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Hoop Houses and Greenhouses

Hoop House, Cold Frame, and Greenhouse Regulations, City of Minneapolis (adopted March 2012 as part of the Urban Agriculture Policy Plan)

Question: How does the city define a hoop house?

Answer: A hoop house is defined as a temporary or permanent structure typically made of, but not limited to, piping or other material covered with translucent material for the purpose of growing food or ornamental crops. A hoop house is considered more temporary than a greenhouse. (Title 20, Chapter 520 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances relating to Zoning Code: Introductory Provisions. Section 520.160)

Question: How does the city define a cold frame?

Answer: A cold frame is defined as an unheated outdoor structure built close to the ground, typically consisting of, but not limited to, a wooden or concrete frame and a top of glass or clear plastic, used for protecting seedlings and plants from cold weather.

Question: How does the city define a greenhouse?

Answer: A greenhouse is defined as a structure that is constructed primarily of glass, glasslike or translucent material which is devoted to the protection or cultivation of food or ornamental crops. (Separate definitions exist for greenhouses that perform lawn and garden supply store or wholesale functions.)

Question: Do I need a building permit to put up a hoop house?

Answer: You don’t have to have a building permit if the hoop house is up for less than 180 days. A temporary hoop house can be erected as an accessory structure provided it is accessory to the main use on a lot and is in place for no more than 180 days. A permanent hoop house is subject to building code and site plan review requirements in addition to the accessory use requirements.

Question: What is the maximum height for a hoop house that is part of a community garden, market garden or urban farm?

Answer: The maximum height is 12 feet.

Zoning Regulations

Title 20 Zoning Code, Chapter 537.110 Accessory Uses and Structures

Cold frames or other structures used to cover food or ornamental crops to protect from cold weather.Cold frames or other structures used to cover food or ornamental crops and provide protection from cold weather shall be allowed as an accessory use subject to the following:
(1)    The use shall not exceed four (4) feet in height.
(2)    The use shall not be located in a required interior side yard.
 
Hoop houses or other structures used solely to extend the growing season for food or ornamental crops. Hoop houses or other structures used solely to extend the growing season for food or ornamental crops shall be allowed as an accessory use subject to the applicable district regulations and subject to the following:
(1)    In the residence and OR1 districts the use must be located in the rear fifty (50) feet of the lot.
(2)    The use shall be located not less than twenty (20) feet from any habitable building on an adjacent property.
(3)    The use shall not be located in a required interior side yard.
(4)    Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, hoop houses, cold frames or other temporary structures used solely to extend the growing season for food or ornamental crops that are accessory to a community garden, market garden or urban farm, shall be exempt from the maximum floor area of all accessory structures, provided that the total size of such temporary structures shall not exceed one thousand (1,000) square feet or fifteen (15) percent of the lot area, whichever is greater, and shall not exceed a duration of one hundred eighty (180) days in a calendar year.
(5)    The use shall comply with all applicable requirements of the Minnesota State Fire Code and Minneapolis Fire Department and obtain any required permits.
(6)    Notwithstanding the provisions of section 537.50, the maximum height of a hoop house or other structure used solely to extend the growing season for food or ornamental crops shall not exceed six and one-half (6½) feet accessory to single and two-family dwellings and multiple-family dwellings having three (3) or four (4) dwelling units and twelve (12) feet accessory to all other uses. The use shall not exceed the maximum height for any accessory structure as specified in section 537.50

Last updated Oct 31, 2014

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