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NDDC Forum

Land Use Code
Document Development Sequence

Comprehensive Plan
Adopted 2008; last revised in 2001

(with Land Use Principles)

Land Use Code
Last substantial revision in 1981
Land Use Principles (n=12)
Developed and approved by City Council

prior to work on the
Land Use Chapter of Comprehensive Plan
• Principle 1: The small town character will be

• Principle 2: The natural environment will be protected,
enhanced and better integrated in the community.

• Principle 3: The preference for accommodating future growth
is in infill locations, then redevelopment opportunities, and
then on the edge of existing developed areas.

• Principle 4: New and redeveloped residential communities
(areas) will have strong neighborhood qualities.

• Principle 5: Environmentally-sensitive and sustainable
practices will be integrated into new developments and
redeveloped areas.

• Principle 6: Places with a mix of uses that are distinctive and
contribute to increasing the City’s overall vitality are
• Principle 7: Neighborhood serving commercial will be small
scale and integrated with the residential context.

• Principle 8: A wider range of housing choices will be
encouraged – in the Community as well as in neighborhoods.

• Principle 9: Rural character of certain areas of the
Community will be protected.

• Principle 10: Streets will create an attractive public realm and
be exceptional places for people.

• Principle 11: Places will be better connected, in part to
improve the function of the street network and also to better
serve neighborhoods.

• Principle 12: Opportunities will be created to walk and bike
throughout the Community.
Comprehensive Plan Contents
• Demographics • Transportation

• Community Identity • Parks & Recreation

• Land Use • Community Facilities

• Environmental Resources • Economic Development

• Sewer & Water • Housing
Each chapter identified:

Key findings of
current status


Objectives: Community Identity
• Strengthen downtown as historical &
cultural center
• Preserve historic sites & structures
• Encourage a traditional development
• Host local arts and cultural activities
Objectives: Land Use
• Protect & enhance the small town character
• Promote downtown core as important aspect of
community life
• Encourage compact development pattern &
support infill, redevelopment and land
• Encourage commercial/retail and office mixed
use development (continued)
(continued) Objectives: Land Use
• Improve transportation choices & efficiency
• Improve development review process
• Monitor the effectiveness of development
Economic Development
Objectives (n=4)
Strategies (n=19)
Goal for Economic Development
• Promote economic development by
supporting existing businesses, by talent
attraction and retention, by aggressive
business recruitment, and by increasing
the availability of commercial and
industrial land.
Objectives: Economic Development
• Support existing businesses
• Make sufficient land resources available for
• Expand Cannon River corridor to maintain
historic character of Northfield
• Support vitality through business retention and
recruitment and enhancement of tourism
Objective: The City will support existing

Strategies: (an example)
• Seek opportunities to address barriers to
retention and expansion of existing
Objective: Expanding and revitalizing the Cannon River corridor
will be a pivotal part of the strategy to maintain the historic
character that is Northfield.

Strategies: (an example)

• Any infill and redevelopment/intensification
along the Cannon River corridor should be
oriented to maximize the advantage that
the river corridor creates for such
Next Step:
Finish Development of
Land Use Code

Current Draft written by
– Consultant
– City Staff
– Some areas modified by Advisory Committee
Advisory Committee
- City groups
• City Council
• Planning Commission (n=2)
• Heritage Preservation Commission
• Design Advisory Board
• Environmental Quality Commission
• Non-motorized Task Force
• Park & Recreation Advisory Board
• Housing and Redevelopment Authority
Advisory Committee
- non city group representatives
• Architects (2)
• Builders & developers (3)
• Civil engineer
• Sustainable development expert
• Rice Co. Soil & Water Dept.
Disclaimers about this code
• Only some aspects of code related to C1 are included.

• Is not purported to be comprehensive

• Is no attempt to address C2

• Full document can be found on City Web site under
Planning Commission

• Current version is a DRAFT
1.1 Purpose of LDC

Encourage vibrancy in the downtown
core and fringe areas;
BASE DISTRICTS – Residential

Current Proposed

R-1 One-Family Residential R1-B Low Density Residential
District District
R-2 One- and Two-Family
“ “
Residential District
R-3 Low to Medium Density
Residential District
“ “
R-4 Medium Density Residential R2-B Medium Density Residential
District District
R-5 High Density Residential R3-B High Density Residential
District District
R-6 Manufactured Home Park R4-B Manufactured Home Park
District District
-- No Existing District N1-B Neighborhood General 1
BASE DISTRICTS – Business & Industry

Current Proposed

C-1 Downtown C1-B Downtown
District District
C-2 Downtown Fringe “ “
C-3 Gateway C2-B Gateway
Commercial Commercial
District District
LI Light Industrial I1-B Industrial District
I Industrial District “ “

