Subdivision 1. Authority for zoning. For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety,
morals, and general welfare, a municipality may by ordinance regulate on the earth's surface, in
the air space above the surface, and in subsurface areas, the location, height, width, bulk, type
of foundation, number of stories, size of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot
which may be occupied, the size of yards and other open spaces, the density and distribution
of population, the uses of buildings and structures for trade, industry, residence, recreation,
public activities, or other purposes, and the uses of land for trade, industry, residence, recreation,
agriculture, forestry, soil conservation, water supply conservation, conservation of shorelands,
as defined in sections 103F.201 to 103F.221, access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems
as defined in section 216C.06, flood control or other purposes, and may establish standards and
procedures regulating such uses. To accomplish these purposes, official controls may include
provision for purchase of development rights by the governing body in the form of conservation
easements under chapter 84C in areas where the governing body considers preservation desirable
and the transfer of development rights from those areas to areas the governing body considers
more appropriate for development. No regulation may prohibit earth sheltered construction as
defined in section 216C.06, subdivision 14, relocated residential buildings, or manufactured
homes built in conformance with sections 327.31 to 327.35 that comply with all other zoning
ordinances promulgated pursuant to this section. The regulations may divide the surface, above
surface, and subsurface areas of the municipality into districts or zones of suitable numbers,
shape, and area. The regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of buildings, structures, or
land and for each class or kind of use throughout such district, but the regulations in one district
may differ from those in other districts. The ordinance embodying these regulations shall be
known as the zoning ordinance and shall consist of text and maps. A city may by ordinance extend
the application of its zoning regulations to unincorporated territory located within two miles of
its limits in any direction, but not in a county or town which has adopted zoning regulations;
provided that where two or more noncontiguous municipalities have boundaries less than four
miles apart, each is authorized to control the zoning of land on its side of a line equidistant
between the two noncontiguous municipalities unless a town or county in the affected area has
adopted zoning regulations. Any city may thereafter enforce such regulations in the area to the
same extent as if such property were situated within its corporate limits, until the county or town
board adopts a comprehensive zoning regulation which includes the area.
    Subd. 1a. Certain zoning ordinances. A municipality 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. 1b. Conditional uses. A manufactured home park, as defined in section 327.14,
subdivision 3 , 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. 1c. Amortization prohibited. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, a
municipality 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 ordinance.
    Subd. 1d. Nuisance. Subdivision 1c does not prohibit a municipality from enforcing an
ordinance providing for the prevention or abatement of nuisances, as defined in section 561.01, or
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.
    Subd. 1e. Nonconformities. (a) Any nonconformity, including the lawful use or occupation
of land or premises existing at the time of the adoption of an additional control under this
chapter, may be continued, including through repair, replacement, restoration, maintenance, or
improvement, but not including expansion, unless:
(1) the nonconformity or occupancy is discontinued for a period of more than one year; or
(2) any nonconforming use is destroyed by fire or other peril to the extent of greater than 50
percent of its market value, and no building permit has been applied for within 180 days of when
the property is damaged. In this case, a municipality may impose reasonable conditions upon a
building permit in order to mitigate any newly created impact on adjacent property.
(b) Any subsequent use or occupancy of the land or premises shall be a conforming
use or occupancy. A municipality may, by ordinance, permit an expansion or impose upon
nonconformities reasonable regulations to prevent and abate nuisances and to protect the public
health, welfare, or safety. This subdivision does not prohibit a municipality from enforcing an
ordinance that applies to adults-only bookstores, adults-only theaters, or similar adults-only
businesses, as defined by ordinance.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a municipality 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
    Subd. 1f. Substandard structures. Notwithstanding subdivision 1e, Minnesota Rules,
parts 6105.0351 to 6105.0550, 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. 1g. Feedlot zoning controls. (a) A municipality proposing to adopt a new feedlot
zoning control or to amend an existing feedlot zoning control must notify the Pollution Control
Agency and commissioner of agriculture at the beginning of the process, no later than the date
notice is given of the first hearing proposing to adopt or amend a zoning control purporting
to address feedlots.
