Does the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District Spell the End of Unjustifiable Concessions by Land-use Regulators? During the last several years, the United States Supreme Court has issued a flurry of important decisions, several of which involve revolutionary shifts in the relationships between people (Defense of Marriage
Land Use & Zoning in Minnesota
Every city in the United States has the authority to divide up land into zones. The authority to do so comes from the local ordinances of each city.
Zoning is the division of an area into separate districts, designating specific districts for specific uses. Municipalities are allowed to zone their land in order to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community. Zones determine what kind of building or business can reside in a particular zone. The most common zoning difference is between zones for family housing and zones for commercial businesses. In general, a commercial business cannot be located in a zoning district established for family homes.
In addition to zoning, a city has several local ordinances. These ordinances explain the rules for building on a certain lot of land, including how high a structure can be, how close to the road, how far from other structures it must be, and other such specifications.
Zoning and ordinances are intended to serve the public and to carry out the best interests of the community. There are, however, issues that surround zoning and local ordinances. The following is a list of topics that oftentimes come to the surface when discussing zoning:
- Appealing and Changing Local Ordinances
- Building Permits
- Conditional Use Permits
- Condemnation of Private Land (Eminent Domain)
- Contractor Licensing
- Platting and Subdivisions
- Private Land Use Agreements
- Property Line Disputes and Unwritten Property Rights
- Rezoning Requests
- Utility Easements and Road Easements
It is important for individuals, as well as real estate developers and construction companies, to have an understanding of local zoning and land use regulations. The following summaries provided address each one of these topics separately and discuss what some of the issues are in Minnesota, what laws relate to these topics in Minnesota, and what the courts in Minnesota are saying about them.
Appealing and Changing Local Ordinances
Once zoning ordinances are established by the local legislature, it is possible to appeal the zoning decision and to subsequently try to change the local zoning ordinance. Minnesota Statute § 462.357 subdivisions 3 through 6 addresses these processes. Local property owners that are affected by a zoning ordinance may raise an appeal. Changing a local ordinance
Minnesota Construction & Building Permit Laws
One of the first steps to any successful construction project is to obtain the necessary building permits. Building permits are regulated locally and will vary depending on the town or city your project is located in. Generally, you will need a building permit for any new construction, reconstruction, or structural change to an existing building
Conditional Use Permits in Minnesota
In a municipality the governing body may choose to issue a conditional use permit for certain types of developments. Minn. Stat. § 462.3595. Getting such a permit allows for a use to be specifically allowed in a zoning district as long as certain standards are met. A conditional use permit leads to land development in
Eminent Domain & Condemnation of Private Land in Minnesota
Eminent Domain & The United States Consitution Under the United States Constitution and Minnesota's Constitution, the government has the authority to take private property, which is called eminent domain. What this means is that the government, at any time, has a right to anyone's property if it is determined that the government is going to
Required Contractor Licenses in Minnesota
Licenses Required for Minnesota Contractors There are a number of licenses required for different activities under Minnesota Law. The best way to determine what licenses are needed for any given project is to visit the Minnesota License website at http://mn.gov/elicense/. On that website, click on "A-Z Indexes" or "Browse by Topics." If the information there
Platting and Subdivision in Minnesota
Subdivision platting is the process of splitting one larger piece of land into several smaller pieces of land. Generally, this plat, or map, is drawn for the purpose of selling off the smaller pieces of land. These pieces of land are frequently built upon before being sold, often by the same home builder – which
Minnesota Land Use Agreements: Covenants, Easements, and Licenses
Government agencies restrict land use through zoning requirements and other ordinances. But private entities, such as real estate developers, have their own set of tools to control what happens on their land. Covenants, easements, and licenses are three forms of agreements between private parties that dictate how the land can be used. Each can take
Property Line Disputes and Unwritten Property Rights in Minnesota
Surveying land and closely examining deeds prior to purchase avoids most issues regarding property lines. Yet various legal doctrines can stand in the way of even the most careful purchase, leaving the buyer with less than what they bargained for. Prescriptive easements, adverse possession, and easements implied by preexisting use can all establish property rights,
Understanding Rezoning Requests in Minnesota
Minnesota Rezoning Requests Zoning is a device of land use planning used by local governments throughout the United States. The concept involves designating permitted uses of land based on mapped zones which separate one area of land uses from another. The purpose of these zones is to divide different uses of land that might be
Utility Easements and Road Easements in Minnesota
Generally speaking, an easement is a real property interest that gives one party the right to go onto another party's property. The easement is a real property interest, but separate from the legal title of the owner of the underlying land. While easements can take many different forms, this section will explain two different types:
Understanding Minnesota Variances & Variance Laws
Local ordinances establish standards for land development which regulate things such as where buildings, yards, parking lots, driveways, signs, and lighting may be placed on properties, minimum and maximum sizes, height, potential effects on adjacent properties, and aesthetics. When there are strict requirements, property owners may seek relief by following the variance process. Minn. Stat.