Current Proposed

A-G Agricultural District AH-S Agricultural Holding

CDZ College Development CD-S College
District Development District

-- No Existing District PI-S Public and
Institutional District

Current Proposed

FP Floodplain District FP Floodplain Overlay

WS Wild and Scenic WS Wild and Scenic
River/Shoreland/ River/Shoreland/
Public Waters District Public Waters Overlay
-- Downtown Historic DH Downtown Historic
District Overlay District

PUD Planned Unit PD Planned Unit
Development Development Overlay
Current Proposed

-- No Existing District NC-F Neighborhood
Center Floating

-- No Existing District ED-F Economic
Floating District
3.2.3 C-1 Development Standards

Ground floor Permitted -

Upper floor(s) Permitted
C-1 Development Standards (continued)

Build-to-line (distance from property line)
Front 0 ft.
Side 0 ft.
Side 0 ft.
Adj. to residential 15 ft.
Adj. to other use 10 ft.
C-1 Development Standards (continued)

Building Form:

Primary St. built to BTL 80% min.
Lot width 75 ft. max.
Lot depth 200 ft. max.
C-1 Development Standards (continued)

Height requirements
Building min. 22 ft.
Building max. 3 stories, 50 ft.

Finish ground floor level 12” max.
above sidewalk
C-1 Development Standards (continued)

• Corner lots: min. of 30 % at built-to-
line in both directions
• Fence or wall must define any section
along build-to-line without building
• Façade variation a min. of every 25 ft.
2.5.3 Downtown Historic Overlay

• Activity in historic overlay requires a
certificate of appropriateness from
3.44. Design Requirements (C2 + ED)
• Building Facades
– Blank walls facing streets forbidden.
– Buildings in C1 & C2 will make use of river frontage.

• Roof Style
– Pitched roof not more than ½ building height

• Building Design & Mass
- Principal buildings will have base, body & cap
3.4.5 Large Scale (>10,000 sq. ft.)Non-res.
• Façade
– Variations every 50 ft. or roof line changes
• Flat roofs
- Parapets no more than 2 ft. above roof
• Wall openings
- At least 25% window surface on street frontage
• Customer entrance
- Entrance defined with features (options given)
2.6.1 Floating Zones – NC
• In existing neighborhoods
• Buildings subject to compatibility standards
• NC lots located at intersection of two street
types (collector and/or arterial)
• Development standards address:
use, off-street parking, landscaping,
outdoor lighting, operation.
• Compatibility standards address:
setbacks & build-to lines, and building
height & massing,
2.7 Permitted Uses in C1
Household living
Multifamily dwelling (upper floors)
Office use
General Office, Office Business,
Medical or Dental Clinic
Commercial use
Banks, Bars/Taverns, Funeral Homes,
Hotel/Motel, Personal Services, Private
Clubs, Restaurant, Retail Sales, Theaters
2.7 Permitted Uses in C1 (continued)

Mixed use
Mixed use with residential uses
Public, Institutional or Recreational
Open space/conservation areas
Urban, public open space (plazas)
Public facilities
Essential services
Regional pipelines/utility transmissions,
Utility structures
2.7 Conditional Uses in C1

Household Living
Bed & Breakfast establishments
Commercial use
Parking lots
Mining Extraction
Public, Institutional or Recreational
Cultural institutions
Public access to rivers
Public/semi-public buildings
Religious institutions
2.7 Prohibited Uses in C1 (selected items)

Household living
Apartment house with 4-8 units
Auto Service Stations
Banquet Halls
Convenience stores
Day care facility
Gasoline station
Greenhouse, garden, landscaping sales
2.7 Prohibited Uses in C1 (selected items)

Industrial, Manufacturing, Research & Wholesale
Industrial use (indoors)
Research & development labs
Public, Institutional or Recreational Uses
Indoor recreational facilities
School (trade, business or other)
Public Facilities, Utilities
Public transit stations, bus stops or park &
ride lots
2.8.5 Commercial Use Category
(Defines various types of businesses)

Adult Uses Vet Clinics
Auto Service Stations Banks
Bars Rec. Vehicle Sales
Convenience Stores Gas Stations
Greenhouses Hotel/Motel
Kennels Motor Vehicle Sales
Personal services Private Clubs
Restaurant Retail Sales
2.10.4 Accessory Uses
(E) Home Business
Permitted Examples:
Art & craft work, Tailors, Offices (architect,
attorney, consultant, etc.), Physical therapy, Mail
order businesses, Pet grooming

Prohibited Examples:
Animal hospitals, Automotive repair, Scrap
yards, Fitness facility, Personal services
On-site sales
Home Business (continued)

Operating Standard examples:
• Business is secondary to full-time use as
• No more than one advertising sign not
exceeding 4 sq. ft.
• No window display or outdoor storage
• No vehicles on property other than residents’
passenger vehicles
• Customers limited to one at a time & only
between 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.
3.3.2 Outdoor Dining, Display,
and Storage (selected examples)

Outdoor dining on private property:
• Parking: “Uses in C1-B district are
exempt from off-street parking Space
Requirements.” 3.8.5
• Umbrellas must be secured
• Enclosing dining area with roof or
expansion of structure requires zoning
3.3.2 Outdoor Sale & Display

• Sales in vacant lots require a
temporary use permit.

