CHAPTER 394. PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, ZONING
Table of Sections
|394.01||Repealed, 1986 c 399 art 1 s 29; 1986 c 416 s 11
|394.02||Repealed, 1986 c 399 art 1 s 29; 1986 c 416 s 11
|394.03||Repealed, 1986 c 399 art 1 s 29; 1986 c 416 s 11
|394.04||Repealed, 1986 c 399 art 1 s 29; 1986 c 416 s 11
|394.05||Repealed, 1986 c 399 art 1 s 29; 1986 c 416 s 11
|394.06||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.07||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.08||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.09||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.10||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.11||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.12||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.13||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.14||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.15||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.16||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.17||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.21||AUTHORITY TO CARRY ON COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING.|
|394.23||394.23 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.|
|394.235||MAY MAKE APPLICANT CERTIFY THAT TAXES ARE PAID.|
|394.25||FORMS OF CONTROL.|
|394.27||CREATION AND DUTIES OF BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.|
|394.28||APPROPRIATION FOR PLANNING ACTIVITY.|
|394.29||MAY EMPLOY DIRECTOR AND STAFF.|
|394.30||COUNTY BOARD'S PLANNING COMMISSION.|
|394.301||CONDITIONAL USE PERMITS.|
|394.305||NOTICE OF RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON AGRICULTURAL LAND.|
|394.31||Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
|394.312||RELATION TO OTHER COUNTY AUTHORITY.|
|394.32||COOPERATION WITH MUNICIPALITIES.|
|394.33||COUNTY PREVAILS OVER TOWN UNLESS TOWN MORE RESTRICTIVE.|
|394.35||RECORDING WITH COUNTY RECORDER.|
|394.362||VARIANCES; USE PERMITS; ADVERSE EFFECT.|
394.21 AUTHORITY TO CARRY ON COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING.
Subdivision 1. Except most populous counties.
For the purpose of promoting the health,
safety, morals, and general welfare of the community any county in the state having less than
300,000 population according to the 1950 federal census is authorized to carry on county planning
and zoning activities.
Subd. 1a. Amortization prohibited.
Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, a
county, regardless of population, under this chapter or under a special or local law, must not
enact, amend, or enforce an ordinance providing for the elimination or termination of a use by
amortization which use was lawful at the time of its inception. This subdivision does not apply
to adults-only bookstores, adults-only theaters, or similar adults-only businesses, as defined by
Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 3. Nuisance.
Subdivision 1a does not prohibit a county from enforcing an ordinance
providing for the prevention or abatement of nuisances, as defined in section
eliminating a use determined to be a public nuisance, as defined in section
617.81, subdivision 2
paragraph (a), clauses (1) to (9), without payment of compensation.
History: 1959 c 559 s 1; 1999 c 96 s 1,2
Subdivision 1. Application.
The words or terms as used in sections
have the meanings given them in these sections unless a different meaning is clearly indicated
by the context.
Subd. 2. Board.
"Board" means the board of county commissioners.
Subd. 3. Governing body.
"Governing body" means a town board of supervisors, the council
of a municipality, or board of county commissioners.
Subd. 4. Municipality.
"Municipality" means a city however organized.
Subd. 5.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 6. Official control.
"Official control" means legislatively defined and enacted
policies, standards, precise detailed maps, and other criteria, all of which control the physical
development of a municipality or a county or any part thereof or any detail thereof, and are the
means of translating into ordinances all or any part of the general objectives of the comprehensive
plan. Such official controls may include but are not limited to ordinances establishing zoning,
subdivision controls, site plan rules, sanitary codes, building codes, housing codes, and official
Subd. 7. Conditional use.
"Conditional use" means a land use or development as defined
by ordinance that would not be appropriate generally but may be allowed with appropriate
restrictions as provided by official controls upon a finding that (1) certain conditions as detailed in
the zoning ordinance exist, and (2) the use or development conforms to the comprehensive land
use plan of the county and (3) is compatible with the existing neighborhood.
Subd. 8. Nonconformity.
"Nonconformity" means any legal use, structure or parcel of
land already in existence, recorded, or authorized before the adoption of official controls or
amendments thereto that would not have been permitted to become established under the terms of
the official controls as now written, if the official controls had been in effect prior to the date it
was established, recorded or authorized.
Subd. 9. Comprehensive plan.
"Comprehensive plan" means the policies, statements, goals,
and interrelated plans for private and public land and water use, transportation, and community
facilities including recommendations for plan execution, documented in texts, ordinances and
maps which constitute the guide for the future development of the county or any portion of
Subd. 10. Variance.
"Variance" means any modification or variation of official controls
where it is determined that, by reason of exceptional circumstances, the strict enforcement of the
official controls would cause unnecessary hardship.
Subd. 11. Town.
"Town" means any town, including those with the powers of a statutory
city pursuant to law.
Subd. 12. Official map.
"Official map" means a map adopted in accordance with section
, which may show existing county roads and county state-aid highways, proposed future
county roads and highways, the area needed for widening existing county roads and highways,
and existing and future state trunk highway rights-of-way. An official map may also show the
location of existing public land and facilities and other land needed for future public purposes,
including public facilities such as parks, playgrounds, schools, and other public buildings,
civic centers, airports, and travel service facilities. When requested in accordance with section
394.32, subdivision 3
, an official map may include existing and planned public land uses within
History: 1959 c 559 s 2; 1963 c 692 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1974 c 571 s 1-7; 1982
c 520 s 2; 1985 c 248 s 70; 2005 c 41 s 13
394.23 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.
The board has the power and authority to prepare and adopt by ordinance, a comprehensive
plan. A comprehensive plan or plans when adopted by ordinance must be the basis for official
controls adopted under the provisions of sections
. The commissioner of natural
resources must provide the natural heritage data from the county biological survey, if available, to
each county for use in the comprehensive plan.
History: 1959 c 559 s 3; 1974 c 571 s 8; 1997 c 202 art 4 s 4; 2007 c 57 art 1 s 153
394.232 COMMUNITY-BASED PLANNING.
Subdivision 1. General.
