends you contact a construction design professional to ensure compliance with all Indiana laws.

Definition of Class 1 structure:
Any structure that is used or occupied by:

Decision Logic Chart

Logic Chart

What is the Zoning of a property?
With the correct address, we can tell you the zoning on the property.

What are permit costs?
New Construction on average is between $7500 - $8500
Fences - $25
Decks - $60
Sheds - $ 35 (with electric additional $45)
Pools/Spas - $330
Garages, additions, and remodels depend on the cost and square footage of the project.

What are registration fees?
New contractors fee is $75, renewal fee is $50. Business License registration is $25.

Can PC & BZA minutes and agendas be faxed to me?
Yes, we can fax them to you at the time of your request.

I have building code questions.
St. John follows the IRC 2003 codebook.

How long is my building permit valid?
All permits are valid for one year except pools, spas, and hot tubs, which are only valid for 60 days.

How should I drain my pool?
No direct connection shall be made to the storm sewer and shall be directed away from any adjoining properties. Pool water shall be drained onto the ground and not directed towards any adjoining properties, which will allow chlorinated or treated water to dissipate before being absorbed into the ground.

Can I get an adjustment on my sewer portion of my bill before May 15th or after the September 15th for summer sprinkling usage?
Yes, with the proper documentation and following the procedure established regarding swimming pool fills and/or new lawns/landscape installations. Contact the clerk's office for information before proceeding.

Will my utility bill be considered late if I put it into the night drop box after hours on the 15th of the month?
No, after hour deposits that are secured from the drop box that is emptied daily every business day at 7:00 a.m. will have the payment posted with the date of the preceding day and be on time. Therefore bill payment is on time.

My utility bill is due on the 15th and that is a holiday so do I have until the 16th of the month to make my payment and be on time?
No, the utility bills are always due on the 15th of every month; an extra day is not added to the due date because of any holiday. Only when a payment is placed in the night drop box after 5:00 p.m. on the 15th and before 7:00 a.m. on the 16th of the month will it be posted as on time. The Utility bills can be paid through the mail, in person at the clerk's office, placed in the night drop, or paid by Credit Card.

I am moving into town and need to know what to do to get my water turned on in my name.
A meter deposit is required for all residential and commercial customers. By contacting the clerk's office either by phone or in person with your anticipated date for service to commence, all pertinent information is taken for this change over. Information is also provided regarding the billing/payment cycle, garbage pick-up and related matters to make your transition to St. John a little less stressful.

How much is my utility bill and why is it always so much?
By calling the clerk's office and after verification of the account holder, the amount due information will be provided. If you have a question regarding a high bill and/or consumption usage, the history of the account is reviewed. If there are no reported leaks by the customer or other unexplainable reasons for the high consumption, you will be referred to the Public Works Department to schedule an appointment for a courtesy visit. Water Conservation Kits for detection of water leaks are also available upon request.

Can I have the phone numbers for the Town Council President and members?
Callers wishing to speak to the Town Council President or Town Council Members are forwarded directly to the Town Manager's office. If the caller is reluctant to be transferred, the caller's name and number is requested and this information is immediately hand delivered to the Town Manager's office.

Clerk-Treasurer's office - 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Building and Planning - 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Public Works - 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where do I go to register to vote?
Voter Registration forms are available in the clerk's office. Completed registration forms are then submitted to the Board of Elections in Crown Point. You may also check the voter registration page at the Lake County's website for relevant information regarding the registration periods and various locations and times for the registration drives.

Where do I vote and where is there a listing of candidates?
We have a ward/precinct map and a listing of the candidates posted in the office during the primary and general elections and information can be provided as to voting locations. For additional information, please visit the Lake County's website.

Who is my Congressman?
The name, phone number and address information is provided after confirmation that the request is for a federal or state representative.

How do I get a copy of a fire incident or EMS report?
Copies of a fire or EMS incident report are available at the fire department. You must complete a request from before they can be released. Call 219-365-6034, the non-emergency number, for further assistance. There is a $5.00 fee for the report ($6.00 for certified).

Does the fire department offer CPR and/or First-Aid Classes to the public?
Yes. Please click here for information about the courses.

Does the fire department install smoke detectors?
The fire department does not install smoke detectors for the public.

Can I get my blood pressure taken at the firehouse?
There are medical personnel on duty at the fire station that are glad to help you with a blood pressure check or any other EMS issue that you might have.

Can I burn leaves or brush in my yard?
No. The Town has an ordinance against residential open burning. The state also has an ordinance against residential open burning in Lake County. This is an "air quality" issue, rather than a fire protection issue, however the fire department will become involved if a complaint is made. Click here for more information.

Are tours of the firehouse available?
Yes, tours of the station are available. Please call the non-emergency number (219) 365-6034 or email admin.fd@stjohnin.com for details or to schedule a visit.

Where should I place my smoke detectors?
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and if possible every room. Please click here for more information.

