Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(A) Variances. Variances may only be granted in accordance with M.S. Chapter 462. They may not circumvent the general purposes and intent of the official controls. No variance may be granted that would allow any use that is not permitted in the zoning district in which the subject property is located. Conditions may be imposed in the granting of variances to ensure compliance and to protect adjacent properties and the public interest. In considering variance requests, boards of adjustment must also consider whether property owners have reasonable use of the lands without the variances, whether existing sewage treatment systems on the properties need upgrading before additional development is approved, whether the properties are used seasonally or year round, whether variances are being requested solely on the basis of economic considerations and the characteristics of development on adjacent properties.
(B) Conditional uses. In addition to any existing standards the city may have for reviewing conditional uses, the following standards must be incorporated into local controls and used for reviewing conditional uses located in shoreland areas:
(1) A thorough evaluation of the topographic, vegetation, and soil conditions on the site to ensure:
(a) Prevention of soil erosion or other possible pollution of public waters, both during and after construction.
(b) Limiting visibility of structures and other facilities as viewed from public waters.
(c) Adequacy of the site for water supply and on-site sewage treatment.
(2) An assessment of the types, uses, and numbers of watercraft that the project will generate in relation to the suitability of public waters to safely accommodate these watercraft.
(C) Conditions. Local governments may impose conditions when granting conditional use permits that specify: increased setbacks from public waters; vegetation allowed to be removed or required to be established; sewage treatment system location, design, or use; location, design, and use requirements for watercraft launching or docking, and for vehicular parking; structure or other facility design, use, and location; phasing of construction; and other conditions considered necessary by the local unit of government.
(D) Interim uses. Interim uses shall be permitted in compliance with the law governing same.
(E) Notification procedures.
(1) Copies of all notices of any public hearings to consider variances, amendments, or conditional uses under local shoreland management controls must be sent to the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designated representative and postmarked at least 10 days before the hearings. Notices of hearings to consider proposed plats must include copies of the plats.
(2) A copy of amendments and plats and final decisions granting variances or conditional uses under local shoreland management controls must be sent to the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designated representative and postmarked within 10 days of final action.
(F) Zoning Administrator.
(1) The City Council shall appoint a Zoning Administrator, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Council.
(2) The Zoning Administrator shall enforce the provisions of this chapter, and, in addition thereto and in furtherance thereof, shall:
(a) Accept applications for, process, and issue permits upon the fulfillment of all requirements necessary therefore, and shall make and maintain records thereof.
(b) Supervise the inspection of buildings and uses of land to determine compliance with the terms and requirements of this chapter.
(c) Maintain current and permanent records of the adoption, implementation, and enforcement of this chapter, including, but not limited to, all maps, amendments, conditional uses, variances, interim uses, and appeals relating to this chapter.
(d) Institute in the name of the city, after receiving approval of the City Council for court proceedings, any appropriate action or proceedings against any person violating the requirements of this chapter, otherwise necessary to enforce same.
(1) Purpose. Where it is found that extraordinary and unnecessary hardships may result from strict compliance with this chapter, variances may be granted, provided that such variances will not have the effect of nullifying the intent and purpose of this chapter, the City Comprehensive Plan, the official map, or other development regulations.
(2) Application for variance. An application for a variance shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator, stating and showing the exceptional conditions and/or unusual difficulties claimed, including the legal description of the parcel involved, and any surveys, maps, photographs, or other documents clearly showing the nature and extent of the variance requested, and all reasons or justifications therefore.
(3) Referral to Board of Adjustment. The application shall be referred to the Board of Adjustment and shall be set on for a hearing before that Board. At the hearing, the Board may request additional information deemed essential to make a decision on the requested variance. Within 35 days following the date of the hearing, or following the date of a continued hearing to consider additional information, the Board of Adjustment may deny, approve, or approve with conditions the variance requested.
(4) Public hearing held. Within 40 days of receipt of the application for a variance, the Board of Adjustment shall hold a public hearing upon the request, giving the applicant written notice of the time and date of the hearing, and publishing such notice not less than 10 days prior to the hearing.
(5) Factors to be considered.
(a) A variance shall be granted from the literal provisions of this chapter only in instances where their strict enforcement would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to the parcel under consideration, which circumstances shall not have been caused by the owner or applicant, and where such variance will be in keeping with the spirit and intent of this chapter. UNDUE HARDSHIP means the property in question cannot be put to a reasonable use if used under conditions allowed by this chapter, the variance will not alter the essential character of the locality, and the variance is not based solely on economic considerations.