Each county is encouraged to prepare and implement a
community-based comprehensive plan. A community-based comprehensive plan is a
comprehensive plan that is consistent with the goals of community-based planning in section
Subd. 2. Notice and participation.
Notice must be given at the beginning of the
community-based comprehensive planning process to the Office of Strategic and Long-Range
Planning, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of
Employment and Economic Development, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Pollution
Control Agency, the Department of Transportation, local government units, and local citizens to
actively participate in the development of the plan. An agency that is invited to participate in the
development of a local plan but declines to do so and fails to participate or to provide written
comments during the plan development process waives the right during the office's review and
comment period to submit comments, except for comments concerning consistency of the plan
with laws and rules administered by the agency. In determining the merit of the agency comment,
the office shall consider the involvement of the agency in the development of the plan.
Subd. 3. Coordination.
A county that prepares a community-based comprehensive plan
shall coordinate its plan with the plans of its neighbors and its constituent municipalities and
towns in order both to prevent its plan from having an adverse impact on other jurisdictions and
to complement plans of other jurisdictions. The county's community-based comprehensive plan
must incorporate the community-based comprehensive plan of any municipality or town in the
county prepared in accordance with section
. A county may incorporate a municipal
or town community-based comprehensive plan by reference.
Subd. 4. Joint planning.
Under the joint exercise of powers provisions in section
county may establish a joint planning district with other counties, municipalities, and towns, that
are geographically contiguous, to adopt a single community-based comprehensive plan for the
district. The county may delegate its authority to adopt official controls under this chapter to the
board of the joint planning district.
Subd. 5. Review and comment.
(a) The county or joint planning district shall submit its
community-based comprehensive plan to the Office of Strategic and Long-Range Planning for
review of the extent to which the plan promotes local citizen participation, promotes cooperation
among adjacent communities, and demonstrates consideration of the community-based planning
goals in section
. The office has 60 days after submittal to comment on the plan.
(b) The office may not disapprove a community-based comprehensive plan if the office
determines that the plan promotes local citizen participation, promotes cooperation among
adjacent communities, and demonstrates consideration of the community-based planning goals in
(c) If the office disagrees with a community-based comprehensive plan or any elements of
the plan, the office shall notify the county or district in writing of how the plan specifically
fails to address the goals of community-based planning. Upon receipt of the office's written
comments, the county or district has 120 days to revise the community-based comprehensive plan
and resubmit it to the office for reconsideration.
(d) If the county or district refuses to revise the plan or the office disagrees with the revised
plan, the office shall within 60 days notify the county or district that it wishes to initiate the
dispute resolution process in chapter 572A.
(e) Within 60 days of notice from the office, the county or joint planning district shall notify
the office of its intent to enter the dispute resolution process. If the county or district refuses
to enter the dispute resolution process, the county or district is ineligible for any future grant
disbursements related to community-based planning activities through the office.
(f) Priority for other state grants, loans, and other discretionary spending must not be given
to local units of government based on their participation in community-based planning.
Subd. 6. Plan update.
The county board, or the board of the joint planning district, shall
review and update the community-based comprehensive plan periodically, but at least every ten
years, and submit the updated plan to the office of strategic and long-range planning for review
Subd. 7. No mandamus proceeding.
A mandamus proceeding may not be instituted against
a county under this section to require the county to conform its community-based comprehensive
plan to be consistent with the community-based planning goals in section
Subd. 8. Planning authority.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or limit
a county's authority to prepare and adopt a comprehensive plan and official controls under this
History: 1997 c 202 art 4 s 5; 1998 c 366 s 78; 1Sp2003 c 4 s 1
394.235 MAY MAKE APPLICANT CERTIFY THAT TAXES ARE PAID.
The county board may require, either as part of the necessary information on an application
or as a condition of a grant of approval, an applicant for an amendment to an official control
established pursuant to sections
, or for a permit or other approval required under
an official control established pursuant to those sections to certify that there are no delinquent
property taxes, special assessments, penalties, and interest due on the parcel to which the
application relates. Property taxes which are being paid under the provisions of a stipulation,
order, or confession of judgment, or which are being appealed as provided by law, are not
considered delinquent for purposes of this section if all required payments that are due under the
terms of the stipulation, order, confession of judgment, or appeal have been paid.
History: 1996 c 282 s 2; 1997 c 2 s 2
394.24 OFFICIAL CONTROLS.
Subdivision 1. Adopted by ordinance.
Official controls which shall further the purpose
and objectives of the comprehensive plan and parts thereof shall be adopted by ordinance. The
comprehensive plan must provide guidelines for the timing and sequence of the adoption of
official controls to ensure planned, orderly, and staged development and redevelopment consistent
with the comprehensive plan.
Subd. 2. Municipality may request inclusion.
Official controls adopted by a board
shall apply to and be binding upon the county or any parts thereof including areas within the
incorporated limits of a municipality, when requested by the municipality under section
Subd. 3. Outside metro, state, federal land.
For the area within which official controls
adopted by the board are effective, such controls shall apply to the use of land for both private and
public purposes, provided that the need for adequate, timely and convenient public and semipublic
services and facilities must receive due consideration in the formulation, administration and
enforcement of all official controls and no land owned or leased by the federal or state government
shall be subject to official controls of the county. With respect to the use of land for public
purposes, the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply in the metropolitan area as described
History: 1959 c 559 s 4; 1963 c 692 s 2; 1974 c 571 s 9-11; 1980 c 509 s 150; 1995 c 186 s
119; 1997 c 202 art 4 s 6
394.25 FORMS OF CONTROL.
Subdivision 1. Adopted by ordinance.
Official controls shall be adopted by ordinance and
may include but are not limited to the features set forth in this section.
Subd. 2. Districts set by zoning ordinances.
