Zoning is one of the first doors to open to make your project work, whether it's a residential project or opening or expanding a business, from new construction to simple remodels. Zoning approval is required for:

  • building permits
  • licenses
  • change in building use
  • change in occupancy type
  • signage

The City's design standards are laid out in Chapter 63 of the Saint Paul Zoning Code. City staff review plans for all new buildings and additions to ensure these standards are met. Visit the Design Standards for Single-Family Houses and Duplexes Webpage for requirements specific to those uses.

For certain business license reviews, the Zoning Summary Sheet must be completed and submitted along with the license application.

Once you have applied for a zoning permit, decisions are typically made within 60 days, though extensions are permitted. Submitting completed documents and meeting the requirements facilitate timely review of your application. Applications may require scaled drawings and a site plan.

Customers need to go through the City's Site Plan Review (SPR) approval process for these projects:

  • new multifamily residences with three of more units and additions
  • new commercial buildings and additions
  • parking lot reconstructions that involve more than a partial mill or overlay

Site plan review is a coordinated review by city staff to analyze for zoning, traffic, public utilities, storm water management, landscaping, and fire safety. Review and approval are required before permits may be issued for new construction, additions, parking lots, and major grading.

Submitted site plans must be prepared by the appropriate licensed professional, include a certified survey, and show key site elements such as buildings (with elevations), parking, sidewalks, driveways, landscaping, fences, lighting, grading, storm water drainage, and utilities.

Permit types, specific uses, and zoning regulations

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(a)(1) and 5(7), provides that no government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on the person, assembly or institution is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the last restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. 

The City acknowledges that RLUIPA is an important and central aspect of its land-use decisions, and is a primary consideration in processing and responding to land-use applications made to the City.

Last Edited: June 27, 2024