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Minneapolis Critical Area Plan

The City of Minneapolis is required to prepare and adopt a plan to meet the requirements of the Mississippi River Critical Areas act of 1973. Final approval is contingent on review by both the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The plan was approved by the City Council on June 16, 2006, by the Metropolitan Council on October 11, 2006, and by the DNR on January 29, 2007.

Critical Area Plan - Final Approved Version

Past Versions

Approved by City Council June 16, 2006

Staff Report to City Planning Commission May 8, 2006

Proposed Text Changes to Draft for Public Comment (approved by City Planning Commission May 8, 2006).

The plan was approved by the Citys Zoning and Planning Committee on June 8, 2006. ( Zoning & Planning Committee June 8, 2006)

Comments Received

Department of Health and Family Support

Friends of the Mississippi River

Longfellow Community Council

Marcy Holmes Neighborhood

Mississippi River Watershed Management Organization

Rosemary Knutson (Cedar Riverside Neighborhood)

Sheridan Neighborhood

Ted Tucker (AFCAC)


The Mississippi River Critical Area Program is a joint local and state program that provides coordinated planning and management for 72 miles of the Mississippi River, four miles of the Minnesota River, and 54,000 acres of adjacent corridor lands. The designated Mississippi River Critical Area Corridor stretches from Ramsey, Minnesota, north of the Twin Cities, to the southern boundary of Dakota County, and runs through the heart of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. A complete program description and map are available online at:

The purposes of the state’s Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area designation are to:

Local units of government are required to adopt critical area plans and regulations that comply with the Mississippi River Critical Area Program. Local units of government and regional and state agencies shall permit development in the corridor only in accordance with those adopted plans and regulations.

The Minneapolis Critical Area Plan is an update of the 1989 Critical Area Plan and includes additional policies. It documents the City's river corridor resources and sets forth those policies and implementation strategies the City has adopted to protect the natural, cultural, historic, commercial, and recreational value of the river corridor. (Note that the plan generally does not address the holdings of the University of Minnesota and higher levels of government over which the City has no control. The University has prepared its own Critical Area Plan. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is subject to all City of Minneapolis land use policies and regulations.)

This plan is guided by many past plans and ordinances and will guide future planning and regulatory actions. For the most part, this plan brings together ideas from the City’s comprehensive plan, the zoning ordinance, and several sub-area plans. In response to state or federal requirements, it does include some policies that were not specifically and clearly articulated in other documents, but those policies are consistent with past City practices or broader policies. Plans that address land in the Critical Area will be consistent with all applicable state laws. In the case of overlap of plans and/or policies, the policy most protective of the Critical Area will prevail.

Last updated Nov 3, 2016



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