Zoning ordinances establishing districts within
which the use of land or the use of water or the surface of water pursuant to section
for agriculture, forestry, recreation, residence, industry, trade, soil conservation, water supply
conservation, surface water drainage and removal, conservation of shorelands, as defined in
, and additional uses of land and of the surface of water pursuant to
, may be by official controls encouraged, regulated, or prohibited and for such
purpose the board may divide the county into districts of such number, shape, and area as may be
deemed best suited to carry out the comprehensive plan. Official controls may also be applied to
wetlands preservation, open space, parks, sewage disposal, protection of groundwater, protection
of floodplains as defined in section
, protection of wild, scenic, or recreational rivers as
defined in sections
, protection of slope, soils, unconsolidated materials or
bedrock from potentially damaging development, preservation of forests, woodlands and essential
wildlife habitat, reclamation of nonmetallic mining lands; protection and encouragement of
access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems as defined in section
216C.06, subdivision 17
and the preservation of agricultural lands. Official controls may include provisions for purchase of
development rights by the board in the form of conservation easements under chapter 84C in areas
where preservation is considered by the board to be desirable, and the transfer of development
rights from those areas to areas the board considers more desirable for development.
Subd. 3. In district zoning, maps.
Within each such district zoning ordinances or maps may
also be adopted designating or limiting the location, height, width, bulk, type of foundation,
number of stories, size of, and the specific uses for which dwellings, buildings, and structures may
be erected or altered; the minimum and maximum size of yards, courts, or other open spaces;
setback from existing roads and highways and roads and highways designated on an official map;
protective measures necessary to protect the public interest including but not limited to controls
relating to appearance, signs, lighting, hours of operation and other aesthetic performance
characteristics including but not limited to noise, heat, glare, vibrations and smoke; the area
required to provide for off street loading and parking facilities; heights of trees and structures
near airports; and to avoid too great concentration or scattering of the population. All such
provisions shall be uniform for each class of land or building throughout each district, but the
provisions in one district may differ from those in other districts. No provision may prohibit
earth sheltered construction as defined in section
216C.06, subdivision 14
, or manufactured
homes built in conformance with sections
that comply with all other zoning
ordinances promulgated pursuant to this section.
Subd. 3a. Pre-1995 manufactured home park.
A county must not enact, amend, or enforce
a zoning ordinance that has the effect of altering the existing density, lot-size requirements, or
manufactured home setback requirements in any manufactured home park constructed before
January 1, 1995, if the manufactured home park, when constructed, complied with the then
existing density, lot-size and setback requirements.
Subd. 3b. Conditional uses.
A manufactured home park, as defined in section
, is a conditional use in a zoning district that allows the construction or placement of
a building used or intended to be used by two or more families.
Subd. 3c. Feedlot zoning ordinances.
(a) A county proposing to adopt a new feedlot
ordinance or amend an existing feedlot ordinance must notify the Pollution Control Agency and
commissioner of agriculture at the beginning of the process, no later than the notice of the first
hearing proposing to adopt or amend an ordinance purporting to address feedlots.
(b) Prior to final approval of a feedlot ordinance, a county board may submit a copy of the
proposed ordinance to the Pollution Control Agency and to the commissioner of agriculture and
request review, comment, and recommendations on the environmental and agricultural effects
from specific provisions in the ordinance.
(c) The agencies' response to the county may include:
(1) any recommendations for improvements in the ordinance; and
(2) the legal, social, economic, or scientific justification for each recommendation under
(d) At the request of the county board, the county must prepare a report on the economic
effects from specific provisions in the ordinance. Economic analysis must state whether the
ordinance will affect the local economy and describe the kinds of businesses affected and
the projected impact the proposal will have on those businesses. To assist the county, the
commissioner of agriculture, in cooperation with the Department of Employment and Economic
Development, must develop a template for measuring local economic effects and make it available
to the county. The report must be submitted to the commissioners of employment and economic
development and agriculture along with the proposed ordinance.
(e) A local ordinance that contains a setback for new feedlots from existing residences must
also provide for a new residence setback from existing feedlots located in areas zoned agricultural
at the same distances and conditions specified in the setback for new feedlots, unless the new
residence is built to replace an existing residence. A county may grant a variance from this
requirement under section
394.27, subdivision 7
Subd. 4. Official maps.
Official maps as defined in section
394.22, subdivision 12
Subd. 5.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 5a. Metro counties; special areas.
In counties in the metropolitan area as defined in
, official maps may for a period of up to five years designate the boundaries of
areas reserved for purposes of soil conservation, water supply conservation, flood control, and
surface water drainage and removal.
Subd. 6.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 7. Specific controls; other subjects.
(a) Specific controls pertaining to other subjects
incorporated in the comprehensive plan or establishing standards and procedures to be employed
in land development including, but not limited to, subdividing of land and the approval of land
plats and the preservation and dedication of streets and land for other public purposes and the
general design of physical improvement.
(b) A county must approve a preliminary plat that meets the applicable standards and criteria
contained in the county's zoning and subdivision regulations unless the county adopts written
findings based on a record from the public proceedings why the application shall not be approved.
(c) The controls may require that a portion of any proposed subdivision be dedicated to the
public or preserved for public use as parks, recreational facilities, playgrounds, trails, wetlands, or
open space. The requirement must be imposed by ordinance.
(d) If a county adopts the ordinance required by paragraph (c), the county must adopt a
capital improvement program and adopt a parks and open space plan or have a parks, trails, and
open space component in its comprehensive plan subject to the terms and conditions in this
paragraph and in paragraphs (e) through (p).
(e) The county may choose to accept a per lot cash fee as set by ordinance from the applicant
for some or all of the new lots created in the subdivision.
(f) In establishing the portion to be dedicated or preserved or the per lot cash fee, the controls
must consider the open space, park, recreational, or common areas and facilities that the applicant
proposes to reserve for the subdivision.
(g) The county must reasonably determine that it will need to acquire that portion of land for
the purposes stated in this subdivision as a result of approval of the subdivision.
(h) The fees or dedication must be fair, reasonable, and proportionate to the need created.
