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GreenStep City Best Practices Land Use

Mixed Uses
no. 8

Develop efficient land patterns that generate community health and wealth.
  Best Practice Action 7      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ]       [all actions]

Create incentives for vertical mixed-use development in appropriate locations (downtown, commercial districts near colleges or universities, historic commercial districts).

  • The Sprawl Repair Manual (Island Press: 2010), illustrated with drawings and detailed strategies, examines three broad categories of suburbs (pre-1920s, 1920s-1980s, post-1980s) and proposes detailed strategies including preservation and transformation into more human-scaled, more financial and ecologically sustainable places.
  • Model live-work and 20 other mixed-use model ordinances in Smart Codes: Model Land-Development Regulations (American Planning Association's PAS Report 556: 2003). See also Building a Single-Stair Walk-up, design thresholds for a 2-3 story mixed use or pure apartment building that meet the fire/life safety requirements of the International Building Code and the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
Two or more uses in multi-story buildings favored in the comp plan with overall goals or design guidelines.
Adopt incentives (density bonus, development assistance) for vertical mixed use development such as housing above commercial, shared parking in the downtown core.
An incentive and/or requirement for inclusionary (affordable) housing in at least one development; live/work vertical units allowed by right.


Date action report first entered:   05/23/2012

Implementation details:
ONE STAR: Burnsvilles comprehensive plan promotes mixed use in many different sections of the plan. The Future Land Use Planning (Chapter 2 of Comprehensive Plan) introduction of goals begin by saying that Burnsville will continue to establish new standards to guide future redevelopment and maintain a balance between residential, commercial and industrial land uses. Although the goals for Future Land Use Planning do not specifically state the promotion of mixed use, or vertical mixed use, this concept is addressed in three other sections of this Future Land Use Planning Chapter, as follows: (1) As part of Burnsvilles vacant and underutilized site analysis in Ch. 2 of Comp Plan, yield plans were prepared that all recommend mixed use typically with residential provided on upper floors of multi-story buildings (Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 11, p 18, 5.2). (2) As part of Burnsvilles aging retail strip center redevelopment analysis in Ch. 2 of Comp Plan, mixed use is utilized; and the plan states the residential component will typically be in addition to the existing business square footage/floor areas because anticipated residential will be in the form of attached units located above lower level business or incorporated as row homes/townhomes in addition to the business use(Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 11, p22-23, 6.1). (3) As part of Burnsvilles Neighborhood Centers Redevelopment Analysis, yield plans were created that all recommend a minimum percentage of mixed use (Appendix T of Comprehensive Plan, Neighborhood Center Yield Plans, is attached). Burnsville created design guidelines for their downtown district, known as HOC, that suggests recommended design objectives. These objectives suggest overall character without dictating specific design requirements. They are qualitative, not quantitative, so there are not strict written standards for mixed use (reference visuals in HOC Design Manual; page III-8 H, I, L, M, N & P). Also, in the HOC Design Manuals, it is written in the factors that influence redevelopment that the demand figures assume that a variety of uses will be developed in a compact form and that a mix of uses will occur within most buildings. TWO STAR: Density Bonus Guidelines have been developed in the MIX Zoning District: Multiple-family housing, as part of a mixed use development or freestanding, may pursue an increase in density up to twenty five percent (25%) through a reduction in the required lot area per unit, based on the following bonus features and square foot reductions: (1) Underground parking - 1 parking space per efficiency and 1 bedroom unity and 2 parking. THREE STAR: The HOC District received Livable Communities grant funds for mixed use with 20% of the housing option in the HOC planned as work force or affordable housing. Grande Market Place is a private mixed use development and the public CDA Townhomes within HOC both have affordable housing units (50 apartment units and 34 townhomes respectively). Grand Market Place offers 113 studio through 2-bedroom apartments and 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. 50% of the apartment units are affordable to people with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income. The city has a livable communities agreement with the Met Council and as of 2007, Burnsville was one of the top 20 metro area communities for LCA Housing Performance Scores.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Residential Density Bonuses in the MIXED USE DISTRICT: Multiple-family housing, as part of a mixed use development or freestanding, may pursue an increase in density up to twenty five percent (25%) through a reduction in the required lot area per unit, based on the following bonus features and square foot reductions: 1. Underground Parking: 1 parking space per efficiency and 1 bedroom unit and 2 parking spaces per 2 or more bedroom units is provided within an underground parking structure attached to the principal building. Square Foot Reduction to Lot Area Per Unit = 200. 2. Registered Green Building: Building must be a registered green building (any level) in accordance with the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). Square Foot Reduction to Lot Area Per Unit = 300. 3. Public Transit: The site is located within 300 feet of a bus stop or transit station and the site design provides pedestrian connections to the bus stop or transit station. Square Foot Reduction to Lot Area Per Unit = 300. 4. Recreation, Indoor: The mixed use or multiple-family building provides an indoor recreation and/or social room equal to 25 square feet per unit. Square Foot Reduction to Lot Area Per Unit = 100. (Ord. 1247, 9-20-2011)