• Merchandise on sidewalk must allow a
min. of 5 ft. of clear walkway.
3.3.2 Outdoor Storage:

• Prohibited on vacant lots & between
principal building & street.

• Permitted in side or rear yard.

• If more than 6 ft. high, requires a
screen of 6 ft. compatible with main
3.3.3 Outdoor Lighting Standards
Max. Height (C1): 10 ft. for non-cutoff;
20 for 90° cutoff
Illumination(C1): Max. footcandles across
property line = 2.5; at property line when
“adjacent to lot in the same district” = 0.1

Wall packs: Must be fully shielded, direct light
downward, used to light unsafe areas vs.
calling attention to the building.
3.5.5 NC Development
Use Limitations: no drive-through,
outdoor storage, or delivery services
Required: required off-street parking
Outdoor lighting: fully-shielded, max.
height of 15 ft.
Operation: limit outdoor activity by 8 p.m.
S-Th. & 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat.
3.7 Signage
Staff has reported,

“We are not making significant changes
to the sign regulations”
3.8.5 Off-street Parking

“Uses in C1-B district are exempt from
off-street parking Space
User Friendly Goals of New Code

• Reduce the number of conditional use
permit reviews,
• Provide clear regulations for developers,
and citizens, and
• Offer a more timely review process.
4.7 Development Review Committee
Function: Performs technical review
City Planner (chair)
Community Development Director
City Engineer, Building Official, Fire Chief
Additional staff members as needed:
Economic Development Manager,
Police Dept., City Attorney, DNR, Soil &
Water District
Proposed addition for consultation:
Architect, Design professional
Review Types 1 - 6
Type 1 City Planner Decision (alone; no DRC)
Request: Zoning Certificate
Temporary Use Permit
Construction Drawings (may ask City
engineer to review)
Administrative Lot Line Adjustment
Code Interpretation
Timeline: Decision within 15 days of application
Appeal: ZBA within 10 days of city planner

Submit Application City Planner
application Certification Decision
Review Types (continued):
Type 2 City Planner Decision with DRC
Request: Zoning Certificate
Temporary Use Permit
Flood Plain Permit
Amendment to the PD-O District
Appeal: ZBA within 10 days of city planner

Preapp. Submit App. City Planner
DRC Decision
meeting application certification
Review Type (continued)
Type 3 Planning Commission/HPC Decision

Request: Zoning Certificate
Amendment to the PD-O District
Site Plan Review
Certificate of Appropriateness
Conditional Use Permit
Options: City Planner may request a
neighborhood meeting
Applicant may request an informal
meeting with the PC
Appeal: District Count within 30 days
Review Type 3 (continued)

Neighbor- PC
Preapp. Submit
hood Informal
Meeting Meeting, i.r. Meeting, i.r. application

Public notice
App. PC
certification Decision
Staff report
Review Type (continued)
Type 4 Planning Commission Recommendation
& City Council Decision

Request: Heritage Preservation Site Designation
Major Subdivision Preliminary Plat
Zoning Map or Text Amendments to Code

Options: City Planner may request a neighborhood meeting;
required for subdivisions with 50+ lots
Applicant may request an informal meeting with
the PC
Rezoning for a floating zoning district can receive
an expedited review with joint meeting of
the City Council and planning Commission.

Appeal: Court having jurisdiction
Review Type 4 (continued)

Neighbor- PC
Preapp. Submit
hood Informal
Meeting Meeting, i.r. Meeting, i.r. application

Public notice
App. PC City Council
certification Recommends Decision
Staff report
Review Types (continued):
Type 5 City Council Decision (no PC

Request: Minor Subdivision and Lot
Major Subdiv. Final Plat
Appeal: Court
App. having
Public notice
jurisdictionCity C.
certification Staff Report Decision
Review Types (continued):
Type 6 ZBA Quasi-Judicial Decision
Request: Variance
Appeal: District Court

App. Public notice ZBA Review
Application DRC certification Staff Report & Decision
Proposed Timeline
for completion of Land Use Code
May 22
Current draft of code is posted on the city website
June 1
City Council decides on process for completion
Planning Commission works on code
Planning Commission accepts input from boards, commissions and
September - October
Planning Commission completes work, holds public hearing and
sends to City Council
City Council adopts LDC