(b) Prior to final approval of a feedlot zoning control, the governing body of a municipality
may submit a copy of the proposed zoning control 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 municipality may include:
(1) any recommendations for improvements in the ordinance; and
(2) the legal, social, economic, or scientific justification for each recommendation under
clause (1).
(d) At the request of the municipality's governing body, the municipality 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
municipality, 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 municipality. 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 municipality may grant a variance from this
requirement under section 462.358, subdivision 6.
    Subd. 2. General requirements. (a) At any time after the adoption of a land use plan for
the municipality, the planning agency, for the purpose of carrying out the policies and goals of
the land use plan, may prepare a proposed zoning ordinance and submit it to the governing
body with its recommendations for adoption.
(b) Subject to the requirements of subdivisions 3, 4, and 5, the governing body may adopt
and amend a zoning ordinance by a majority vote of all its members. The adoption or amendment
of any portion of a zoning ordinance which changes all or part of the existing classification of a
zoning district from residential to either commercial or industrial requires a two-thirds majority
vote of all members of the governing body.
(c) The land use 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 land use plan.
    Subd. 3. Public hearings. No zoning ordinance or amendment thereto shall be adopted until
a public hearing has been held thereon by the planning agency or by the governing body. A notice
of the time, place and purpose of the hearing shall be published in the official newspaper of the
municipality at least ten days prior to the day of the hearing. When an amendment involves
changes in district boundaries affecting an area of five acres or less, a similar notice shall be
mailed at least ten days before the day of the hearing to each owner of affected property and
property situated wholly or partly within 350 feet of the property to which the amendment relates.
For the purpose of giving mailed notice, the person responsible for mailing the notice may use
any appropriate records to determine the names and addresses of owners. A copy of the notice
and a list of the owners and addresses to which the notice was sent shall be attested to by the
responsible person and shall be made a part of the records of the proceedings. The failure to give
mailed notice to individual property owners, or defects in the notice shall not invalidate the
proceedings, provided a bona fide attempt to comply with this subdivision has been made.
    Subd. 4. Amendments. An amendment to a zoning ordinance may be initiated by the
governing body, the planning agency, or by petition of affected property owners as defined in
the zoning ordinance. An amendment not initiated by the planning agency shall be referred
to the planning agency, if there is one, for study and report and may not be acted upon by the
governing body until it has received the recommendation of the planning agency on the proposed
amendment or until 60 days have elapsed from the date of reference of the amendment without a
report by the planning agency.
    Subd. 5. Amendment; certain cities of the first class. The provisions of this subdivision
apply to the adoption or amendment of any portion of a zoning ordinance which changes all or
part of the existing classification of a zoning district from residential to either commercial or
industrial of a property located in a city of the first class, except a city of the first class in which a
different process is provided through the operation of the city's home rule charter. In a city to
which this subdivision applies, amendments to a zoning ordinance shall be made in conformance
with this section but only after there shall have been filed in the office of the city clerk a written
consent of the owners of two-thirds of the several descriptions of real estate situate within 100
feet of the total contiguous descriptions of real estate held by the same owner or any party
purchasing any such contiguous property within one year preceding the request, and after the
affirmative vote in favor thereof by a majority of the members of the governing body of any such
city. The governing body of such city may, by a two-thirds vote of its members, after hearing,
adopt a new zoning ordinance without such written consent whenever the planning commission
or planning board of such city shall have made a survey of the whole area of the city or of an
area of not less than 40 acres, within which the new ordinance or the amendments or alterations
of the existing ordinance would take effect when adopted, and shall have considered whether
the number of descriptions of real estate affected by such changes and alterations renders the
obtaining of such written consent impractical, and such planning commission or planning board
shall report in writing as to whether in its opinion the proposals of the governing body in any case
are reasonably related to the overall needs of the community, to existing land use, or to a plan for
future land use, and shall have conducted a public hearing on such proposed ordinance, changes
or alterations, of which hearing published notice shall have been given in a daily newspaper of
general circulation at least once each week for three successive weeks prior to such hearing,
which notice shall state the time, place and purpose of such hearing, and shall have reported to the
governing body of the city its findings and recommendations in writing.
