Minneapolis, MN, Code of Ordinances

Updated November 2021

By: City of Minneapolis

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Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city’s zoning code permits internal, attached, and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by right in all districts that permit single- or two-family dwellings, subject to use-specific standards (§537.110). These standards address units per lot, subdivision, balconies and decks, owner occupancy, unit size, entrances, stairways, exterior appearance, setbacks, and administrative review.

active transportation

The city’s zoning code has extensive bicycle parking minimums by use (§541.320). The city’s zoning code establishes pedestrian-oriented overlay districts, with allowances for future additions, in order to promote pedestrian use by reducing high-impact and automobile uses (§551.60 et seq.). The code also sets site standards, such as setbacks.

Affordable Housing Programs

The city’s codified ordinances outline a broad affordable housing program. Chapter 244, Article XVIII requires that the department of community planning and economic development be notified of the sale of an affordable housing building and that tenants receive relocation assistance. Chapter 535, Article XIV describes the city’s inclusionary housing policy and Chapter 546 lists the city’s residence districts, which all permit multi-family dwellings, but at different densities. Chapter 551, Article X discusses the B4H Downtown Housing Overlay District, which seeks to preserve affordability in the city’s downtown area.

Built Environment and Health

The city’s zoning code includes several regulations for farmers’ markets. §535.360(5) approves farmers’ markets as a temporary use and §536.20 sets specific development standards. Farmers’ markets are an approved principal use in office residence districts, downtown districts, commercial districts, and industrial districts, and they have set bicycle and off-street parking requirements.

Food trucks

The city’s food code provides detailed regulatory instruction for both limited mobile food vehicle vending (§188.480) and mobile food vehicle vendors (§188.485). The code informs location, sanitation, noise, and other operating criteria. Vendors may operate on public or private land, and are required to submit an application and plan for licensing. 

Green Building

The city’s code of ordinances includes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and meeting Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines as site amenities for a planned unit development (PUD) seeking zoning alternatives. It requires the project to meet LEED Silver certification standards and a LEED checklist certified by an accredited professional (AP) to receive 10 points towards satisfying a zoning alternative (§527.120). 

Group Housing

The city's zoning code defines "community residential facility" as those where one or more persons lives under the care and supervision of a Minnesota Department of Human Services-licensed program; the definition of family notes that it shall not be applied to prevent reasonable accommodation for handicapped persons housing under FHAA (§520.160).

Community residential facilities serving 6 or fewer persons are permitted by right in all residential districts and commercial; those serving 7 to 16 persons are allowed with conditional use approval in all multifamily residential, commercial, and downtown districts; and those serving 17 to 32 persons are allowed with conditional use approval in most multifamily, commercial, and downtown districts  (§546.30, Table 546-1; §548.30, Table 548-1; §549.30, Table 549-1). Specific development standards for community residential facilities include a spacing requirement of one-quarter mile and neighborhood compatibility requirements (§536.20).

The maximum parking requirement for this use is 1 space per bed (§541.310, Table 541-1).

Residential Infill Development

The city’s zoning code includes design standards for small-scale residential infill to protect the character of established neighborhoods (§530.280). These standards require project applicants to earn a minimum number of points to qualify for approval. The criteria relate to exterior building materials, height, tree diameter, percentage of windows on building exposure(s), code-compliant basements, compliance with Minneapolis Stormwater Quality standards, and inclusion of a porch. Structures meeting accessibility guidelines have “in lieu of” alternative points criteria based on the modifications they provide.

Rethinking Off-Street Parking Requirements

The city’s zoning code includes multiple types of policy-driven off-street parking requirements. It establishes parking maximums for most uses citywide (§541.310). And it regulates the location of parking spaces (§541.600).

Shared Mobility

The city’s business and licensing code contains regulations for transportation network company (TNC) service providers (§13.343). It presents license requirements and application processes, insurance requirements, inspection requirements, operating regulations, and records and reports requirements for the service operator.

Social Equity

The city’s codified ordinances commit all city departments to using a racial equity framework in their strategic and budgetary planning. §21.15 of the administrative code establishes the division of race and equity at the city coordinator’s office as the central contact for this effort.

Solar Energy

Article XII of the city's code of ordinances discusses regulations pertaining to solar energy systems. The purpose of the article is to provide for appropriate locations for solar energy systems, to ensure compatibility with surrounding uses, and to promote safe and effective use of solar energy to increase opportunities for generation of renewable energy (§535.820). The article defines building-integrated solar energy systems, building-mounted solar energy systems, freestanding solar energy systems, solar collector surface, solar energy, and solar energy system (§535.830). Solar energy systems are permitted in all zoning districts subject to height, setback, percentage of lot area. Screening is not required (§535.840). Conditional use permits and variances can be granted under certain circumstances for increasing height limitations or reducing setbacks (§535.860). The article discusses submittal requirements and the review procedure for a solar energy system application (§535.850), as well as the filing of solar access easements and purchasing of solar easements that would protect solar access (§535.870).

Solar access is discussed in residential development design - all lots in subdivisions of 40 acres or more shall be platted in an orientation to maximize solar exposure (§598.240.3).

The PUD standards found in Article II allow the city planning commission to approve alternatives to the zoning regulations when the PUD includes site amenities. The amenities and their standards include gardens because they allow solar access, on-site renewable energy, and reflective roofs (§527.120).

Urban Agriculture

The city's zoning code addresses urban agriculture. It defines "market garden" (§520.160) and provides specific development standards for this use. Standards address mechanized equipment, accessory retail sales, vehicle parking, shipments or deliveries, and lighting in residential and office districts, and limit market gardens to rooftops or indoor operations unless accessory to a principal use in C3A and downtown districts. Animal keeping is prohibited.

In residential districts, community gardens and market gardens of 10,000 SF or less are permitted in all districts; market gardens of more than 10,000 SF are conditional uses (Table 546-1). In office-residential districts, community gardens and market gardens of 10,000 SF or less are permitted in all districts; market gardens of more than 10,000 SF are conditional uses in one and permitted by right in two of these districts (Table 547-1). Both community gardens and market gardens are permitted by right in commercial districts (Table 548-1) and downtown districts (Table 549-1). Urban farms and community gardens are permitted by right in most industrial districts (Table 550-1). The specific development standards described above apply.

A number of accessory structures and uses are allowed as relating to a community garden, market garden, or urban farm, subject to standards, including aquaponics/aquaculture/hydroponics, farmstands, and hoop houses (§537.110). Community and market gardens are not permitted as accessory uses to residential uses in residential or OR1 districts.

Urban Livestock

The city code's Animals and Fowl title addresses the keeping of fowl (§63.90). Keeping fowl within the city requires an annual permit and neighbor notification. Three tiers of permits are established: Tier I (1–6 hens), Tier II (7–15 hens), and Tier III (16–30 hens). Standards of care address coop restrictions, locations, setbacks, and screening, as well as waste disposal and nuisance abatement. Commercial fowl keeping requires permits and is limited to 30 birds. Roosters are prohibited without a special permit.

The city code also addresses the keeping of honeybees (§63.100). Keeping bees within the city requires an annual permit and neighbor notification. Standards of care address hive structure, water source, sanitation and maintenance, fencing, flyway barriers, and colony densities.

With the exception of horses in a stable, hoofed animals are not permitted within the city (§63.120).

The city website summarizes city regulations for backyard chickens and beekeeping.  

Minneapolis, MN

2010 Population: 382,578

2010 Population Density: 7,088.32/square mile