(i) Any cash payments received must be placed by the county in a special fund to be used
only for the purposes for which the money was obtained.
(j) Any cash payments received must be used only for the acquisition and development or
improvement of parks, recreational facilities, playgrounds, trails, wetlands, or open space. Cash
payments must not be used for ongoing operation, maintenance, or redevelopment of parks,
recreational facilities, playgrounds, trails, wetlands, or open space.
(k) The county must not deny the approval of a subdivision based on an inadequate supply of
parks, open spaces, trails, or recreational areas within the county.
(l) The county must not condition the approval of any proposed subdivision or development
on an agreement to waive the right to challenge the validity of a fee or dedication.
(m) The county must use at least 75 percent of the funds collected under this subdivision
according to the plan required in paragraph (d) in the township or city where the collection of
funds occurs. However, the township board or city council may agree to allow the county to use
these funds outside of the township or city in a manner consistent with the county parks, trails,
and open space capital improvement plan or the county parks and open space component in its
comprehensive plan. The remainder of the funds may be used by the county only for parks and
trails connectivity and accessibility purposes. The county must annually report to cities and
townships on where funds were collected and where funds were expended in the past year.
(n) Previously subdivided property from which a park dedication has been received, being
resubdivided with the same number of lots, is exempt from park dedication requirements. If, as
a result of resubdividing the property, the number of lots is increased, then the park dedication
or per lot cash fee must apply only to the net increase of lots.
(o) A county must not require a dedication of a portion of a proposed subdivision or a
payment in lieu of dedication in a town or city that has adopted a requirement to dedicate or a
payment in place of dedication as a provision of the town or city's subdivision regulations under
462.358, subdivision 2b
, or chapter 366.
(p) A county may negotiate an agreement with a town or city to share the revenue generated
by dedicating a portion of a proposed subdivision or a payment in place of dedication.
Subd. 8. Law adopted by reference.
Any statute of Minnesota, any administrative rule of
any department of the state of Minnesota affecting the county, or any code, adopted by reference
as part of the official control. The term "code" as used herein means any compilation of rules
or standards or part thereof prepared by any governmental agency or any trade or professional
association for general distribution in printed form as a standard or model on the subject of
building construction, plumbing, electric wiring, inflammable liquids, sanitary provisions, public
health, safety, or welfare. Prior to adoption at least one copy of the statute, rule, ordinance or code
shall be marked as official copies and filed for use and examination by the public in the office
of the county auditor. Provisions of the statute, rule, ordinance, or code thus incorporated in
such ordinance by reference shall be as much a part of the ordinance as if they had been set out
in full therein.
Subd. 9. Erosion and sediment controls.
Erosion and sediment controls with regard to
clearing, grading, excavation, transporting and filling of lands. Erosion and sediment controls
may include, but need not be limited to requiring the development of plans before any land
is disturbed. Plans for disturbing land may be submitted to the appropriate soil and water
conservation district for comment and review.
Subd. 10. Amendments.
An amendment to official controls may be initiated by the board,
the planning commission, or by petition of affected property owners as defined in the official
controls. An amendment not initiated by the planning commission shall be referred to the planning
commission, if there is one, for study and report and may not be acted upon by the board until it
has received the recommendation of the planning commission.
History: 1959 c 559 s 5; 1963 c 692 s 3; 1969 c 777 s 2; 1974 c 317 s 1; 1974 c 571 s 12-19;
1978 c 786 s 12; Ex1979 c 2 s 39; 1980 c 509 s 151; 1981 c 356 s 248; 1982 c 490 s 1; 1985 c 248
s 70; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1990 c 391 art 8 s 44; 1994 c 473 s 2; 1995 c 186 s 119; 1997
c 200 art 4 s 4; 1997 c 216 s 135,136; 2003 c 95 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 1 s 90; 2006 c 270 art 1 s 2
394.26 PUBLIC HEARINGS.
Subdivision 1.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 1a. When required.
In addition to public hearings required by section
the adoption by ordinance of any comprehensive plan or amendments thereto or of any official
control or amendment thereto, public hearings shall be held before any conditional use permit, any
variance, and any proposal for a subdivision is approved or denied by the responsible authority,
and in circumstances where a public hearing is otherwise required by sections
Such public hearings may be continued from time to time and additional hearings may be held.
Subd. 2. Notice.
Notice of the time, place, and purpose of any public hearing shall be given
by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the town, municipality, or other area
concerned, and in the official newspaper of the county, at least ten days before the hearing, except
that notice of public hearings in connection with the adoption by ordinance of any comprehensive
plan or amendments thereto or adoption or amendment of any official controls shall be given in
the manner provided by section
375.51, subdivision 2
. In addition to the requirements of section
375.51, subdivision 2
, written notice of public hearings on all official controls and amendments
thereto shall be sent to the governing bodies of all towns and all municipalities located within
the county. Written notice of public hearings regarding the application of official controls to
specific properties, including but not limited to conditional uses, variances, zoning regulations,
and subdivision regulations, shall be sent to all property owners of record within 500 feet of
the affected property in incorporated areas. In unincorporated areas, the written notice shall be
sent to property owners as follows:
(a) in the case of variances, to owners of record within 500 feet of the affected property;
(b) in the case of conditional uses, to owners of record within one-quarter mile of the affected
property or to the ten properties nearest to the affected property, whichever would provide notice
to the greatest number of owners;
(c) in the case of all other official controls, including but not limited to zoning regulations
and subdivision regulations, to owners of record within one-half mile of the affected property.
Written notice shall also be given to the affected board of town supervisors, and the
municipal council of any municipality within two miles of the affected property.
Subd. 3.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 3a. Who runs hearing.
The board may assign responsibility to conduct public
hearings for one or more purposes to the planning commission, board of adjustment or any official
or employee of the county, except as provided in section
History: 1959 c 559 s 6; 1963 c 692 s 4; 1974 c 571 s 20-22; 1976 c 177 s 1; 1980 c 477 s 1
394.27 CREATION AND DUTIES OF BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.
Subdivision 1. When controls adopted.