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.burnsville.mn.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1786             view file

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions

White Bear Lake

Date action report first entered:   03/05/2013

Implementation details:
The City provides density bonuses for including affordable housing in a project in R-6 and R-7. Overall goals for mixed use are guided through the City comprehensive plan.

For more information contact:
Connie Taillon (City staff)   |   ctaillon@whitebearlake.org   |   651-429-8564

View All White Bear Lake Actions


Date action report first entered:   11/01/2016
Date of last report update:   01/17/2017
Year action initially completed:   2010

Implementation details:
Some zone districts in Duluth have height incentives; in form districts there are certain building types where some uses are only allowed on upper floors.

For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff)   |   afulton@hermantownmn.com   |   218-729-3618

View All Duluth Actions

Elk River

Date action report first entered:   11/24/2010

Implementation details:
In the downtown area, the City provided tax-increment financing for condominium and apartment projects where businesses were housed on the street level. In addition, the City has identified other areas where multi-level housing and services are appropriate, particularly near the Elk River Train Station.

For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff)   |   ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov   |   763-635-1068

View All Elk River Actions

Fergus Falls

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls has had a downtown funding program since 1979 that funds the whole commercial building, commercial and residential. This has been proposed that the RTC is in a B-3 zone with 15 years of property tax forgiveness.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

View All Fergus Falls Actions

Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   10/25/2016
Date of last report update:   12/05/2016
Year action initially completed:   2008

Implementation details:
The 2008 comprehensive plan included a proposal for the I-394 mixed use district which encompassed requirements for a mix of uses in specific areas as well as development standards based on the design guidelines from the general report. Live/work vertical units are allowed in the I-394 mixed use district. Shared parking is allowed in some areas. The 2040 comprehensive plan will give support to more mixed use planning and will expand the number of potential locations across the City.

For more information contact:
Jason Zimmerman (City staff)   |   jzimmerman@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   (763)-593-8099

View All Golden Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
The DC Zoning District does not have a prescribed maximum density limit.

For more information contact:
John Hinzman (City staff)   |   jhinzman@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-2378

View All Hastings Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/17/2017
Date of last report update:   12/17/2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City has adopted the Urban Progress(UP) Zone which targets urban development, infill, and redevelopment of commercial or residential properties within the zone to concentrate reinvestment in Moorhead's downtown, near downtown, and transitional areas. Applicable projects are eligible for building improvement tax exemptions.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/business/incentive-programs/redevelopment-programs

For more information contact:
Dan Mahli (City staff)   |   dan.mahli@cityofmoorhead.com   |   218-299-5314

View All Moorhead Actions

New Brighton

Date action report first entered:   05/03/2016
Date of last report update:   05/03/2016

Implementation details:
New Brighton’s MX, Mixed Use and NBE, New Brighton Exchange zoning districts provide for vertical mixed use development, including mixed residential and commercial and mixed industrial and commercial or professional office that aim to provide a flexible framework for intensely development mixed used centers that will be a vibrant and active place where people can live, work, shop, play and be entertained. Uses must be consistent with the development goals and guidelines outlined in the Old Highway 8 Corridor and Vision for the Heart of New Brighton studies.

For more information contact:
Craig Schlichting (City staff)   |   craig.schlichting@newbrightonmn.gov   |   651-638-2056

View All New Brighton Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/14/2011

Implementation details:
Rochesters zoning ordinance provides incentives for mixed use development and for walkability and transit access. See 8.5 as well.

For more information contact:
Jeff Ellerbusch (City staff)   |   ellerbusch.jeff@CO.OLMSTED.MN.US   |   507-328-7132

View All Rochester Actions

Apple Valley

Date action report first entered:   03/19/2012

Implementation details:
The City has used various incentives to create vertical mixed use development in the Central Village area of the Downtown district.

