Zoning Code Update
Over the past 2 years, the City of Maplewood has been working to update City Code Articles I, II, and III of Chapter 44 – Zoning Code in order to provide clarification, make the code easier to use and implement, and reflect current development trends. The sections being updated reflect areas that the City Council and staff identified as needing further attention and revisions in order to be effective for contemporary standards.
The Zoning Code is the set of rules that describes how individual properties within the City can be used. The Zoning Code is structured by dividing the City into districts and then identifying what can occur in each district. The Zoning Code also includes standards that apply to all districts, such as parking, landscaping, screening, signage, etc. The Zoning Map, which shows where the City’s zoning districts are located, can be viewed here.
Below is a summary of the updates made to each article. Links are provided within each overview to see full drafts of the proposed amendments.
Select sections of Article I are proposed to be revised.
- Definitions - changes proposed are related to modernizing and clarifying definitions of uses.
- Nonconformities – these are lots, buildings, or uses of land or of a building, existing at the effective date of any section of the code, which do not conform to the requirements of the section. The update reorganized the regulations by type: use, building/structures, and lots.
- Off-street parking - The minimum parking requirements were updated to reflect revised use terminology, simplify calculations, and to address changing needs. The amendment also clarifies how shared parking facilities are allowed and added parking space dimensions for parallel parking as was already identified in the mixed-use district.
- A major change was the consolidation of all of the uses into tables.
- Purpose and intent statements were added where they were missing.
- No major changes were made to the OSP, F, R-1, R-1(R), RE, R-1S, or R-2 districts.
- The R-3 District was reorganized. A definition for green space was also added to the definitions in Article II to further clarify requirements in this area. The definition added was “green space means the area(s) of the site which is not covered by paved surfaces, the principal structure, any accessory structures, and other structures like decks, pools, pergolas, etc. Green space can include landscaping, planting beds, fencing, retaining walls, and similar improvements.”
- No major changes were made to the business, manufacturing, or N-E districts.
- The M-U district was specifically reviewed. Diagrams were added for clarification. The design standards were reorganized for clarity.
- The use-specific standards were consolidated into Division 19. New standards were added for accessory dwelling units and sacred communities in the accessory uses section.
- One of the primary reasons for updating the sign code is to adjust the ordinance language to be in conformance with the 2015 Reed v. Town of Gilbert U.S. Supreme Court decision which limits the ability of a city to regulate signs based on the content of the sign.
- The code is now intended to ensure that sign ordinances conform to reasonably regulate when and how long a sign can be displayed, where the signs can be located, and how the signs can be constructed or designed; so long as these regulations do not conflict with content regulation.
The Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed changes to these Articles of the City Zoning Code after a Public Hearing at their October 17, 2023 meeting. The City Council will consider the proposal at their December 11, 2023 meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held in City Council Chambers at Maplewood City Hall, Council Chambers at 1830 County Rd B E, Maplewood, MN 55109.
Contact Michael Martin, Assistance Community Development Director, at (651) 249-2303 or Michael.Martin@MaplewoodMN.gov with questions or concerns.