Whenever a board of county commissioners shall
have adopted official controls it shall at the same time as the adoption of such controls create a
board of adjustment by ordinance.
Subd. 2. Procedure, qualifications.
The board of adjustment shall consist of at least three
but not more than seven members, including at least one member from the unincorporated
area of the county, whose appointment, term of office, or removal from the board shall be as
provided in the ordinance creating the board of adjustment; provided that no elected officer of
the county nor any employee of the board of commissioners shall serve as a member of the
board of adjustment and that one member of such board of adjustment shall also be a member
of any planning commission appointed under the provisions of sections
. In an
ordinance creating a three-member board of adjustment, provision may be made for one alternate
member. The alternate board member shall, when directed by the chair, attend all meetings of the
board and participate fully in its activities but shall not vote on any issue unless authorized to do
so by the chair. The chair shall authorize the alternate board member to vote on an issue when
a regular member is absent, physically incapacitated, abstains because of a possible conflict of
interest, or is prohibited by law from voting on that issue. Any question of whether a particular
issue involves a conflict of interest sufficient to disqualify a regular board member from voting
thereon shall be decided by majority vote of all regular board members except the member who is
being challenged. In the ordinance establishing the board of adjustment provision may be made
for removal of any member for nonperformance of duty or misconduct in office and for the
filling of vacancies for any unexpired term. The regular and alternate members of such board
of adjustment may be paid compensation in an amount determined by the county board and
may be paid their necessary expenses in attending meetings of the board and in the conduct of
the business of the board.
Subd. 3. Officers.
The board of adjustment shall elect a chair and vice-chair from among
its members and shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of a board. It shall adopt
rules for the transaction of its business and shall keep a public record of its transaction, findings,
Subd. 4. Meetings.
The meetings of the board of adjustment shall be held at the call of the
chair and at such other times as the board in its rules of procedure may specify.
Subd. 5. Authority.
The board of adjustment shall have the authority to order the issuance
of variances, hear and decide appeals from and review any order, requirement, decision, or
determination made by any administrative official charged with enforcing any ordinance adopted
pursuant to the provision of sections
, order the issuance of permits for buildings
in areas designated for future public use on an official map, and perform such other duties as
required by the official controls. Such appeal may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any
officer, department, board or bureau of a town, municipality, county, or state. In exercising its
powers under this subdivision, the board of adjustment shall take into consideration the town
board's recommendation when the board of adjustment's decision directly affects land within
Subd. 6. Appeals.
An appeal from any order, requirement, decision, or determination of any
administrative official shall be taken in such time as shall be prescribed by the ordinance creating
the board of adjustment by filing with the board of adjustment a notice of appeal specifying
the grounds thereof. The board of adjustment shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the
appeal and give due notice thereof to the appellant and the officer from whom the appeal is taken
and to the public and decide the same within a reasonable time which shall be defined in the
ordinance establishing the board of adjustment. An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of
the action appealed from unless the board of adjustment to whom the appeal is taken certifies
that by reason of the facts stated in the certificate a stay would cause imminent peril to life or
property. The board of adjustment may reverse or affirm wholly or partly, or may modify the
order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from and to that end shall have all the
powers of the officer from whom the appeal was taken and may direct the issuance of a permit.
The reasons for the board's decision shall be stated in writing.
Subd. 7. Variances; hardship.
The board of adjustment shall have the exclusive power to
order the issuance of variances from the terms of any official control including restrictions placed
on nonconformities. Variances shall only be permitted when they are in harmony with the general
purposes and intent of the official control in cases when there are practical difficulties or particular
hardship in the way of carrying out the strict letter of any official control, and when the terms
of the variance are consistent with the comprehensive plan. "Hardship" as used in connection
with the granting of a variance means the property in question cannot be put to a reasonable
use if used under the conditions allowed by the official controls; the plight of the landowner is
due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the landowner; and the variance, if
granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality. Economic considerations alone
shall not constitute a hardship if a reasonable use for the property exists under the terms of
the ordinance. Variances shall be granted for earth sheltered construction as defined in section
216C.06, subdivision 14
, when in harmony with the official controls. No variance may be granted
that would allow any use that is prohibited in the zoning district in which the subject property is
located. The board of adjustment may impose conditions in the granting of variances to insure
compliance and to protect adjacent properties and the public interest. The board of adjustment
may consider the inability to use solar energy systems a "hardship" in the granting of variances.
Subd. 8. Filing orders.
A certified copy of any order issued by the board of adjustment
acting upon an appeal from an order, requirement, decision or determination by an administrative
official, or a request for a variance, shall be recorded with the county recorder or registrar of titles.
The order issued by the board of adjustment shall include the legal description of the property
involved. The board by ordinance shall designate the county official or employee responsible for
meeting the requirements of this subdivision.
Subd. 9. Appeal to district court.
All decisions by the board of adjustment in granting
variances or in hearing appeals from any administrative order, requirement, decision, or
determination shall be final except that any aggrieved person or persons, or any department, board
or commission of the jurisdiction or of the state shall have the right to appeal within 30 days,
after receipt of notice of the decision, to the district court in the county in which the land is
located on questions of law and fact.
History: 1959 c 559 s 7; 1963 c 692 s 5; 1974 c 571 s 23-29; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1978 c
786 s 13; Ex1979 c 2 s 40; 1981 c 356 s 248; 1984 c 392 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 312 art 1 s
10 subd 1; 2005 c 4 s 97
394.28 APPROPRIATION FOR PLANNING ACTIVITY.
The board of county commissioners shall provide the funds, equipment, and accommodations
necessary for such planning activity as the board determines. Such appropriation may include
funds for the purpose of matching funds of other governmental units or for joint ventures engaged
in with other governmental units.
Any county providing for county planning activities may receive grants-in-aid from or enter
into reasonable agreements with any department or agency of the government of the United
States or the state of Minnesota, to arrange for the receipt of federal or state funds in the interest
of furthering the planning program.
