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Conservation District Ordinance


The City of Minneapolis has embarked upon a conservation district development program. Using public input, the City has developed an ordinance designed to conserve notable visual character in a manner that offers more protections than the zoning code, but fewer protections than historic district design guidelines.

Under the proposed ordinance, two-thirds of property owners in a contiguous area with notable visual character would have the opportunity to request conservation district status. Design guidelines to regulate changes in conservation districts would be developed jointly by City staff and property owners prior to the establishment of a district.

Thank you for your continued interest in the City of Minneapolis’ conservation district ordinance development effort. The City of Minneapolis’ proposed conservation district ordinance continues to advance through the formal review and public hearing process. In May and June the Heritage Preservation Commission, State Historic Preservation Office, and Planning Commission provided positive feedback on the draft ordinance. The Heritage Preservation Commission recommended (to the City Council) adoption of the ordinance at their August 5 meeting. The Zoning and Planning Committee of the City Council will review the ordinance at their 9:30 AM meeting on October 9, forwarding their recommendation for action by the full City Council at their 9:30 AM meeting on October 17.

During their hearing, the Heritage Preservation Commission modified the proposed ordinance with an addition to section 599.730:

The commission shall review all complete applications. If the commission determines that the subject district appears to meet the criteria for establishment contained in section 599.720, the commission may direct the planning director to prepare or cause to be prepared design guidelines.

This change improves the checks and balances that are designed to ensure the ordinance gets implemented appropriately. In summary, only property owners can request a conservation district be established. Design guidelines and conservation district plans may not even be started until the HPC verifies that the proposed conservation district meets the minimum standards for establishment. Two-thirds of property owners in a given district must agree to abide by design guidelines limited to protecting notable visual character before the HPC will consider recommending the City Council formally establish the district. Proposed development will not incur additional regulations until Council formally establishes the district (i.e., there is no interim protection).

For ordinance language, please see:

For more information contact John Smoley via email or call 612-673-2830.

Please return to this website for project updates.

Last updated Sep 29, 2014