Housing and Land Use

Mission:  The Housing and Land Use Committee provides an open forum for citizen participation in civil dialogue that applies City guidelines for land use in a way that recognizes the unique nature of our Macalester-Groveland residences, businesses and institutions and enhances the livability of our neighborhood.

The Housing and Land Use Committee makes recommendations to the board on zoning matters and attempts to resolve land use issues identified by residents and/or businesses. This committee does this by conducting public meetings and providing an opportunity for community members to voice their concerns and ask questions. The Committee uses the Macalester-Groveland Long Range Plan as a guide for evaluation.

Updates on current developments in Mac-Grove are available  here.

HLU Committee members have created a Rent Stabilization Working Group to consider the current ordinance and recommendations from the City of Saint Paul’s Rent Stabilization Stakeholders Group ( more info here). They will offer recommendations to the HLU Committee and Board of Directors for review. Email alexa@macgrove.org if you are interested in getting involved.

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This committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm. 

Agendas and Minutes
Previous Meetings

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Variance Applications

The Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission shall have the power to grant variances from the strict enforcement of the provisions of the code if they determine that all of the required findings listed below are met.

Required findings:

1. The variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the zoning code.

2. The variance is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

3. The applicant has established that there are practical difficulties in complying with the provision and that the property owner proposes to use the property in a reasonable manner not permitted by the provision. Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties.

4. The plight of the landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the landowner.

5. The variance will not permit any use that is not allowed in the zoning district where the affected land is located.

6. The variance will not alter the essential character of the surrounding area.

Learn more about variance applications and the Board of Zoning Appeals here.

Rezoning Applications

Rezoning is a change in use or density from that permitted in the existing zone.

In the City of Saint Paul, public hearings are conducted by the Planning Commission and the City Council for rezoning requests. The Planning Commission reviews the proposal and makes a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council makes the final decision for all rezoning applications.

Some of the issues that are evaluated by the City with respect to rezoning proposals include:

Compatibility with land use and zoning classification of property within the general area. Suitability of the property for the uses permitted under the existing zoning classification. The trend of development in the area of the property in question. Consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and District Plan.

The Planning Commission may act as the Board of Zoning Appeals and grant Zoning variances in accordance with the variance provisions in the Zoning Code.

Learn more about rezoning applications  here .

Conditional Use Permits

Conditional uses are permitted uses (of land and/or buildings) within zoning districts that are subject to additional requirements; they require permit per the zoning code. The  Planning Commission has the authority to issue Conditional Use Permits. The Planning Commission’s  Zoning Committee holds a public hearing for conditional use permits, and makes a recommendation to the Planning Commission for a final vote.

In addition to meeting all conditions listed under a specific use, there are general conditions that must be met for all Conditional Use Permits as follows:

1. The extent, location and intensity of the use will be in substantial compliance with the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan and any applicable subarea plans which were approved by the city council.

2. The use will provide adequate ingress and egress to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets.

3. The use will not be detrimental to the existing character of the development in the immediate neighborhood or endanger the public health, safety and general welfare.

4. The use will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district.

5. The use shall, in all other respects, conform to the applicable regulations of the district in which it is located.


1-4 Housing Study

Phase 2 is studying the potential to:

  • allow duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in more places,
  • change sizing and other standards to increase the amount of housing options,
  • and allow more types of single-family homes, such as cluster developments, townhomes, and ADUs.

For more information, visit  https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/planning-and-economic-development/planning/current-activities/1-4-unit-housing-study.

Zoning Study of Consent Petition Requirements for Certain Zoning Applications

The purpose of this zoning study is to review language in the zoning code requiring consent petitions for some nonconforming and conditional use permit applications that result in unnecessary hurdles to small-scale commercial and residential development and recommend amendments to address this. This study is one of 15 policy/implementation action priorities of the Planning Commission and helps implement 2040 Comprehensive Plan policies that support more housing, increased residential density, a mix of uses, and the opportunity for all residents to build wealth. The study proposes amendments to the required findings in the zoning code for nonconforming and conditional uses that require petitions.

For more information, visit  https://www.stpaul.gov/sites/default/files/2022-03/CNPC%20Memo%2003.16.2022%20packet.pdf.

Upcoming Meetings and Events