History: 1959 c 559 s 8
394.29 MAY EMPLOY DIRECTOR AND STAFF.
To carry out the purposes of sections
, the board may employ a planning
director and such staff as it deems necessary to assist the planning director in carrying out
assigned responsibilities, including but not limited to a zoning administrator, sanitary inspector
and a building official. If no planning director is appointed, the board shall designate a chief
administrative officer who shall administer the official controls. The board may employ or
contract with a planning authority or commission, any agency of the state or federal government,
a regional development commission or with planning consultants, or other specialists for such
services as it requires.
History: 1959 c 559 s 9; 1974 c 571 s 30; 1986 c 444
394.30 COUNTY BOARD'S PLANNING COMMISSION.
Subdivision 1. Appointed chair; members.
Any board of county commissioners may
by ordinance appoint a planning commission composed of not less than five nor more than 11
members appointed by the chair of the board. At least two members shall be residents of the
portion of the county outside the corporate limits of municipalities. The manner of appointment
and terms of office of the members shall be as provided in the ordinance. No more than one voting
member of the commission shall be an officer or employee of the county. No voting member of the
commission shall have received, during the two years prior to appointment, any substantial portion
of income from business operations involving the development of land within the county for urban
and urban related purposes. In the ordinance establishing the planning commission the board may
designate any county officer or employee as an ex officio member of such commission. The term
of office and removal of any member for nonperformance of duty or misconduct in office as well
as filling vacancies on the board shall be as provided in the ordinance creating the commission.
Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
Subd. 3. Pay, expenses.
The members of the commission, other than members of the board
of county commissioners, may be compensated in an amount determined by the county board. All
commission members, including county commissioners, may be paid their necessary expenses
in attending meetings of the commission and in the conduct of the business of the commission.
Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the payment of a per diem to county
commissioners pursuant to section
375.055, subdivision 1
Subd. 4. Officers; plan preparation, use permit review.
The planning commission shall
elect a chair and secretary from among its members and cooperate with the planning director
and other employees of the county in preparing and recommending to the board for adoption a
comprehensive plan and recommendations for plan execution in the form of official controls and
other measures, and amendments thereto. In all instances in which the planning commission is not
the final authority, as authorized in subdivision 5, the commission shall review all applications for
conditional use permits and plans for subdivisions of land and report thereon to the board.
Subd. 5. Additional duties.
The board may by ordinance assign additional duties and
responsibilities to the planning commission including but not restricted to the conduct of public
hearings, the authority to order the issuance of some or all categories of conditional use permits,
the authority to approve some or all categories of subdivisions of land, and the authority to
approve some or all categories of planned unit developments. The planning commission may be
required by the board to review any comprehensive plans and official controls and any plans for
public land acquisition and development sent to the county for that purpose by any local unit of
government or any state or federal agency and shall report thereon in writing to the board.
History: 1959 c 559 s 10; 1963 c 692 s 6; 1974 c 571 s 31-34; 1975 c 301 s 14; 1986 c 444
394.301 CONDITIONAL USE PERMITS.
Subdivision 1. By ordinance.
The board may by ordinance designate certain types of
developments, including planned unit developments and certain land development activities as
conditional uses under zoning regulations. Conditional uses may be approved upon a showing by
an applicant that standards and criteria stated in the ordinance will be satisfied. Such standards and
criteria shall include both general requirements for all conditional uses and, insofar as practicable,
requirements specific to each designated conditional use.
Subd. 2. Issuance, review.
Conditional use permits shall be issued by the officer
administering the official controls only upon the order of the board or the planning commission as
designated by ordinance as the approval authority for one or more categories of conditional uses.
The planning commission shall in all instances have an opportunity to review conditional uses
prior to any final decision by the designated approval authority. Public hearings shall be held in
accordance with section
. In connection with ordering the issuance of a conditional use
permit the designated approval authority may impose such additional restrictions or conditions
as it deems necessary to protect the public interest, including but not limited to matters relating
to appearance, lighting, hours of operation and performance characteristics. When appropriate,
restrictive covenants may be entered into regarding such matters.
Subd. 3. Duration.
A conditional use permit shall remain in effect for so long as the
conditions agreed upon are observed, provided that nothing in this section shall prevent the board
from enacting or amending official controls to change the status of conditional uses.
Subd. 4. Copy filed.
A certified copy of any conditional use permit shall be recorded with the
county recorder or registrar of titles. The conditional use permit shall include the legal description
of the property involved. The board by ordinance shall designate the county official or employee
responsible for meeting the requirements of the subdivision.
History: 1974 c 571 s 35; 1976 c 181 s 2; 2005 c 4 s 98
394.305 NOTICE OF RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON AGRICULTURAL LAND.
A person who applies for a permit to construct four or more residential units on a site
located on land zoned for agricultural use or on agricultural land in a county that does not have a
comprehensive land use or zoning plan shall, not later than ten business days after the application
is submitted, provide notice to each owner of agricultural real property within 5,000 feet of the
perimeter of the residential development. The notice may be delivered by first class mail, in
person, or by publication in a newspaper of general circulation within the affected area and must
include information on the number of residential units.
History: 1997 c 216 s 137
394.312 RELATION TO OTHER COUNTY AUTHORITY.
All official controls in effect on August 1, 1974, shall remain in full force and effect until
amended or repealed whether such controls were adopted by resolution of the board or by
ordinance and whether or not comprehensive plans had been adopted before the official controls
were adopted. Any official controls and any procedures for the administration of official controls
which are in existence on August 1, 1974, shall be brought into compliance with Laws 1974,
chapter 571, within four years from August 1, 1974.
History: 1974 c 571 s 36; 1977 c 197 s 1
394.32 COOPERATION WITH MUNICIPALITIES.
Subdivision 1. By contract; fees.
The governing body of any municipality may contract
with the board for planning and zoning services to be provided by the county, and the contract
may provide that the municipality shall pay such fees as are agreed for the services performed.
Subd. 2. Joint planning.
