Community Planning & Economic Development

Planning and Zoning
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Overnight Shelters Text Amendment

Overnight shelters provide temporary housing, typically less than 24 hours, to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.

The Minneapolis Zoning Code was amended in 1998, to allow overnight shelters only when accessory to a religious institution place of assembly. In 2010, the City adopted the DS Downtown Shelter Overlay District to allow the operation of principal overnight shelters in a portion of the North Loop and Downtown West neighborhoods located west of the Central Business District. These regulations have severely restricted the establishment of new overnight shelters, creating a shortage of shelter beds and a concentration of shelter facilities in a small area of the city. The needs of the city’s homeless population are largely being provided accessory to existing religious institutions, in spaces not originally designed to provide habitable shelter on an ongoing basis.

In 2015, at the direction of the Minneapolis City Council, the City of Minneapolis’ Department of Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) undertook a zoning study to review the definitions, use categories and services associated with overnight shelters with the goal of amending the zoning code to better align with City policies. Staff conducted extensive peer research on best practices in our region and around the United States, engaged other City departments to explore potential impacts, and conducted three community meetings with community members and shelter operators in mid-2015. Presentations and notes from these meetings may be found below.

The resulting zoning code text amendment, approved by the City Planning Commission, City Council, and Mayor, created two categories of shelters:

Both uses are subject to specific development standards, including a spacing requirement of 1,000 feet from existing overnight and emergency shelters, providing an enclosed waiting area, landscaping and screening, and compatibility of new construction with the surrounding neighborhood.

For more information, please see the documents below or contact Shanna Sether.



Last updated Oct 29, 2018



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