Ward 11 Frequently Asked Questions
Assist Yourself with 311. There are many reports you can file yourself!
"The same car has been parked on my block for several days. What can I do about it?"
See Minneapolis Impound Lot Web page on Abandoned Vehicles.
"I think there’s a vulnerable adult on my block. Are there any ways to help them?"
The Adult Services Department serves adults with behavioral health issues, disabilities or vulnerabilities. The Department assists people with consumer and community protection, housing and employment or vocational skill building. For more information, contact (612) 348-4111.
"What is the City doing to help create new affordable housing units?"
The City of Minneapolis, through its Housing Policy and Development division of CPED strives to create sustainable lifecycle housing opportunities throughout the city. These opportunities are made possible though the use of local housing development funds. These funds are then leveraged with millions of dollars in additional public and private funds to create a significant number of decent, safe and affordable housing opportunities for many housing needs. In addition to providing housing for special needs populations, workforce housing and affordable housing, this housing production fuels the economy by creating job opportunities for a wide spectrum of job classifications from bricklayers to architects to property managers, many jobs rely on the economics of development.
For further information, or for updated information on housing production, please see the CPED Housing Development web page.
"Planes never seem to cease going overhead. Why doesn't the City do anything about it?"
The airport noise problem is one of the most vexing livability problems facing south Minneapolis. Under State law, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International and is an independent municipality. As a result, Minneapolis and St. Paul have no legal authority over its operations.
Many airline and airport operations are governed by the Federal Aviation Authority and/or the courts. For example, the courts have ruled that night flights over residential areas cannot be banned since they would be a restriction of interstate commerce. The City, however, has reached agreements with MAC to limit night flights.
The City of Minneapolis and citizen activists continue to maintain a dialogue and negotiate with MAC on issues such as sound insulation, runway construction, and construction measures to limit noise problems.
I encourage concerned citizens to get involved with one of the grassroots organizations working on this problem and/or by letting their State and Federal elected officials know how they feel about airport laws and regulation.
Please visit The MAC Aviation Noise and Satellite Programs website to find out more about their activities. You can also learn more about sound issues, takeoff patterns, and strategies for noise issues.
"I have a question about pet licenses or a problem pet. What should I do?"
Pet licenses are now available online or by calling 311.
Nuisance problems subject to regulation by the Animal Control Division include uncontrolled barking; feces that is not regularly cleaned up or disposed of properly; the number of adult cats and dogs at a particular property (which is limited to three without a permit); and dogs that are not properly confined. Regulations related to these common problems often include the requirements to provide adequate shelter to dogs kept outside, vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies, and obtain pet licenses for cats and dogs over 4 months of age.
Also, animal bites and incidents of aggressive behavior ought to be reported to the Animal Control Division. All of these reports are reviewed to determine whether a dog should be declared a danger to the public under city and/or state regulations. Many such declarations are made, and they often impose conditions and restrictions, e.g., that a dog must be muzzled or kept in a secure enclosure when not inside the owners house. Reported animal bites also involve a mandatory ten-day period of containment and observation to ensure that the victim does not need to have rabies shots. Questions about a particular problem may be addressed to Animal Control by calling 311, (612) 348-4250.
"I am having a problem with a business in my neighborhood."
Most businesses in the City require a business license to operate. Licensing is governed by the City’s Code of Ordinance. A license is granted by the City Council and administered by the Licensing and Consumer Services division. The business license sets certain health and safety standards and parameters for orderly use. Types of uses that require operating licenses include: restaurants, bars, grocery/convenience stores, auto repair garages, and construction trades. If a business violates conditions outlined in the Code, the City may have cause to revoke or penalize the license and shut down the use. For assistance with nuisance businesses, contact Regulatory Services at (612) 673-2080.
"I have a concern about the welfare of some children on my block. Whom should I call?"
The purpose of Children and Family Services Department is to protect and ensure permanency for children, to preserve families and to strengthen communities by sensitive, effective and ethical use of resources. This involves child abuse prevention and early intervention, crisis intervention and family intervention. To make a complaint or for inquiries, call (612) 348-4111.
