General Intent of the Zoning Code

The information found on this page provides a general idea of the intent of each zoning district in Saint Paul. This page helps determine if the land use being proposed for a property fits within City’s regulatory guidelines that were adopted by the City Council to reflect the Comprehensive Plan.  If you have any questions about a specific use and how it fits within the general intent of each district, please contact our general zoning information line at 651-266-8989. 

Residential Zoning Districts:

Sec. 66.212. - Intent, R1— R4 one-family residential districts.
The R1— R4 one-family residential districts provide for an environment of predominantly low-density, one-family dwellings along with civic and institutional uses, public services and utilities that serve the residents in the districts. Because of their residential nature, these districts are not intended for more intensive uses such as small conference centers, private retreat centers and reception houses.

Sec. 66.213. - Intent, RT1 two-family residential district.
The RT1 two-family residential district provides for an environment of predominantly low density one- and two-family dwellings along with civic and institutional uses and public services and utilities that serve the residents in the district. The district recognizes the existence of older residential areas of the city where larger houses have been or can be converted from single-family to two-family residences in order to extend the economic life of these structures and allow the owners to justify the expenditures for repairs and modernization. Because of its residential nature, this district is not intended for more intensive uses such as small conference centers, private retreat centers and reception houses.

Sec. 66.214. - Intent, RT2 townhouse residential district.
The RT2 townhouse residential district provides for two-, three-, and four-family and townhouse structures, along with civic and institutional uses, public services and utilities that serve residents in the district. It is intended to provide for a variety of housing needs and to serve as zones of transition between one- and two-family residential districts and multiple-family residential districts and business districts. The district recognizes the existence of older residential areas of the city where larger houses have been or can be converted from single-family to two-, three-, or four-family residences in order to extend the economic life of these structures and allow the owners to justify the expenditures for repairs and modernization. The RT2 district further provides for housing that has many of the amenities of single-family dwellings arranged in a low-density, multiple-family pattern. Because of its residential nature, this district is not intended for more intensive uses such as small conference centers, private retreat centers and reception houses.

Sec. 66.215. - Intent, RM1 low-density multiple-family residential district.
The RM1 low-density multiple-family residential district is intended to provide for an environment of predominantly one- and two-family, townhouse and lower-density multiple-dwelling structures, along with civic and institutional uses, public services and utilities that serve residents in the district, to provide for a variety of housing needs, and to serve as zones of transition between less restricted districts and more restricted districts.

Sec. 66.216. - Intent, RM2 medium-density multiple-family residential district.
The RM2 medium-density multiple-family residential district is intended to provide for more extensive areas of multiple-family residential development and a variety of congregate living arrangements, as well as uses that serve the needs of the multiple-family residential districts. It is intended to provide for comprehensive development of multiple-family uses and a balance of population concentration near major thoroughfares, transit, and related facilities.

Sec. 66.217. - Intent, RM3 high-rise multiple-family residential district.
The RM3 high-rise multiple family residential district is intended to provide sites for high density multiple-dwelling structures adjacent to high-frequency transit service and high traffic generators commonly found in the proximity of major shopping centers and areas abutting major thoroughfares and expressways. It is also designed to serve the residential needs of persons desiring apartment-type accommodations with central services as opposed to the residential patterns found in the RM1 and RM2 multiple-family residential districts. The high-rise nature of the district is provided to allow for greater density with lower coverage, which will in turn result in more open space.

Traditional Neighborhood Districts:

Sec. 66.312. - Intent, T1 traditional neighborhood district.
The T1 traditional neighborhood district is intended to provide for compact, pedestrian-oriented mixed-use areas of limited size, with a variety of residential, office and service uses that primarily serve neighborhood needs. It is also intended to serve as a transitional use of land along major thoroughfares, between commercial or industrial districts and residential districts or other less intensive land uses.

Sec. 66.313. - Intent, T2 traditional neighborhood district.
The T2 traditional neighborhood district is designed for use in existing or potential pedestrian and transit nodes. Its intent is to foster and support compact, pedestrian-oriented commercial and residential development that, in turn, can support and increase transit usage. It encourages, but does not require, a variety of uses and housing types, with careful attention to the amount and placement of parking and transitions to adjacent residential neighborhoods.

