Recent Zoning Ordinance Amendments

On Jan. 19, 2022, the City Council approved several amendments to the City’s Zoning Ordinance. The following provides a summary of the amendments:

  • Clarification of how required setbacks are measured in the Greater Southdale District.   In the summer of 2020, the City Council amended the setback requirement for buildings on France and York avenues to 50 feet from the curb. On all other streets, the setback is to be 30 feet from the curb. The intent of the change was to encourage green space, landscaping, and safe pedestrian movement in front of buildings, instead of parking lots of drive aisles that the previous regulations created in the district. 
    • Due to an oversight, when the amendment was adopted, the “definitions” section of the ordinance was not updated to match in 2020. Therefore, the definitions section of the ordinance was amended to clarify how setbacks are measured in the Greater Southdale District. The setback requirement was not changed with this amendment.
  •  An Impervious surface requirement is established.  “Impervious surface” is defined as a “constructed hard surface that either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil and causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities and at an increase rate of flown than prior to placement.” Impervious surfaces on single-dwelling unit lots may not exceed 50% of the lot. 
    • In establishing the impervious surface requirement, “building coverage” was clarified to eliminate patios and recreation facilities like tennis courts. Now, patios, tennis courts and similar amenities will be regulated under the rules for impervious surface.
  •  The requirement to install a basement with any new single-family home was eliminated.
  •  The “One-Foot Rule” was revised. For several years, the City Code has required the first-floor elevation of a new home not exceed the first-floor elevation of the previous home on the site by more than one foot. Because that conflicts with the City’s requirement for the low-floor elevation of new homes to be two feet above a flood elevation, the “One-Foot Rule” does not apply if there is a floodplain or high-water elevation issue if the low floor elevation is no higher than 2.5 feet above the high-water elevation and the basement ceiling height is no taller than 9 feet.