"My tree has Dutch Elm disease and has to be removed…what happened and what do I do?"
"My garbage and/or recycling weren’t picked up this week. Whom do I contact?"
Call 311 and they will help correct the problem. Click on Solid Waste and Recycling to learn more about their polices and practices.
"My Yard Waste (grass clippings, leaves and brush) needs to be picked up. Who do I contact?"
Call Solid Waste customer service and they will help correct the problem. Their phone number is (612) 673-2917. See Yard Waste Collection to learn more.
Graffiti has become an epidemic in the city and my office is working with an interdepartmental task force within the City of Minneapolis to solve the problem. The most important thing you can do if victimized by graffiti is to clean it up as soon as possible. The long graffiti is visible, the more likely the area is to be victimized by more graffiti. The Result Minneapolis Graffiti Report shows total graffiti incidents and percent cleaned up within 20 working days for 2006-2008.
How can I prevent graffiti?
City inspections allows several days to clean up the graffiti once it is noticed by housing inspectors, however, the longer graffiti is visible, the greater the likelihood of crime happening in the area as a result. Please be as proactive as possible in addressing graffiti. Visit the City's Graffiti Prevention web page for tips on preventing graffiti on your property.
For an in depth investigative report on the causes of and solutions to graffiti, download the The Standish and Ericsson Neighborhood Graffiti Investigation.
How does the city decide what graffiti to remove/paint over first?
City crews respond to graffiti complaints in the order in which they are received. Due to a fairly lengthy cold spell, there is currently a backlog of orders. As long as warmer temperatures continue, crews will be out working.
How warm does it have to be to remove/paint over graffiti?
There is not an exact temperature that prohibits or allows for graffiti removal or paint over. Products used to accomplish this vary and there are other factors that have an impact as well. It is generally safe to say that graffiti removal and paint over is effective when it is above freezing.
How do I report graffiti?
Complete an online graffiti report. Or, you can also call 311 and a call center agent will file a report for you.
Why report graffiti?
Graffiti has a negative effect on communities. Along with lowering neighborhood appeal, decreasing property values and driving away prospective home-buyers, it also attracts criminal activity. Worst of all, gang members use graffiti to promote themselves. Covering up this graffiti takes away this gang tool and improves the overall look of neighborhoods.
What if I see someone in the process of making graffiti?
Whenever you spot a crime in progress, call 911.
What do I do if I have information on a graffiti vandal?
The Minneapolis Police Department wants to know any information you have on suspected graffiti vandals. Call (612) 673-5722 to talk directly to an investigator at the MPD Graffiti Investigations Division.
What happens after I make a graffiti report?
The graffiti is photographed by Clean City crews. A complete report is sent to the Minneapolis Police Department for investigation. A letter is then sent to the property owner to inform them of the graffiti and give them two options:
Remove or paint over the graffiti themselves within 10 days.
Wait 10 days, allowing the City to remove the graffiti, and pay the removal costs.
Clean City crews will check the property after 10 days to ensure that the graffiti is cleaned. If graffiti is still present after 10 days, the City of Minneapolis will remove the graffiti and bill the property owner.
A free quart of graffiti removal solvent is available at all Minneapolis fire stations. It is recommended for removing graffiti from unpainted surfaces.
The solvent works best on smooth surfaces, such as vinyl or aluminum siding.
When using on porous surfaces, such as brick or stucco, apply the solvent and let it soak, then remove with a power washer, sand blaster or soda water blaster.
Do not use on a painted surface! The solvent will remove that original paint.
"My neighbor is illegally taking the homestead tax credit but doesn’t live in the house. Who do I call?"
It is not uncommon to find rental properties that do not have a rental license and are illegally receiving homestead tax status. If you find this to be the case, this should be reported the City Assessor, who can try and recuperate back taxes owed to the city. The number for the City Assessor is (612) 673-2382.
