Multi-family residential density text amendment

Information about the multi-family residential density text amendment in the City of the Minneapolis.


In July 2008, the Minneapolis City Council approved the Citys comprehensive plan, titled The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, and it was submitted to the Metropolitan Council. This plan is the City’s primary policy document that guides planning and development decisions. This plan goes beyond the previous plan by assigning more specific residential density ranges to each of the land use features located in the city (i.e. "Activity Centers" and "Community Corridors"). Many small area plans that have been approved by the City Council in recent years also include this level of detail. The addition of density ranges in future land use plans provides more predictability and a better understanding of the expectations for future development.

With a focus on implementation of the updated comprehensive plan and approved small area plans, the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) is undertaking several rezoning studies. These include:

  • Midtown Greenway Land Use and Development Plan
  • Seward Longfellow Development Plan
  • Midtown Minneapolis Plan
  • Uptown Small Area Plan
  • West Broadway Alive! Plan
  • Above the Falls Master Plan
  • 46th
  • 50th Street


On March 27th, 2009, the Minneapolis City Council adopted several changes to the Minneapolis Zoning Code. The changes are detailed below.

The allowable residential densities in several multi-family and commercial zoning districts were altered to better align with adopted policy. These changes allow more dwelling units, but do not affect the existing regulations related to building height, bulk, or setbacks. No changes were made to single and two-family zoning districts.

Chart of Adopted Changes

The Minneapolis City Council also adopted a change to the maximum floor area ratio (the ratio of the building size to lot size) in one commercial district, C3S. There are only eight locations in the city with this zoning district and they generally accommodate larger retail stores on major corridors ( Map of C3S Zoning ). This change allows greater building bulk on C3S parcels than is currently allowed, encouraging future development to be in keeping with the built form envisioned for Major Retail Centers in the comprehensive plan.

These changes:

  • Better align regulations with planning policies by providing more zoning options to represent the range of options suggested in several small area plans.
  • Avoid rezoning to incompatible zoning districts by having a menu of options across the Residence, Office Residence, and Commercial districts within a given density range.
  • Allow for more density in a smaller building envelope by providing more options for medium density development and allowing more density in a smaller-scale building.
  • Make the existing C3S parcels more in keeping with the City’s urban design goals for Activity Centers and Major Retail Centers by allowing a floor area ratio which allows for development with a more traditional urban form.

Ordinance Language

Approval process

City Planning Commission. Zoning code amendments are reviewed by the City Planning Commission, which makes a recommendation to the City Council regarding adoption of the proposed changes. Staff recommended  these zoning code text changes to the City Planning Commission at a public hearing on February 17, 2009. A formal public hearing notice was sent to all neighborhood groups.

City Council Zoning and Planning Committee. The Zoning and Planning Committee of the City Council reviews the proposed revisions, considers the recommendation of the City Planning Commission, and makes a recommendation to the full City Council concerning adoption of the revisions. The Zoning and Planning Committee considered and approved the amendment at a meeting on March 12, 2009.

City Council. The City Council must take an action on proposed ordinance revisions. An action to adopt the amendment was taken by City Council on March 27, 2009.

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Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED)




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415