Vermilion Township

Vermilion Township
1907 State Road
Vermilion, OH 44089
Phone: (440) 967-3251

Vermilion Township is governed by a three-member board of trustees who are elected in November of odd-numbered years to a four-year term beginning on the following January 1. Two are elected in the year after the presidential election and one is elected in the year before it. There is also an elected township fiscal officer who serves a four-year term beginning on April 1 of the year after the election, which is held in November of the year before the presidential election. Vacancies in the fiscal officership or on the board of trustees are filled by the remaining trustees.

Vermilion Township Meeting Information

The Vermilion Township Board of Trustees meets on the first (7:30 pm) and the third (8 am) Wednesday of each month. All meetings are held at the Vermilion Township Offices: 1907 State Road, Vermilion, Ohio 44089. Residents who wish to address the Board of Trustees at a regular meeting or special meeting must sign the Sign in Sheet before the start of the meeting. Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Vermilion Township office at (440) 967-3251 to verify date and time.

Vermilion Township Zoning

Zoning was adopted in March of 1957 and was designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of those living in the community. Most zoning regulations are a matter of common sense and help to make sure that people use their property in such a way that is not detrimental to those living in the same area or to the community as a whole. Effective zoning practices protect property values and contribute to a community's quality of life. The Vermilion Township Zoning Office is available to assist you in meeting the zoning requirements set forth in the Vermilion Township Zoning Resolution. Most all construction requires a Zoning Permit and/or a Building Permit. The Zoning Office will process all Building and Zoning Permit applications.

Vermilion Township Zoning Commission

The Zoning Commission is composed of five members who reside in the unincorporated area of the township and are appointed by the trustees for five year terms. The Township Zoning Commission shall submit a plan, including both text and maps representing the recommendations of the Zoning Commission, for the carrying out by the Board of Township Trustees for the powers, purposes and provisions set forth in Section 519.01 to 519.99, inclusive, of the Revised Code, including additions to territory in which Township Zoning Resolution is in effect.

Vermilion Township Board of Zoning Appeals

The Board of Zoning Appeals is composed of five residents of the unincorporated area of the township appointed by the trustees for five-year terms.

The Board of Zoning Appeals may:

a. Hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of Sections 519.01 to 519.25 of the Revised Code or of any resolution adopted pursuant thereto;
b. Authorize, upon appeal, in specific cases, such variance from the terms of the Zoning Resolution as will not be contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the resolution will result in unnecessary hardship and so that the spirit of the resolution shall be observed and substantial justice done;
c. Grant conditional zoning certificates for the use of land, building or other structures if such certificates for specific uses are provided for the Zoning Resolution;
d. Revoke an authorized variance or conditional zoning certificate, if any condition of the variance or certificate is violated.

Vermilion Township Building Department

The Vermilion Township Building Department is certified by the state of Ohio Department of Commerce, Board of Building Standards, to enforce the building codes for commercial, industrial and residential structures. The Ohio Building Code (OBC) and the National Electric Code (NEC) are enforced on all commercial/industrial projects and the Residential Code of Ohio is used for all one, two and three family structures. All inspectors are certified by the State of Ohio and the International Code Council. Township businesses and residents are encouraged to contact the Building Department before starting any project to verify if permits and inspections are required.  Most all construction requires a Zoning Permit and/or a Building Permit. The Zoning Office will process all Building Permit applications.

Vermilion Township Road Department

Vermilion Township Road Department
11607 Stanley Road
Vermilion, Ohio 44089
Phone: (440) 967-8658
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 4 pm (on call as needed)

Services provided are:
  • Road side ditch and right of way mowing
  • Tree trimming – Only within road right of way
  • Road surface repair with Dura Patch machine
  • Road surface crack sealing
  • Snow and ice removal
  • Berming
  • Ditch cleaning
  • Sign maintenance
  • Drain tile installation
The Vermilion Township Road Department consists of two full-time employees who are responsible for maintaining 21.43 miles of Vermilion Township roads and to ensure roads remain in good condition, with the exception of all state routes/highways and county roads. The Road Department has the equipment needed to handle the worst northern Ohio winters and prides itself on being able to maintain safe road conditions through the winter season.

The Road Department asks for help from residents in keeping open ditches and driveway tiles clear of debris to allow for proper drainage during rain events. Do not place leaves, sticks or any other debris into the ditch. Please do not install “damming” devices in the ditch. These make it extremely difficult to keep the ditch maintained and flowing.