How can I become a volunteer firefighter?
The fire department is always looking for new members. Currently new members are added on a semi-annual basis. Please complete an application and return it to the fire station. An interview will be scheduled providing the application is approved. Applicants must reside in St. John or our protection area.

How do I report a non-emergency incident?
To request assistance involving a non-emergency question, situation or concern, please call our non-emergency number (219) 365-6034.

Will the Fire Dept. respond for assistance without lights and sirens for a non-emergency?
The fire department will respond to a non-emergency without the need for lights and sirens. However, fire department policy states that for any life threatening situation, or a high probability of loss or sever damage to property, the fire department will respond to the scene with lights and siren activated. Some times residents request NO LIGHTS OR SIRENS, and a real emergency does exist. The fire department cannot take that extra risk.

Is there a fee for service charged when the fire department responds?
The fire department charges a fee for EMS response. These rates are found in ordinances of the Town. Most insurance companies cover some or all of the charges. There are no charges for fire protection issues to residential or commercial customers within the assigned St. John Fire Department protection areas. Some examples are fire code inspections, fire prevention education, a non-emergency smoke detector problem or an activated carbon monoxide detector.

My smoke detector is "chirping". What should I do?
Many newer models of smoke detectors make a "chirping" sound when the batteries are low. You should replace the batteries and test/reset your smoke detector. If you experience any problems or difficulty, contact the fire department right away.

What is Carbon Monoxide and how does it harm you?
Carbon monoxide, CO, is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. It is a by-product of "incomplete combustion". When a person inhales high levels of carbon monoxide for a long period of time, it displaces the oxygen in the blood causing the heart, brain, and other vital organs to be deprived of oxygen. Extended exposure to strong concentrations of carbon monoxide is life threatening. Loss of consciousness and suffocation may result without warning! Make sure your home has a detector.

Can I complete community service hours at the firehouse?
Yes, community service hours can be done at the firehouse. Please contact the Chief for more information.

How do I select a fire extinguisher?
There are four basic types of fires. Portable extinguishers are labeled so that the most appropriate extinguisher is chosen for use on a specific type of fire. Portable extinguishers are labeled using standard symbols for the classes of fires. A slash through any symbol means: "that certain extinguisher should not be used on that certain type of fire". A mission symbol means: "that certain extinguisher has not been formally tested for a given class of fire". Multi-purpose extinguishes i.e. ABC, may be used successfully on all three types of fires

There is also a new class of extinguisher called the K extinguisher. It is used on synthetic cooking oils, and gets its identity as "K" from "KITCHEN". Always use the most appropriate extinguisher so that you don't cause the fire to escalate (become worse) or endanger yourself or others.

Does the fire department service fire extinguishers?
No, the fire department does not service fire extinguishers. There are private fire protection companies that offer those services. They can be found in the phone book.

Where can I purchase a fire extinguisher?
Portable fire extinguishers can be purchased at a wide variety of retail stores. Home improvement centers and hardware stores generally carry an adequate selection to choose from.

Where can I purchase an evacuation ladder?
Escape ladders for residential evacuations from second floor areas can be found at most home improvement centers. Or visit: http://www.kidde.com/ for more information.

Can I call the Fire Dept. to dispose of household hazardous materials?
No. The appropriate way to dispose of household hazardous materials is through the Lake County Hazardous Waste District. Visit http://www.lcswmd.com/ for a schedule and additional information.

Will the fire department come to my home and fill my swimming pool?
No, the fire department is not permitted to fill swimming pools. There are private firms that can help you with that.

When does the town test the severe weather alarm?
Sirens are activated/tested at 12:00 (noon) on the first Saturday of every month. The only time the siren would not be tested as part of that program is if the weather conditions appear to be right for the generation of a tornado/severe weather.

Who do I call for Child Safety Seat (aka Car Seat) Inspections?
Please contact the St. John Fire Department non-emergency number (219) 365-6034 to schedule a Car Seat Inspection with a certified inspector.

What if my container is damaged and requires repair?
Call the Public Works Department, we can determine if the product warranty will cover the repair. Do not attempt to repair the bin yourself as it could void the warranty. The Public Works staff can easily do most common repairs, or provide you with replacement parts at no expense.

May I write on the recycling bin?
Yes! You are encouraged to write your address on the white panel that appears on the left side of the bin. This will help identify your bin should it become lost. Please place only your address on the recycle bin.

May I use the blue recycling bin on wheels for trash.
No, never place trash in any recycling container. Never discard hazardous materials with household trash.

Must my recycling materials be sorted?
No

What should I do if my recycling bin is lost or stolen?
Report the loss to the Public Works Department at (219) 365-4655 option 6, and at that time arrangements can be made for you to purchase a replacement recycling container.

What day is garbage pickup?
Garbage day is every Monday. Garbage should be out by 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.