Housing Inspections - " A house in my neighborhood has grass over a foot tall. Don't they have to mow?"
If you ever have a question that you believe relates to housing regulations - such as yard maintenance, multiple cars on a property, or others - call 311 with your concern. They will refer the matter to the appropriate Housing Inspector who will investigate and resolve the issue as appropriate.
Housing Maintenance Code - "My neighbor’s house and yard are a mess. Whom should I call?"
The City’s Housing Maintenance Code governs interior and exterior condition of residential property. The Code is designed to ensure minimum maintenance and upkeep of residential structures. The code covers roofs, painting and siding, litter and debris in yards, ground cover, windows, screens, doors, and garages. The Code also specifies standards and conditions for interior maintenance such as safe and operable appliances, and plumbing. You can file a complaint with Housing Inspections by calling 311.
"My neighbor seems to have a car repair business in his garage. Whom should I call?"
The City’s zoning code dictates the type of use allowed within city structures and in certain areas of the city. Many uses, such as commercial auto repair, and commercial vehicles, are prohibited in residential areas. To file a complaint about illegal car repair in the neighborhood, call 311.
" Whom do I contact about Minneapolis Parks?"
All Minneapolis parks come under the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, a separate government entity. The Park Board staff can be reached at (612) 230-6400.
The elected Park Board is comprised of a board of 6 district and 3 at-large commissioners. Ward 11 is split between two park districts. You can find your commissioner by clicking here: Minneapolis Park Commissioners
Minneapolis Police Department is located at 350 South 5th Street, Room 130, Minneapolis, MN 55415-1389 and can be contacted at through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is not monitored 24 hours a day so if you need a police officer, call 911.
Other police numbers can be found in the City Services Directory.
Property Taxes –
"Why Are My Property Taxes Rising?"
For more information on why your property taxes are rising and where they are going visit the City Assessor’s Office.
"What are the rules about having an outdoor fire on my property?"
The rules for recreational fires were recently updated to meet the international fire code adopted several years ago by the City of Minneapolis.
It remains legal to have a recreational fire to burn material for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warming or similar purposes. This also includes portable freestanding fire places and chimneys. These fires must be kept smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. In addition, fires must be at least 25 feet from a structure and have surrounding fire barrier of non-combustible material at least six inches high.
Other conditions for having a recreational fire apply. Only unpainted wood (not been treated with chemicals or preservatives), coal or charcoal can be burned. Burning of rubbish is prohibited. Buckets, shovels, garden hoses or a fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating must be readily available for use at recreational fires. Also, every recreational fire has to be attended by a competent person 18 years of age or older and completely extinguished before leaving the scene. Fires can only be conducted between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and when wind conditions do not exceed 10 mph. The Minneapolis Fire Chief, Chief of Police, Fire Prevention Bureau, Fire fighters, or officer of the police department can enforce these provisions through appropriate administrative and legal remedies, including issuance of a citation.
If you are concerned that a neighbor is violating the standards for a recreational fire, please contact 911.
Read more about the Recreational Fire Ordinance (pdf).
"Whom do I call with a question or concern about a rental property?"
The City of Minneapolis requires that all rental property in the City be licensed. Under certain conditions the City can revoke a rental license, effectively shutting down the property. The most common reason for revocation of a rental license is disorderly use of rental property or Conduct on Premises. The types of activity that trigger a rental license revocation include: gambling, prostitution, drug dealing, noisy assemblies, and unlawful possession, sale or use of a weapon. Your SAFE Crime Prevention Specialist is responsible for working with the City Attorney’s Office and Housing Inspections to begin the revocation procedure. Licenses may be revoked include extreme housing code violations. To find out if a property has a current rental license (which it must in order to operate) call 311.
"I have questions about the public schools. Whom do I call?"
The Minneapolis Public Schools are under the independent jurisdiction of the Minneapolis School Board. You can call the Public Schools at (612) 668-0000 (TTY 668-0001) or visit them online. The website has a variety of resources to help you learn more about the public schools, including information about the School Board, Superintendent, and each school in the City.