(b) A variance may not be granted for a use which is not permitted in the district in which the parcel in question is located.
(6) Denial of application. The denial of an application for a variance shall constitute a finding and determination that the conditions required for approval do not exist. No application for a variance which has been denied wholly or in part shall be resubmitted for a period of 1 year from the date of the order of denial, except on grounds of new evidence or proof of change of conditions found to be valid by the Board of Adjustment.
(7) Violation of stated condition. A violation of any stated condition attached to a variance shall be a violation of this code, and in addition, shall constitute grounds for the termination of the variance.
(8) Time within which to exercise a variance. A variance shall become null and void 1 year after the date upon which it was granted unless the variance is fully implemented and the conditions met. The Board of Adjustment may expressly extend the time within which the use may be implemented and the conditions met at the time of the granting of the original variance if so requested and the reasons are justified.
(H) Conditional use permit.
(1) Application. Whenever this chapter requires a conditional use permit, an application therefore in writing shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator.
(2) Contents of application. The application shall be accompanied by a site plan of the proposed use showing such information as may be necessary or desirable, including but not limited to the following:
(a) Site plan drawn to scale showing parcel and building dimensions.
(b) Location of all existing and proposed buildings and their square footages, and the distance of such buildings from the boundaries of the parcel involved.
(c) The uses existing on the parcel, and on all adjoining properties.
(d) Curb cuts, driveways, access roads, parking spaces, and off-street loading areas.
(e) Existing topography.
(f) Finished grading and drainage plan.
(g) The type of business or activity and the proposed number of employees.
(h) Proposed floor plan of any building with use or uses indicated.
(i) Existing and proposed sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and water plan with estimated use per day.
(j) Soil type and soil limitations for the intended use. If severe soil limitations for the intended use are noted, a plan or statement indicating the soil conservation practice or practices to be used to overcome the limitation shall be made a part of the permit application.
(k) A location map showing the general location of the proposed use within the city.
(l) The conditions giving rise to the need for a special use permit, together with the reasons supporting the issuance thereof.
(m) The names and addresses of property owners within 300 feet of the boundary of the subject property.
(3) Referral to Commission. The application and required information shall be referred to the Planning Commission for study concerning the effect of the proposed use on the Comprehensive Plan and on the character and development of the neighborhood.
(4) Public hearing. Within 40 days after filing an application, a date shall be set for a hearing thereon by the Planning Commission. Notice of such hearing shall be mailed not less than 10 days before the date thereof to the applicant and to each property owner situated wholly or in part within 300 feet of the boundary of the property to which the special use permit relates, insofar as the names and addresses can be determined from the City Clerk/Treasurer or the County Auditor from records available to the public.
(5) Recommendation of Planning Commission. The Planning Commission shall forward its findings and recommendations to the City Council within 35 days from the date of the hearing.
(6) City Council action. The City Council shall consider the advice and recommendation of the Planning Commission and the effects of the proposed use upon the health, safety, and welfare of the city and of the occupants of the immediate neighborhood. Should the City Council find that the proposed use when conducted under the specified conditions will not be detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of the community, it may grant a special use permit, specifying the location and the use requested, together with such conditions attached thereto as are deemed appropriate.
(7) Periodic review. The City Council may require a periodic review of the permit and the conditions attached thereto to be made by the Zoning Administrator.
(8) Revocation. A violation of any condition set forth in a special use permit shall constitute a violation of this chapter, and constitute grounds for the immediate termination of the permit.
(9) Purpose for which issued. A special use permit shall be issued for a particular use of a structure and/or parcel, and shall not be deemed issued to a particular person or firm.
(10) Special use permit voided. A special use permit issued hereunder shall become void 1 year after the date upon which it was granted, unless the permit is fully implemented and the conditions attached thereto fully met; provided, that the Council may expressly extend the period of time within which a special use permit may be implemented and the conditions met at the time of issuance of the original special use permit, if requested to do so and the grounds for the request justify such an extension.
(11) Appeals. Any person adversely affected by a decision to grant or deny a special use permit may appeal the decision to the District Court within 30 days following the date of the decision; provided, that the applicant, and any interested person desiring a copy of the decision who leaves their name and address with the Zoning Administrator, for that purpose, may appeal the decision within 35 days following the date of mailing of the decision.
(I) Interim uses.
(1) The City Council may issue an interim use, under and pursuant to M.S. § 462.3597.
(2) The procedure for issuing an interim use permit shall be the same as that for issuing a conditional use permit, under division (C) above.