    Subd. 6. Appeals and adjustments. Appeals to the board of appeals and adjustments may
be taken by any affected person upon compliance with any reasonable conditions imposed by
the zoning ordinance. The board of appeals and adjustments has the following powers with
respect to the zoning ordinance:
(1) To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order,
requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative officer in the enforcement of
the zoning ordinance.
(2) To hear requests for variances from the literal provisions of the ordinance in instances
where their strict enforcement would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique
to the individual property under consideration, and to grant such variances only when it is
demonstrated that such actions will be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the ordinance.
"Undue 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 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 an undue hardship if reasonable use for the
property exists under the terms of the ordinance. Undue hardship also includes, but is not limited
to, inadequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. Variances shall be granted for
earth sheltered construction as defined in section 216C.06, subdivision 14, when in harmony with
the ordinance. The board of appeals and adjustments or the governing body as the case may be,
may not permit as a variance any use that is not permitted under the ordinance for property in
the zone where the affected person's land is located. The board or governing body as the case
may be, may permit as a variance the temporary use of a one family dwelling as a two family
dwelling. The board or governing body as the case may be may impose conditions in the granting
of variances to insure compliance and to protect adjacent properties.
    Subd. 6a. Normal residential surroundings for persons with disabilities. It is the policy of
this state that persons with disabilities should not be excluded by municipal zoning ordinances or
other land use regulations from the benefits of normal residential surroundings. For purposes of
subdivisions 6a through 9, "person" has the meaning given in section 245A.02, subdivision 11.
    Subd. 7. Permitted single family use. A state licensed residential facility or a housing with
services establishment registered under chapter 144D serving six or fewer persons, a licensed
day care facility serving 12 or fewer persons, and a group family day care facility licensed under
Minnesota Rules, parts 9502.0315 to 9502.0445 to serve 14 or fewer children shall be considered
a permitted single family residential use of property for the purposes of zoning, except that a
residential facility whose primary purpose is to treat juveniles who have violated criminal statutes
relating to sex offenses or have been adjudicated delinquent on the basis of conduct in violation of
criminal statutes relating to sex offenses shall not be considered a permitted use.
    Subd. 8. Permitted multifamily use. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 7 or in any
town, municipal or county zoning regulation as authorized by this subdivision, a state licensed
residential facility serving from 7 through 16 persons or a licensed day care facility serving from
13 through 16 persons shall be considered a permitted multifamily residential use of property for
purposes of zoning. A township, municipal or county zoning authority may require a conditional
use or special use permit in order to assure proper maintenance and operation of a facility,
provided that no conditions shall be imposed on the facility which are more restrictive than those
imposed on other conditional uses or special uses of residential property in the same zones, unless
the additional conditions are necessary to protect the health and safety of the residents of the
residential facility. Nothing herein shall be construed to exclude or prohibit residential or day care
facilities from single family zones if otherwise permitted by a local zoning regulation.
History: 1965 c 670 s 7; 1969 c 259 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1973 c 379 s 4; 1973 c 539 s
1; 1973 c 559 s 1,2; 1975 c 60 s 2; 1978 c 786 s 14,15; Ex1979 c 2 s 42,43; 1981 c 356 s 248;
1982 c 490 s 2; 1982 c 507 s 22; 1984 c 617 s 6-8; 1985 c 62 s 3; 1985 c 194 s 23; 1986 c 444;
1987 c 333 s 22; 1989 c 82 s 2; 1990 c 391 art 8 s 47; 1990 c 568 art 2 s 66,67; 1994 c 473 s 3;
1995 c 224 s 95; 1997 c 113 s 20; 1997 c 200 art 4 s 5; 1997 c 202 art 4 s 11; 1997 c 216 s 138;
1999 c 96 s 3,4; 1999 c 211 s 1; 2001 c 174 s 1; 2001 c 207 s 13,14; 2002 c 366 s 6; 2004 c 258 s
2; 2005 c 56 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 1 s 92; art 2 s 146; 2007 c 140 art 12 s 14