Sidewalks and Snow Shoveling –
"People are walking in the street, because some of the homeowners in my neighborhood haven't shoveled their sidewalks. What can be done about it?"
Property owners in Minneapolis are required by City ordinance to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalks adjacent to their properties.
Business/commercial property owners have to clear their sidewalks and/or put down salt or sand within four hours after snow or freezing rain has stopped falling. Residential owners have 24 hours to shovel snow and/or mitigate ice.
If you have concerns about a sidewalk near you, please call 311 to report the location. They will send out an inspector who will work to resolve the situation. Also, contact the sidewalk department if you have any questions about damaged sidewalks.
"How do I know where to park during Snow Emergencies?"
The City's Public Works and Communications departments communicate to residents in a variety of ways when a Snow Emergency has been declared:
- 348-SNOW hotline. The recorded message is updated frequently and includes parking information car owners need.
- City Website - www.minneapolismn.gov. The website has a number of resources about snow emergencies:
1. Parking Status Icon. On the homepage, throughout the winter, residents will find an icon on the left side of the City homepage which notifies residents about the current status - snow emergency or normal parking. If winter parking restrictions are put into effect - in the event heavy snow fall raises concerns about the ability of emergency vehicles to access residential streets - that will also be posted on the home page.
2. Minneapolis Snow Season Parking Information page. This page on the City website has any information you may want about Minneapolis' snow season including snow emergency regulations, parking status, Snoases, and tips about shoveling and plowing.
3. Email, Text Message, and Facebook Notification Sign-Up. Sign up here if you would like to receive an email, text message, and/or Facebook message whenever a snow emergency is declared. This page can also be accessed from the Minneapolis Snow Season Parking Information page.
4. "I just heard on the radio that parking around the city has been limited to one side of the street until April. Why?"
Certain years, the snowfall is so heavy and frequent that, even with regular plowing, the piles of snow begin to encroach into parking lanes, and parked cars in turn begin to encroach into driving lanes. When the streets get too narrow as a result of this encroachment, it can be impossible or difficult for emergency vehicles - fire trucks and ambulances - to get down the streets.
As a result, to ensure public safety, the City declares winter parking restrictions. On non-snow emergency routes, parking on the street is restricted to one side. The side where parking is banned changes from year to year and will be announced when the restrictions are declared.
Winter Parking Restrictions are announced through the local radio and television stations. Also, an icon announcing the restrictions will be placed on the left side of the City home page.
- Television and Radio - when a snow emergency is declared, Twin Cities radio and television stations are notified and announce the declaration.
- Snow Emergency Information Brochure - In November, the City will mail all homes in the city a copy of this year's snow emergency regulations.
Please remember, when clearing your sidewalks, yard paths or driveway, don’t shovel or blow snow into streets or alleys. In addition to making driving in the road or alley more difficult for your neighbors, it is a violation of City ordinances.
"When will my street be swept?"
Street cleaning occurs throughout the non-snow season. However, residents need to be especially aware of the two major operations in the spring and fall.
Public Works conducts a comprehensive, citywide sweep of all streets and alleys each spring, from early April through mid-May, in order to pick up the winter sand and other debris that collects over the winter. There is another comprehensive sweep and leaf collection of all streets (but not alleys) in the fall. This occurs from mid-October to mid-November (unless interrupted by significant snowfalls).
In order to provide the desired curb-to-curb cleaning for these operations, temporary signs to restrict parking are posted a day in advance, and parking restrictions are aggressively enforced with tagging and towing. During the rest of the season, Public Works is actively sweeping streets on a rotational basis, with special and added emphasis in the Chain-of-Lakes watershed areas. Residents are not required to move their vehicles for these operations, except on the rare occasions where they require more complete sweeping. In that case, temporary parking restriction signs would be posted.