(3) An interim use permit may be granted only if:
(a) The use is a permitted use or a conditional use in the district in which the property is located; provided, that a proposed use may be granted such a permit where the use is not incompatible with the permitted and conditioned uses allowed in the district, as determined by the Council, and the use otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter;
(b) The use will terminate on a date certain, or the use will terminate on the occurrence of an event which can be identified with certainty;
(c) Permitting the use will not impose additional costs on the public if it is necessary for the public to take the property upon which the use is conducted in the future;
(d) The use does not run with the land, and may not be transferred, assigned nor conveyed, unless expressly permitted in the interim use permit;
(e) The applicant and/or owner of the parcel agrees to all terms and conditions set forth in the interim use, verifying that consent by signing the interim use permit;
(f) The interim use permit is recordable in the office of the County Recorder of the county; and
(g) The City Council may require such security as is deemed appropriate to assure the termination of the interim use on the date, or upon the occurrence of the event which terminates the use.
(4) An interim use may be terminated:
(a) In the event of a violation of any of the conditions stated in the permit; or
(b) By an amendment of the zoning regulations, which renders the interim use incompatible with the provisions of the amendment.
(J) Amendment of chapter.
(1) Authority. The provisions of this chapter may be amended by the City Council.
(2) Initiation for amendment. The City Council or the Planning Commission may, upon their own motion, initiate an amendment to the text of this chapter or the official map of the city; or any person owning real estate may petition the Council to amend the text of this chapter or amend the official map of the city in such a manner as to affect his or her real estate or a larger parcel which includes his or her real estate.
(3) Application for amendment. All petitions or requests for amendments shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator. When the application involves the changing of zoning districts and boundaries thereof, it shall be accompanied by a map or plat showing the lands proposed to be changed, type of soil, and all lands and uses made thereof within 400 feet of the boundaries of the property proposed to be rezoned, together with a certified list of the names and addresses of the owners of the land in the entire area mentioned.
(4) Referral to the Planning Commission. All petitions or requests for amendments shall be referred to the Planning Commission which shall hold an official public hearing within 60 days of the date of filing such petition.
(5) Notice. The Zoning Administrator shall cause to be published a notice of public hearing in the official newspaper of the city at least 10 days but not more than 30 days prior to the date of the hearing.
(6) Action by the Planning Commission.
(a) If the request is for a district change of a single parcel, notices of the time, place, date, and purpose of the hearing shall be mailed to all owners of property within 300 feet of the affected parcel not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days prior to the date of the hearing. Failure of a property owner to receive notice shall not invalidate any such proceeding on the application.
(b) If, at the hearing, the Planning Commission determines that additional information or documentation is required, the applicant shall be so notified to obtain such information or documentation; the hearing shall be continued to a date certain to permit the applicant to comply.
(c) Upon receipt of all required information, and completion of the hearing process, the Planning Commission shall make its recommendation to the City Council within 35 days thereafter, unless the applicant consents to an extension of this period of time.
(7) Action by the City Council.
(a) If the City Council determines that it has insufficient information to act on the application, the Council may remand the matter to the Planning Commission, for further hearing.
(b) If the City Council determines that all relevant information has been obtained by the Planning Commission, the City Council shall act upon the recommendation of the Planning Commission, either approving or denying the application, within 35 days of the receipt of the recommendations of the Planning Commission.
(c) If the Planning Commission approves the application, the findings and order of the Council shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator and same shall be incorporated into the official copy of the ordinances of the city and duly published and recorded, and thereafter implemented by the Zoning Administrator.
(8) Amendments do not modify the boundaries of a district.
(a) Amendments to the text of this chapter may be initiated by the City Council, the Planning Commission, or an interested property owner, by submitting an application, in writing, to the Zoning Administrator setting forth the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment shall be submitted to and set on for a hearing before the Planning Commission. Notice of the proposed amendment, or a summary thereof, and the time, place, and date of a hearing before the Planning Commission shall be published not less than 10 days prior to the hearing by the Planning Commission. If additional information or documentation is required, the Planning Commission may continue the hearing to a date certain to gather or receive such information or documentation.
(b) Following completion of the hearing process, the Planning Commission shall recommend its findings and determination to the City Council. Upon the recommendations and determinations of the Planning Commission, the Council may approve or deny the proposed amendment. In the event the Council modifies the proposed amendment, the Council may not adopt the modified amendment until 15 days following the meeting of the Planning Commission in which the Planning Commission has had an opportunity to review the modified amendment.
(Ord. 2011-06-07A, passed 6-7-2011)