Overview of Zoning
Zoning is a system of land use regulation based on a written ordinance and mapped zoning districts. The uses permitted on a parcel of land depend on its zoning district classification. The zoning map identifies the zoning classification of the property, and the text explains the uses permitted and other related regulations. The text portion of Saint Paul’s zoning code is found in Title VIII (Chapters 60-69) of the City’s Legislative Code. Zoning maps are available as a set of 24 panels in PDF format that covers the entire city. The PDF panels are normally updated on an annual basis, with additional updates after larger-scale zoning studies are approved.
The City also has a property information look up feature to find the zoning classification and other information for a property if you have its street address.
Administration of zoning regulations is split between the departments of Safety and Inspections and Planning and Economic Development. There is a filing fee associated with each zoning application and appeal. The Board of Zoning Appeals and Zoning Committee agendas and minutes may be received automatically when updated through the City's e-subscription service.
Zoning Frequently Asked Questions
Role of the Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI)
A good deal of general zoning information, including descriptions of various types of zoning applications, application forms, and schedules can be found on the DSI zoning website.
The Zoning Administrator’s Office is located in DSI and is responsible for:
- Providing general zoning information to the public (call 651-266-9008)
- Daily administration of the zoning code
- Staffing the Board of Zoning Appeals and handling zoning variance applications
- Issuing sign permits, and
- Site plan review, as well as other functions
Role of the Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED)
PED zoning responsibilities include staffing the Planning Commission for reviewing:
- Conditional Use Permit applications
- Increase parking maximum checklist
- Nonconforming Use Permit applications (Which are either Establishments, Re-establishments, Expansion or Relocation, or Changes),
- Determinations of Similar Use when referred by the Zoning Administrator
- Variance applications, when they are related to another Planning Commission action (e.g., a CUP, NCUP, Rezoning, etc.)
- Amendments to the Zoning Code, including
- Rezoning requests by individual property owners
- City- or area-wide zoning studies
- Zoning text amendments
Public hearings on these applications are held before the Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission. The full Commission takes action on each application the following week. PED zoning staff also coordinates the City’s review of subdivisions, including plats and lot splits. Plats require a public hearing before the City Council; lot splits are approved administratively.
Decisions of the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council. Appeals must be filed within 10 days of the Planning Commission's decision on the Zoning Appeal form and need to state the errors of fact, procedure, or finding on which the appeal is based. When filing an appeal, you must also pay a filing fee.