What day is recycling pickup?
Recycling day is every Monday. Recycling should be out by 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.

What about holidays, how does that effect my garbage and recycling pickup day?
Recycling and garbage pickup is delayed a day when a NATIONAL HOLIDAY falls on a Monday.

THE FOLLOWING ARE CONSIDERED NATIONAL HOLIDAYS:
New Years Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day. When one of these days occurs on a Monday your garbage and recycling will be picked up on the Tuesday of that week. Both recycling and garbage needs to be out by 6:00 a.m.

Does the Town have an electronics recycling program?
Yes we do. Click Here for more information.

Does the Town pick up large items?
No, the Town does not pick up large items. You are allowed to set out one large item per week. Examples include a chair, couch, mattress, etc. Electronics should be brought to the Public Works facilty for recycling Monday through Friday 9AM to 2PM. Allied will pick up appliances with freon for an additional charge. Allied will also pick up large items. Please contact Allied to make arrangements for pick up at (219) 662-8600.

I do a lot of recycling; can I have another recycle bin?
You may purchase additional blue 30 gallon recycle tote from the Clerk's Office for $50.00. Bins

What do I do with small bushes that I removed from my yard?
Remove the roots from the bushes and place the roots in your regular garbage. The remaining bush will be collected during branch collection and placed in the chipper.

What if my blue 30 gallon recycle bin is broken, lost or stolen?
If your bin is broken, call Public Works to schedule a repair. Unfortunately, lost or stolen bins are not replaced by the Town. If you still wish to continue recycling, you would have to purchase another one.

Does our refuse company pickup leaves?
No, land fills will not allow leaves to be dumped in them. The Town has a leaf collection program that runs twice a year. Click here for the dates.

Does the Town have a dumpster I can put things in?
No, the Town does not have a dumpster.

How do I dispose of household hazard waste materials?
Hazard waste items like tires, railroad ties, roofing shingles, motor oil, paint etc. can be disposed at one of the Lake Michigan Districts Household Waste Collection sites. Call for a schedule (800) 946-4449.

When does leaf collection start?
Spring leaf collection begins in April and fall collection is October through the first week of December. Exact dates for these collections will be posted in the spring flyer that will be mailed to every home.

Do leaves need to be bagged?
No, residents with curbs are asked to place leaves along the edge of the curb, but not in the curb. Residents whose street have no curbs are asked to place their leaves on the grass parkway directly behind the curb, please avoid putting them behind mailboxes or around street signs Leaves should be loose. Leaves that are bagged or in containers will not get picked up.

When does branch collection start?
In April, there will be 2 designated weeks for branch collection. Thereafter, branches will be collected the third week of the month beginning in May, ending in September. In October, there will be 2 designated weeks ending collection for the year. Exact dates for these collections will be posted in the spring flyer that will be mailed to every home.

What size branches are acceptable?
Branches must be at least 48 inches in length. Anything shorter should be cut up and deposited in a bag or open container for the Town's regular trash collection. Branches can be up to 10" in diameter. Do not bundle or place in bags.
Grass clippings should be placed in trash bags and marked as such or in your regular trash container (not to exceed 35 lbs) and placed at curb for regular trash pickup. No special bags are required.

What do I do with small twigs, bush clippings, old flowers, etc.?
These items are considered yard waste and can be placed in an open bag or container and deposited in the regular weekly trash collection. If placed in a bag please mark YARD WASTE. No special bags are required.

Do I need a water softener?
No, getting a water softener is a personal choice.

What is the hardness of our drinking water?
38 grains.

Why does my water smell like eggs or sulfur?
St. John's water does not have an odor, the coil in your hot water tank most likely has a crack in it which would cause both your hot and cold water to appear to have that odor. You need to contact your builder, plumber or purchase a new hot water tank.

Why does my water have a rust color or why is my water yellow?
This is usually caused by a water main break near you and should clear itself up within 48 hours from when you have noticed it. We recommend you do not wash your white clothes at this time. Should it continue past the 48 hours, please contact the Public Works Department. In the summer time if you live in area where there is a high volume of irrigation (sprinklers) systems being used you will also experience discoloration.

Will the Town restore the areas that were disturbed due to water main breaks, sewer breaks, projects, etc.?
Yes, the Town will replace sod, seed, concrete, asphalt or any other type of surface that was damaged. With water main and sewer breaks it could take several months to do restoration, due to the depth of the repair. We need to let the ground settle before completing the restoration.

Does the Town of St. John have Lake Michigan water?
No, the Town sits on two different water sheds which supplies water for the Town's three wells.

Can I park vehicles on the street when it snows?
No, once it starts snowing or sleeting there is no parking allowed on residential streets. There are snow signs posted at the entrances of all subdivisions.

Who is our garbage and recycling contractor?
Illiana Disposal (also known as Allied Waste Services)

Before I fill up my pool who do I call?
You should contact the Clerk Treasurer's Office