Ditch mowing is generally conducted before Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. The Road Department may add to this schedule at their discretion.

During the winter the Road Department asks to please use extra caution around the trucks. It can be extremely difficult for the operators to see oncoming vehicles during snow events. 

If you are interested in enclosing an open ditch please contact the Road Department for instructions.

PLEASE NOTE: Anyone wishing to drain anything into a ditch or enclose ditch by installing a pipe or tie into an existing drain tile must obtain permission from the Road Department or Township Trustees. Any driveway installation where a tile is required must obtain a permit. Any structure erected within the road right of way will require permission as well.

Vermilion Township Fire Department

1907 State Road
Vermilion, Ohio 44089
Phone: (440) 967-1017
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 10 am - 2 pm

The Vermilion Township Fire Department was founded to provide the best protection for the residents, homes, businesses, and visitors of Vermilion Township. The Township Trustees and Fire Department personnel are committed to being one of the premier Fire Departments in the area. We will provide an appropriate, safe, and professional response to fire, medical and environmental emergencies. We are dedicated to minimizing the loss of life and property through suppression, rescue, education, code enforcement, investigation and other innovative programs.
  • We recognize each member’s unique talents and value.
  • We will treat all that we serve with compassion and kindness.
  • We will maintain the highest standard in safety and service.
  • We will strive to train and equip each member to the highest standard available to us.
  • We act with absolute honesty, integrity and fairness in the way we conduct our business and the way we live our lives.
  • We trust our colleagues as valuable members of our fire and life safety team, and pledge to treat one another with loyalty, respect and dignity through the ongoing tradition of the fire service.

Vermilion Township History

Vermilion Township was named after the principal river emptying into the lake through its territory. Vermilion Township is bounded on the north by the City of Vermilion; south by Florence Township; east by Brownhelm Township, Lorain County; and west by Berlin Township. The surface of the Township is level in the northern portion, while in the southern part it is broken with alternate sandy ridges and low lands. The soil is variable and embraces sandy loam gravel and clay marl.

The Vermilion, LaChapelle, and Sugar Creek are the three streams passing through Vermilion Township. The Vermilion stream is the largest rising in Ashland County running through the eastern part of Huron and the western part of Lorain Counties emptying into Lake Erie near the east line of Vermilion Township. Sugar Creek acquired its name from the mound at the mouth of the creek that resembled a sugar loaf and the Indians who made sugar from the extensive sugar orchards along the stream. The LaChapelle rises in Huron County passing through Wakeman, Florence, and Vermilion Townships.

In 1792, the Connecticut State Assembly awarded 1,870 Fire Sufferer's whose property had been plundered during the Revolutionary War, 50,000 acres of land that became known as the "Firelands." In 1808, Almon Ruggles surveyed the Firelands which today encompasses the counties of Huron and Erie, the townships of Ruggles in Ashland County and Danbury in Ottawa County. Ruggles laid out each township in five-mile squares with township number 6 in range 20 being Vermilion Township.

Vermilion Township History Timeline

1818 — The first record of a township meeting to form the local government was held on April 6th. Elected officers included a clerk, judge or elections, trustees, fence viewers, treasurers, appraisers, and supervisors.

1820 — First census taken by the Marshal for a report to the Federal Government reveals a population of 520 in Vermilion Township.

1821 — The State of Ohio authorizes the "laying of taxes by public schools," although township schools still supported by subscription.

1829 — September 5th, Lester Allan Pelton, considered to be the father of modern day hydroelectric power, was born in Vermilion Township, Erie County, Ohio.

1883 — The Town Hall is completed at a cost of $21,000. The building includes a council chamber, election room, township trustee's hall, kitchen and dining room, a jail with six bunks, and a court room on the ground floor. The upper floor has an elegantly furnished opera house with a seating capacity of 425 people. There is a large shed constructed in the back for horses and vehicles.

1889 — August 27th, the Pelton Runner (water turbine) invention was officially patented.  And by 1893 the Age of Hydroelectric power was in full swing.

1908 — March 14th, Lester A. Pelton passed away.  He was cremated and his remains were transported back to the town where he was born and lived as a boy. There he was placed to rest with his family in Maple Grove Cemetery on Mason Road south of Vermilion.

1957 — March, zoning was adopted in Vermilion Township.

2005 — Vermilion Township Offices move to Ohio Edison at 1907 State Rd. Building is the headquarters for the Township Trustees, Zoning Department, Fire Department, and Erie County Sheriff's substation.