There is some schedule rotation that occurs for the comprehensive spring and fall sweeps so that the same areas are not always first or last. For instance, if a particular neighborhood could not be swept in the fall because of early snow; all attempts would be made to put these streets first for the spring sweep. Many factors come into play when scheduling so it is difficult to predict very far in advance when a particular street will be swept. In general, people should be aware of the existence of, and watch for posted signs for the two major sweep events during the spring and fall.
If you have a particular need to know when your street may be cleaned use the Street Sweeping Schedule Lookup is also a good resource for questions about street repairs and snow plowing.
Please note that it is a violation of City ordinances to rake leaves into the street. Leaves raked into the street will create significant public safety, flooding, and pollution problems. The proper disposal method is to bag all your leaves, including from the boulevard, and put them out with your solid waste collection. The schedule for yard waste pick-up can be obtained from 311 or by visiting the citys yard waste webpage.
"There’s a burned out street light on my block. What can I do about it?"
There are over 35,000 street lights in the City of Minneapolis, and Public Works needs your help to replace the burned out lights. If you have a light out on your block, please call 311.
"What is the Stormwater Utility Fee on my utility bill?"
Learn more about the Stormwater Utility Fee and the credit program.
" Speeding keeps increasing on my block. How do we get speed bumps and more stop signs?"
Requests for traffic calming devices are among the most frequent requests by my office. When received, we refer the request to the Transportation division of Public Works. They study the situation and report if changes to the current engineering are or are not recommended.
Their recommendations are based on well-established standards that measure traffic volume, speed, and accidents, as well as pedestrian volume. In many situations, no changes are recommended. In other situations, the solution may require neighborhood funding. Speed bumps, for example, are eligible for many streets, but the City does not pay for them. If a block wants to install speed humps they are responsible for securing funding, which runs about $4500 for a pair.
Stop sign installation, in addition to the standards used, is based on a city ordinance -- the Minneapolis Stop Sign Policy. Under this policy, there is a plan for the entire City and the ordinance does not allow for exceptions.
"I frequently hear loud trucks coming near my home. I thought trucks were supposed to stay on large roads. What are the rules for trucks and what can I do if I see a truck on the wrong road?"
There are two types of designated truck routes that regulate where trucks of different sizes may travel.
Trucks over 10 tons (20,000 lbs. per axle)
3 to 9 Ton
Trucks between 3 and 9 tons (6,000 to 18,000 lbs. per axle)
Note: To determine whether a truck meets the standards for the above truck routes, you must compare gross weight in pounds marked on the truck to the above numbers. Some trucks may cite their gross weight versus axle weight. Dividing the gross weight by the number of axles determines the per axle weight for truck routes.
Trucks over 3 tons must use the appropriate truck routes for as much of their travel as practical. They may divert to other streets for the last few blocks to reach their final destination. A diversion onto non-truck route streets is determined by the driver based on turning restrictions, on-street parking, and the approach direction to the destination. Trucks under 3 tons (UPS two-axle delivery truck, for example) may use any city street.
Many of the trucking companies use smaller, short haul trucks to make deliveries in the city, because large semi trucks often have trouble making turns on city streets. However, some semis do continue to deliver in the city.
If you believe a large truck is traveling on the wrong road, please call 311. If you can identify and provide the trucking company, license plate, and/or its destination it can help Minneapolis Traffic Control resolve the situation.
Also, businesses are not allowed to receive overnight deliveries in any residentially zoned and used area unless they are doing such within an insulated building. Therefore, you should not hear trucks idling and making deliveries between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am. Loud, late-night deliveries in your neighborhood should be reported to 311.
"The contractor building my new garage says I need a variance before I can build. What is it and how do I get it?"
A variance is an authorization to depart from the general requirements of the City's zoning regulations. For example, zoning regulations govern how large a garage you may build and where on your property it may be located. Variances to these and other types of zoning regulations may be granted where strict adherence would cause undue hardship due to circumstances unique to the property.
Receiving a variance involves completing an application, satisfying applicable legal requirements, and holding a public hearing. For complete information and application procedures, please contact 311.
Last updated Apr 28, 2014