The contract between the governing body of the municipality and
the board may provide among other things for joint county-municipal planning activities, or it
may designate the board as the planning agency for the municipality.
Subd. 3. Comprehensive plan; control enforcement.
The governing body of any
municipality may request a county board to submit to such governing body a comprehensive
plan for the municipality setting forth such provisions as the board deems applicable to the
municipality and for its best interests, or to include the area within the municipality in a
countywide comprehensive plan, or to prepare official controls to apply to the area within the
municipality. Notwithstanding the adoption of the comprehensive plan and recommendations for
the municipality the plan and recommendations shall not be binding until official controls are
adopted by the municipality in accordance with the plan or until the county adopts official controls
for the areas within the incorporated limits of the municipality when requested by the governing
body of the municipality. After the county adopts official controls for areas within a municipality,
the county shall enforce the controls unless the county and municipality provided otherwise
by agreement. A municipality may at any time, by resolution of its governing body, take over
planning functions, including adoption and enforcement of official controls, with respect to areas
within its corporate limits for which a county has adopted official controls.
Subd. 4.[Repealed, 1974 c 571 s 51
History: 1959 c 559 s 12; 1974 c 571 s 37,38
394.33 COUNTY PREVAILS OVER TOWN UNLESS TOWN MORE RESTRICTIVE.
Subdivision 1. Not inconsistent.
The governing body of any town including any town with
the powers of a statutory city pursuant to law may continue to exercise the authority to plan
and zone as provided by law, but after the adoption of official controls for a county or portion
thereof by the board of county commissioners no town shall enact or enforce official controls
inconsistent with or less restrictive than the standards prescribed in the official controls adopted
by the board. Nothing in this section shall limit any town's power to adopt official controls,
including shoreland regulations which are more restrictive than provided in the controls adopted
by the county. Upon the adoption or amendment of any official controls the governing body of
the town shall record a certified copy thereof with the county recorder or registrar of titles. A
certified copy of any official controls of any town which are in effect on August 1, 1974, shall
also be filed by the governing body of the town with the county recorder or registrar of titles for
record within one year from August 1, 1974.
Subd. 2. Like municipality.
The board of supervisors of any town which has adopted or
desires to adopt zoning regulations and restrictions pursuant to law shall have the authority
granted the governing body of any municipality as provided in section
History: 1959 c 559 s 13; 1963 c 692 s 7; 1965 c 678 s 1; 1974 c 571 s 39; 1976 c 181 s 2;
1995 c 254 art 3 s 4; 2005 c 4 s 99
394.34 INTERIM ZONING.
If a county is conducting or in good faith intends to conduct studies within a reasonable
time, or has held or is holding a hearing for the purpose of considering a comprehensive plan or
official controls or an amendment, extension, or addition to either, or in the event new territory for
which no zoning may have been adopted, may be annexed to a municipality, the board in order
to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare may adopt as an emergency measure a
temporary interim zoning map or temporary interim zoning ordinance, the purpose of which
shall be to classify and regulate uses and related matters as constitutes the emergency. Such
interim resolution shall be limited to one year from the date it becomes effective and to one
year to renewal thereafter.
History: 1959 c 559 s 14
394.35 RECORDING WITH COUNTY RECORDER.
Upon the adoption of any ordinance or other official control including any maps or charts
supplemented to or as part thereof, the county auditor shall record a certified copy thereof with the
county recorder. Ordinances, resolutions, maps or regulations recorded with the county recorder
or registrar of titles pursuant to sections
do not constitute encumbrances on real
History: 1959 c 559 s 15; 1974 c 571 s 40; 1976 c 181 s 2; 2005 c 4 s 100
Subdivision 1. Continuous or it ends.
Except as provided in subdivision 2, 3, or 4, any
nonconformity, including the lawful use or occupation of land or premises existing at the time
of the adoption of an official control under this chapter, may be continued, although the use
or occupation does not conform to the official control. If the nonconformity or occupancy is
discontinued for a period of more than one year, or any nonconforming building or structure is
destroyed by fire or other peril to the extent of 50 percent of its market value, any subsequent use
or occupancy of the land or premises shall be a conforming use or occupancy.
Subd. 1a. Substandard structures.
Notwithstanding subdivision 1, Minnesota Rules, parts
, may allow for the continuation and improvement of substandard
structures, as defined in Minnesota Rules, part 6105.0354
, subpart 30, in the Lower Saint Croix
National Scenic Riverway.
Subd. 1b. Designated floodplains.
Notwithstanding subdivision 1, a county shall regulate
the repair, replacement, maintenance, improvement, or expansion of nonconforming uses and
structures in floodplain areas to the extent necessary to maintain eligibility in the national flood
insurance program and not increase flood damage potential or increase the degree of obstruction
to flood flows in the floodway.
Subd. 2. Regulations.
The board may by ordinance adopt such regulations not contrary to
law as it deems desirable or necessary to classify, regulate and control, reduce the number or
extent of and provide for the gradual elimination of nonconformities and occupancies, including
requiring nonconformities to conform with the official controls of the county or terminate within a
reasonable time as specified in the official controls. The board may by ordinance impose upon
nonconformities additional regulations relating to appearance, signs, lighting, hours of operation
and other aesthetic performance characteristics including but not limited to noise, heat, glare,
vibrations, and smoke.
Subd. 3. May buy if detrimental.
A nonconformity that is determined by the board to be
detrimental to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the comprehensive plan may be
acquired by the board by purchase.
Subd. 4. Nonconformities; certain classes of property.
This subdivision applies to
homestead and nonhomestead residential real estate and seasonal residential real estate occupied
for recreational purposes. A nonconformity, including the lawful use or occupation of land or
premises existing at the time of the adoption of an official control under this chapter, may be
continued, including through repair, replacement, restoration, maintenance, or improvement, but
not including expansion. If the nonconformity or occupancy is discontinued for a period of more
than one year, or any nonconforming building or structure is destroyed by fire or other peril to
the extent of 50 percent of its market value, and no building permit has been applied for within
180 days of when the property is damaged, any subsequent use or occupancy of the land or
premises must be a conforming use or occupancy. If a nonconforming building or structure is
destroyed by fire or other peril to the extent of 50 percent of its market value, the board may
impose reasonable conditions upon a building permit in order to mitigate any newly created
impact on adjacent property.