2005 — February 1st, Township opens Vermilion Township Fire Department.

2006 — Erie County Regional Planning begins work on Vermilion Township Comprehensive Plan at the beginning of March.

Birthplace Of Lester A. Pelton

Lester Allan Pelton (September 5, 1829 – March 14, 1908), considered to be the father of modern day hydroelectric power, is one the most famous inventors of American history.  Pelton invented the impulse water turbine.  Lester Pelton was born in Vermillion, Ohio in 1829. His father was a farmer.  He lived on Risden Road and attended the Cuddeback School on the northwest corner of Risden and Lake Roads.  He had seven siblings.  His grandfather, Captain Josiah S. Pelton, located in Vermilion in 1818. In ill health, his oldest son, Josiah S. Jr., assumed the role of family patriarch. The family prospered and all figured prominently in the development of Vermilion in business and government.  But it was Lester who would become world famous.

When Lester grew up he decided to travel by wagon train to California. He was a quiet person who liked to study and read books. At first he went to Sacramento and became a fisherman. He was not successful at fishing so he decided to move. He went to Camptonville in Nevada County after he heard about a gold discovery along the North Fork of the Yuba River. 

In 1860 all types of mining were going on, placer, hardrock, and hydraulic. Pelton did not want to be a miner so he decided to improve mining methods. He watched, studied, and learned about methods needed to power hydraulic mining. Hardrock mines also needed power to lower the men into the mines, bring up the ore cars, and return the workers to the surface at the end of their shift. Power was also needed to operate rock crushers, stamp mills, pumps, and machinery.

At the time the steam engine was used by many mines for their main power source, but the hillsides were running out of wood and trees. The Empire Mine in Grass Valley used about twenty cords of wood a day. Pelton knew the forests were disappearing so he began thinking about inventing a water wheel. In 1878 he experimented with several types of wheels.

According to a 1939 article by W. F. Durand of Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering, "Pelton's invention started from an accidental observation, some time in the 1870s. Pelton was watching a spinning water turbine when the key holding its wheel onto its shaft slipped, causing it to become misaligned. Instead of the jet hitting the cups in their middle, the slippage made it hit near the edge; rather than the water flow being stopped, it was now deflected into a half-circle, coming out again with reversed direction. Surprisingly, the turbine now moved faster. That was Pelton's great discovery. In other turbines the jet hit the middle of the cup and the splash of the impacting water wasted energy."

As the story goes, Pelton was further inspired one day when chasing a stray cow from his landlady’s yard. He hit the cow on the nose with water and the water split, circled the cows nostrils and came out at the outer edge. This gave him an idea. He rushed to his workshop and began to make a water wheel with split metal cups.  The wheel was proven to be the best and most efficient in a competition. The Nevada City Foundry began to manufacture the wheels and ship them all over the world.

The Pelton wheel introduced an entirely new physical concept to water turbine design (impulse as opposed to reaction), and revolutionized turbines adapted for high head sites. Up until this time, all water turbines were reaction machines that were powered by water pressure. Pelton's invention was powered by the kinetic energy of a high velocity water jet.

A patent was granted in 1889 to Pelton, and he later sold the rights to the Pelton Water Wheel Company of San Francisco.  Today Pelton wheels are used worldwide for hydroelectric power with not much change in design from the original wheels.  Later evolutions of the Pelton turbine were the Turgo turbine, first patented by in 1919 by Gilkes, and the Banki turbine.  Pelton was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  His invention is on display in museums throughout the world, including the Smithsonian.

Pelton and his family are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery on Mason Road in Vermilion, Ohio.  His birthplace home has been fully restored by Tom and Jean Beach.  The Lester Allan Pelton Historical marker is located at Cuddeback Cemetery, Risden and Lake Roads, Vermilion Township.  The marker reads: "Lester Allan Pelton" Lester Allan Pelton, "the Father of Hydroelectric Power," was born on September 5, 1829, a quarter of a mile northwest of this site. He spent his childhood on a farm a mile south of this site and received his early education in a one-room schoolhouse that once sat north of this site. In the spring of 1850, he and about twenty local boys, left for California during the great gold rush west. Pelton did not find gold, but instead invented what was commonly known as "the Pelton Water-Wheel," which produced the first hydroelectric power in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California in 1887. The Water-Wheel was patented on August 27, 1889. Currently variations of it are still commonly used to generate electric power throughout the world. Pelton died in California on March 14, 1908. He is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Vermilion.