Sec. 66.314. - Intent, T3 traditional neighborhood district.
The T3 traditional neighborhood district provides for higher-density pedestrian- and transit-oriented mixed-use development. It is designed for development or redevelopment of land on sites large enough to support:

(a) A mix of uses, including residential, commercial, civic and open space uses in close proximity to one another; (b) A mix of housing styles, types and sizes to accommodate households of varying sizes, ages and incomes; (c) A system of interconnected streets and paths that offer multiple routes for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, and are connected to existing and future streets; (d) A system of open space resources and amenities; and incorporation of environmental features into the design of the neighborhood.

The T3 district is also intended for smaller sites in an existing mixed-use neighborhood center where some of the above elements already exist, or in an area identified in the comprehensive plan as a potential "urban village" site. The above elements may be found within the T3 district or adjacent to it; the intent is that all would be present within a reasonable walking distance.
 

Sec. 66.315. - Intent, T4 traditional neighborhood district.
The T4 traditional neighborhood district provides for high-density, transit-supportive, pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development. It is particularly intended for use near transit stops along fixed rail transit (including commuter rail, light rail and trolley) corridors, where a greater reliance on transit makes high-density mixed-use development possible and desirable.

Business Zoning Districts

Sec. 66.411. - Intent, OS office-service district.
The office-service district is intended to accommodate various types of office and service uses performing administrative, professional and personal services and to serve as a transitional use between the more intensive uses of land such as major thoroughfares or commercial districts and the less intensive uses of land such as one-family residential.

Sec. 66.412. - Intent, B1 local business district.
The B1 local business district is intended to permit those uses as are necessary to satisfy the basic convenience shopping or service needs of persons residing in nearby residential areas.

Sec. 66.413. - Intent, BC community business (converted) district.
 The BC community business (converted) district is a business district expressly for existing residential structures in commercial areas, which will permit the operation of businesses which do not generate large amounts of traffic and at the same time will retain the visual character of the building forms and open space associated with residential uses. This includes a limited height on buildings and front and side yards. It is further the intent of this district to provide parking for employees who work in buildings which are converted from residential to business use.

Sec. 66.414. - Intent, B2 community business district.
 The B2 community business district is intended to serve the needs of a consumer population larger than that served by the "local business district," and is generally characterized by a cluster of establishments generating large volumes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Sec. 66.415. - Intent, B3 general business district.
The B3 general business district is intended to provide sites for more diversified types of businesses than those in the B1 and B2 business districts, and is intended for use along major traffic arteries or adjacent to community business districts.

Sec. 66.416. - Intent, B4 central business district.
The B4 central business district provides for a variety of retail stores and related activities, office buildings and service establishments which occupy the prime frontages in the central business district and serve a consumer population beyond the corporate boundaries of the city. The district is also designed to provide for the needs of the daytime work force, a central business district resident population and a transient population, along with the recreation demands of such population groups.

Sec. 66.417. - Intent, B5 central business-service district.
The B5 central business-service district is intended to provide necessary services for the population area which is served by all of the previous business districts. Such service establishments often involve objectionable influences, such as noise from heavy service operations and large volumes of truck traffic, and are thus incompatible with the previous business districts. The district provides for wholesaling, restricted manufacturing and other business uses which are needed in proximity to the central business district and require central location to permit serving of the entire city.

Industrial Zoning Districts:

Sec. 66.511. - Intent, IT transitional industrial district.
The IT transitional industrial district is intended to provide sites for commercial, office and light industrial uses that are compatible with nearby residential and traditional neighborhood districts, parks, and parkways.

Sec. 66.512. - Intent, I1 light industrial district.
 The I1 light industrial district is intended to accommodate wholesale, warehouse, and industrial operations whose external physical effects are restricted to the area of the district and in no manner affect surrounding districts in a detrimental way. The I1 district is intended to permit, along with other specified uses, the manufacturing, compounding, processing, packaging, assembly, or treatment of finished or semi-finished products from previously prepared material.

Sec. 66.513. - Intent, I2 general industrial district.
The I2 general industrial district is intended primarily for manufacturing, assembling and fabrication activities, including large scale or specialized industrial operations whose external effects will be felt in surrounding districts. The I2 district is intended to permit the manufacturing, processing and compounding of semi-finished products from raw material and prepared material. The processing of raw material in bulk form to be used in an industrial operation is a permitted use in the I2 district.

Sec. 66.514. - Intent, I3 heavy industrial district.
The I3 heavy industrial district is intended to provide sites for uses which are or can be objectionable or hazardous unless surrounded by other types of industrial districts.