For more information contact:
Charless Grawe (City staff)   |   CGrawe@ci.apple-valley.mn.us   |   952-953-2508

View All Apple Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/11/2011

Implementation details:
Land cost write downs are available in the Cedar Grove Redevelopment District to encourage high density mixed use development, either by vertical mixed use or combinations of uses in closer proximity than other zoning districts permit.

For more information contact:
Eric MAcbeth (City staff)   |   emacbeth@cityofeagan.com   |   651/675-5330

View All Eagan Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/28/2016
Date of last report update:   04/28/2016

Implementation details:
The zoning code encourages space above businesses to be used as residential and office space.

For more information contact:
Harold Langowski (City staff)   |   elyod@ely.mn.us   |   218-226-5474

View All Ely Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/05/2012

Implementation details:
(See Two Links Below) Vertical-mixed use development is specifically outlined within the City's Comprehensive Plan. The Mixed Land Use category is intended to capture anticipated redevelopment initiatives associated with the proposed LRT stations. Each station area is likely to redevelop in a mixed-use type fashion. The plan calls for redevelopment such that there is small commercial on the main floor with residential on the upper floors.Below are the links that provides specific information about land use and development in the City of Hopkins. Pages 9-11 of the second link provides data of how vertical mixed use will be integrated into the Station Area plans. http://www.hopkinsmn.com/transportation/pdf/station-area-planning-doc.pdf http://www.hopkinsmn.com/transportation/pdf/station-area-report.pdf

For more information contact:
Kersten Elverum (City staff)   |   kelverum@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6340

View All Hopkins Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/22/2012
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
The comprehensive plan for the City of Maplewood gives greater support to more mixed use planning within the city's commercial hubs.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.maplewood.mn.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1480

For more information contact:
Michael Martin (City staff)   |   michael.martin@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2303

View All Maplewood Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/07/2012

Implementation details:
Rosemount provides incentives for vertical mixed use development through both its comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance. The DT - Downtown land use category allows for a mix of residential, commercial and civic uses with densities of up to 40 units/acre. The specific zoning standards are detailed in the DT - Downtown zoning district that allows building up to 45 feet in height.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The City recently used its PUD ordinance to provide incentives through flexible zoning standards to develop Waterford Commons, a 108 rental unit building with 13,000 square feet of commercial space.

            view file

For more information contact:
Anthony Nemcek (City staff)   |   anthony.nemcek@ci.rosemount.mn.us   |   651-322-2090

View All Rosemount Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/07/2017
Date of last report update:   12/07/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Although the City does not currently have a financial incentive the Comprehensive Plan has numerous references which support mixed-uses in multi-story buildings specifically in the future Town Square area. Lots within the Town Square area allow for vertical mixed-use development. See page 13 from the attached link to our Comprehensive Plan.

Descriptive links: http://www.sartellmn.com/Websites/sartellmn/images/5%20Planning%20Final.pdf

For more information contact:
Nate Keller (City staff)   |   nate.keller@sartellmn.com   |   320-258-7316

View All Sartell Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/25/2013

Implementation details:
Yes - The Mixed Uses category in the Comprehensive Plan permits a variety of land uses, including horizontally or vertically mixed residential, commercial, office, and/or business park uses that are integrated through design features. The intent of this designation is to create areas within the community for a variety of land uses that will serve and complement one another. Development within these districts will tend to require flexibility from the strict guidelines of the development code. Designation has been established to provide opportunities for innovative design, high quality standards for development, incentives for redevelopment, preservation/enhancement of natural features and efficient use of the land.

Descriptive links: http://www.shoreviewmn.gov/pdfs/comprehensive-plan/CPLand_Use.pdf

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/24/2013

Implementation details:
Although there is not an incentive per se, Section 24-146(a)(3) regulates the Mixed Use Overlay District and states: “Promote high-density residential development within either underlying zoning district including, but not limited to, vertical mix of land uses within various structures.”

For more information contact:
Mark Huonder (City staff)   |   mhuonder@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3535

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Austin pending

Date action report first entered:   04/03/2012

Implementation details:
Student housing adjacent to Riverland Community College

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

Craig Hoium

View All Austin Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Brian Ross, Senior Communities Program Director, Great Plains Institute: 612/767-7296, bross@gpisd.net, https://www.betterenergy.org/who-we-are/staff-and-consultants/