History: 1959 c 559 s 16; 1974 c 571 s 41-43; 2002 c 366 s 5; 2006 c 270 art 1 s 3-5
394.361 OFFICIAL MAP.
Subdivision 1. Future public uses.
Land that is needed for future street and highway
purposes, or for aviation purposes, and as sites for other necessary public facilities and services
is frequently diverted to nonpublic uses that could have been located on other lands without
hardship or inconvenience to the owners. When this happens, public uses of land may be denied
or may be obtained later only at prohibitive cost or at the expense of dislocating the owners
and occupants of the land. Identification on official maps of land needed for future public uses
permits both the public and private property owners to adjust their building plans equitably and
conveniently before investments are made that will make adjustments difficult to accomplish.
Subd. 2. Development; hearings, adoption, filing.
The planning commission may develop
and recommend for adoption by the board official maps and amendments thereto covering all or
any portion of the unincorporated area of the county. Public hearings on proposed official maps
and amendments thereto shall be held in accordance with section
. The official map may be
adopted and amended by ordinance by the board.
All official maps shall be prepared in sufficient detail to permit the establishment of future
acquisition lines on the ground. In unplatted areas a minimum of a centerline survey shall have
been made prior to the preparation of the final draft of the official map. The accuracy of the future
acquisition lines shown on the official map shall be attested to by the county surveyor. Copies of
official maps and amendments shall be filed in accordance with section
. One copy of the
official map shall be furnished to the town clerk of each affected town.
Subd. 3. Effect.
After an official map has been adopted and filed, the issuance of land use or
zoning permits or approvals by the county is subject to the provisions of this section. Whenever
any street or highway is widened or improved or any new street is opened, or interests in lands for
other public purposes, including aviation purposes, are acquired by the county, it is not required
in such proceedings to pay for any building or structure placed without a permit or approval
or in violation of conditions of a permit or approval within the limits of the mapped street or
highway or outside of any building line that may have been established upon the existing street or
within any area thus identified for public purposes, including aviation purposes. The adoption of
official maps does not give the county any right, title, or interest in areas identified for public
purposes thereon, but the adoption of a map does authorize the county to acquire these interests
without paying compensation for buildings or structures erected in those areas without a permit or
approval or in violation of the conditions of a permit or approval. This subdivision does not apply
to buildings or structures in existence prior to the filing of the official map.
Subd. 4. Board of adjustment role.
If a permit for a building in such location is denied, the
board of adjustment shall have the power, upon appeal by the owner of the land to authorize the
issuance of a permit for building in such location in any case in which the board finds, upon the
evidence and the arguments presented to it, (a) that the entire property of the appellant of which
such area identified for public purposes forms a part cannot be put to a reasonable use by the owner
unless such a permit is granted, and (b) that balancing the interest of the county in preserving the
integrity of the official map and the comprehensive plan and interest of the owner of the property
in the use of the property and in the benefits of ownership, the issuance of such permit is required
by considerations of justice and equity. Prior to reaching a decision upon the appeal, public
hearings shall be held in accordance with section
. If the board of adjustment authorizes the
issuance of a permit the board shall have six months from the date of the decision of the board
of adjustment to institute proceedings to acquire such land or interest therein, and if no such
proceedings are started within that time, the officer responsible shall issue a permit in accordance
with the conditions stated in the authorization specifying the exact location, ground area, height
and other details as to the extent and character of the building for which the permit is granted.
History: 1974 c 571 s 44; 1986 c 444; 1995 c 254 art 3 s 5; 2005 c 41 s 14,15
394.362 VARIANCES; USE PERMITS; ADVERSE EFFECT.
Subdivision 1. Variances; demonstration.
The applicant for a variance which, in the
opinion of the board of adjustment, may result in a material adverse effect on the environment
may be requested by the board to demonstrate the nature and extent of the effect.
Subd. 2. Permit; demonstration.
The applicant for a conditional use permit which, in the
opinion of the planning commission, may result in a material adverse effect on the environment
may be requested by the board to demonstrate the nature and extent of the effect.
History: 1974 c 571 s 45
Subdivision 1. Conveyance compliance.
The board shall provide for the enforcement of
and of ordinances and regulations made thereunder, and may impose
enforcement duties on any officer, department, agency, or employee of the county. In a county in
which subdivision regulations or controls are in force and have been filed or recorded as provided
, the board may by ordinance require that a copy of some or all instruments which
convey real estate be submitted by the county recorder to the administrative officer as provided
, for review after recording. The officer shall examine each such instrument
to determine whether the proposed conveyance complies with the subdivision and platting
regulations of the county. If the conveyance does not comply with regulations, the administrative
officer shall give notice by mail of the potential violation to the parties to the conveyance.
Subd. 2. Violations are misdemeanor.
It is declared unlawful for any person to violate any
of the terms and provisions of sections
or the provisions of any ordinance,
regulation, or other official control adopted by the board. Violation thereof shall be a misdemeanor.
All fines for violations shall be paid to the county and shall be credited to the general revenue fund.
Subd. 3. Other remedies by county attorney.
In the event of a violation or a threatened
violation of sections
or of any ordinance, regulation, or other official control
adopted hereunder, the board, or any member thereof, in addition to other remedies, may institute
appropriate actions or proceedings to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate such violations or
threatened violations and it is the duty of the county attorney to institute such action.
Subd. 4. Taxpayer mandamus action.
Any taxpayer of the county may institute mandamus
proceedings in district court to compel specific performance by the proper official or officials of
any duty required by sections
or by any ordinance adopted thereunder.
History: 1959 c 559 s 17; 1971 c 664 s 1; 1974 c 571 s 46; 1977 c 189 s 1