City Detail

Background Information

City of Chanhassen
County: Carver,Hennepin
Population: 26088
GreenStep City category: A
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 73
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Jill Sinclair
City Staff
952-227-1133
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 2 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 20
1 star actions: 3
2 star actions: 5
3 star actions: 12

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

3 star - Action 5:

Conserve/protect drinking/groundwater resources by creating a water-wise landscaping ordinance/guidance, WaterSense purchasing program, or guidance on rainwater harvesting and home water softener use.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2009
Implementation details:
The city of Chanhassen offers landscape rebates to residents who remove irrigated lawn and replace it with un-irrigated perennial landscaping. The city also offers free irrigation audits to all property owners, including HOAs and businesses. A city utility worker is a WaterSense certified irrigation auditor and performs the inspections. The city had also received a grant in the past to offer rebates to residents who buy or replace their irrigation controllers with Smart Controllers. Commercial and industrial developments are reviewed for stormwater re-use for irrigation needs and opportunities. Irrigation re-use has been approved by the city for stormwater ponds and underground tanks on commercial and industrial sites. The city is also working with HOAs to implement re-use irrigation from ponds for all common areas.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Individual property owners should see a reduction in their water usage over the summer months after removing areas of irrigated lawn. For irrigation audits, property owners should also see a reduction in water usage as well as possible improvements to lawn health due to corrections made to broken equipment or inefficient spray patterns.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Land Use Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans {BP no.6}

2 star - Action 1:

Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1982
Implementation details:
The City of Chanhassen adopted its first Comprehensive Plan in 1982. Its most recent update created the 2040 Comp Plan which is currently under review and is anticipated to be approved in early 2019. Focuses for the 2040 plan included solar energy and sustainability goals.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
2 star - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city of Chanhassen's Comprehensive Plan is referenced often in Chapter 20 - Zoning in the City Code. Other chapters that use it as a foundation document inlcude Chapter 2 - Administration, Ch. 7 - Building and Building regulations, Ch 15 - Planning and Development and Ch. 18 - Subdivisions.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
2 star - Action 3:

Include requirements in comprehensive and/or other plans for intergovernmental coordination addressing regional land use and watershed / wellhead impacts, infrastructure, transportation, economic development and city/regional services.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Chanhassen has incorporated coordination of jurisdictions in several planning documents inlcuding the Comprehensive Plan, the Bluff Creek Management Plan, and the Surface Water Management Plan. Examples of directed coordination include:
• Chanhassen will work with other jurisdiction to combine resources. This includes coordinating and collaborating with cities, counties, Southwest Metro Transit, school districts, and the state on projects of mutual interest such as libraries, public works, collective waste management, arts, transit, recreation, etc.

• The city will cooperate with other governmental units and public agencies to streamline, simplify, and coordinate the reviews required for residential development to avoid inflating the cost of housing due to unnecessary delays in the review process.

• Continue to work with the Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District in implementing the Bluff Creek Natural Resource Plan. Use the plan to guide future development in protecting natural resources in the Creek corridor.

• Partner with surrounding communities to create inter-community trail connections that enable users to travel to surrounding communities and regional trails without having to ‘jump’ between different trails and sidewalks.

• Maintain primary responsibility for managing water resources at the local level and continue coordination and cooperation with other agencies and organizations
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Resilient City Growth {BP no.7}

2 star - Action 1:

Limit barriers to higher density housing by including in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The PUD district permits densities from 8 – 16 units per acre for properties that are guided residential medium or residential high density.

The RLM and R-8 districts would permit densities of up to 8 units per acre for properties guided medium density residential.

The CBD district has no density limitations. The limiting factor is providing sufficient parking to comply with city standards.
Outcome measures/metrics:
An example of the CBD is The Venue Apartments currently under construction in downtown Chanhassen by the developer Chanhassen Frontier, LLC. This development has a density of 33 units per acre and is located adjacent to a park and ride ramp, is accessible via sidewalks and trails to other commercial and office opportunities in the downtown.
Descriptive File:
Chanhassen Frontier LLC
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
3 star - Action 2:

Achieve higher density housing through at least two of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The PUD district permits lot flexibility and would allow a density bonus of up to 25 percent for hte provision of affordable housing. The PUD district also permits desity transfer within a development to preserve natural features. The Bluff Creek Overlay District requires the use of density transfer for the preservation of primary creek corridor. The RLM district permits smaller lot sizes with the preservation of significant,natural, upland areas.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
1 star - Action 3:

Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Both the PUD district and CBD district permit zero-lot line development.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
3 star - Action 4:

Provide incentives for infill projects, or for life-cycle housing at or near job or retail centers, or for achieving an average net residential density of seven units per acre.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
See Ch. 20, Art VIII and Art. XVIII
The city has created Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts for affordable and senior housing projects including 35 of 76 zero-lot line homes in the North Bay development, 48 affordable units in Gateway Place, and 35 affordable of 161 units in Sommerwood Senior Housing development.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Additional completed projects that include life-cycle housing at or near job or retails centers include: Southwest Village townhouses at the Park and Ride station, The Venue apartments adjoined to a grocery retailer and next to a transit station and Mission Hills Senior Housing near transit and retail.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Design for Natural Resource Conservation {BP no.10}

3 star - Action 3:

For cities within metropolitan areas, incorporate woodland best management practices addressing protection of wooded areas into zoning or development review.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1991
Implementation details:
Since the early 1990's, the city's Comprehensive Plan as well as Zoning and Subdivision ordinances all prioritize the preservation of woodlands. The Comp Plan highlights the potential for greenways on undeveloped land where woodlands are present and can serve as future green corridors and the importance of woodlands being preserved in tact as a habitat and community resource. The Subdivision ordinance puts a premium on woodland preservation and requires an inventory and protection plan in addition to conservation easements to ensure permanent protection of the areas. Where existing woodlands are removed or there is a loss of trees that would otherwise be used to meet the canopy coverage retention requirement, the developer shall develop a woodland replacement plan. The zoning code encourages non-residential development to preserve woodlands as buffers to adjacent land uses and when tree planting is requiring placing trees in groupings as extensions of existing woodlands.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
3 star - Action 6:

Conserve natural, cultural, historic resources by adopting or amending city codes and ordinances to support sustainable sites, including roadsides, and environmentally protective land use development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1991
Implementation details:
In 1991, the city of Chanhasen passed ordinances aimed at the protection of steep slopes/bluffs, trees, and green space. The Bluff Protection ordinance prohibits any development on steep slopes and requires setbacks for all structures. The Tree Preservation ordinance requires the protection of existing tree cover on sites up for development and preserves woodlands through zoning or conservation easements. The Bluff Creek Overlay District identifies the primary corridor of Bluff Creek within the city and protects all natural areas along the creek. This ordinances has protected a greenway running the length of the city that includes woodlands, prairies and wetlands.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Community Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

1 star - Action 1:

Certify as a Tree City USA.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1994
Implementation details:
The city of Chanhassen has been a Tree City USA since 1994.
Outcome measures/metrics:
By participating in the Tree City USA program, the city annually audits its forestry accomplishments and expenditures. As the city has grown, so too has the impact of the city's commitment to the urban forest.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
2 star - Action 4:

Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
West 78th Street is Chanhassen's main street and has been a priority planting area since it was upgraded in the early '90s. Center islands are planted with trees and shrubs as well as boulevard areas. Businesses are required to install boulevard trees and parking lot landscaping.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Boulevard trees are planted every 40 feet
Descriptive File:
3 star - Action 5:

Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1989
Implementation details:
In the late 1980's, the city of Chanhassen adopted a Tree Preservation Ordinance that placed an emphasis on protecting existing trees during development. The ordinance sets minimums for preservation during development and enacted penalties when the minimums were not met. Over the years the city has refined the ordinance to reflect best practices for tree preservation.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The ordinance requires a percentage of the site to have tree cover thereby distributing canopy cover. Species selection is also factored in, helping to guarantee long term viability. Preservation violations are penalized at a 2:1 ratio and inspections are done throughout the construction in ensure proper implementation.
Descriptive File:
3 star - Action 6:

Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1992
Implementation details:
The city of Chanhassen first hired a tree inspector/forestry intern in 1992. In 1994, the city created a full-time city forester position. The city forester is involved in projects from planning, engineering, park and rec and public works.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The city forester oversees planting and maintenance activities for all public trees creating pruning schedules, planting goals, insect and disease monitoring. The forester also implements city code pertaining to trees in regards to disease and pest inspections, development review, and planting specifications, including species selection that emphasizes tree diversity. The forester is available to assist any resident with tree-related questions or concerns.
Descriptive File: view file

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

1 star - Action 5:

Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The city recently adopted an ordinance allowing permeable pavement or pavers within the city.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

3 star - Action 1:

Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city of Chanhassen implements an annual Park and Trail Acquisition and Development Capital Improvement Program. Additionally, the city maintains a Parks and Recreation System Inventory. These documents identify park deficient areas, trail gaps, trail crossing safety concerns, capital improvement projects, existing conditions, vision and guiding principles, initiatives and funding options. The city has a shared use agreement with the local school district for public use of outdoor facilities outside of school hours. The city has partnered with the school to build facilities such as hockey rink, tennis and pickleball courts, warming house and ball fields. The city has also prioritized building and connecting public walking/biking trails to regional LRT trails and trails connecting to neighboring communities.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The park inventory shows the establishment of a neighborhood park within ½ mile of each household, connected by a series of trails and sidewalks
Descriptive File:
ISD 112; ISD 276; Carver County; Hennepin County; State of Minnesota; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum; Watershed Districts, Victoria, Chaska, Shorewood, Eden Prairie, Supporting Consultants
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
3 star - Action 2:

Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Chanhassen’s Park and Recreation System is a source of community identity and pride and greatly contribute to residents’ quality of life. The City’s strong history of planning for parks and recreation has resulted in a balanced system of active parks, passive natural areas, trails and recreation programs that today is treasured by residents. The City’s park and Recreation System Plan is the results of 50 years of planning and City and citizen commitment. In addition to adding parks and trails to the system in conjunction with development, the community has supported major initiatives for park improvements throughout the years. City Code Sect 18-79 requires that as a prerequisite to subdivision approval, applicants shall dedicate land for parks, playgrounds, public open spaces and trails and/or shall make a cash contribution to the city’s park and trail fund. In residential subdivisions, one acre of buildable land shall be conveyed to the city by warranty deed for every 75 people the subdivided land could house.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Chanhassen funds an annual Park and Trail Acquisition and Development Program and an annual Park Replacement Schedule.
Descriptive File:
Carver County, Hennepin county, State of Minnesota, Developers
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133
3 star - Action 3:

Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Chanhassen Owns and maintains almost 1,000 acres of parks, preserves and open space. There are 30 community and neighborhood parks, 14 park preserves, and 1 special use park. Facilities include 27 playgrounds, 21 picnic shelters, 5 swimming beaches, 16 tennis courts, 10 pickleball courts, 28 diamond fields, 21 rectangular fields, 20 basketball courts, 6 sledding hills, 4 sand volleyball courts, 1 skate park, 1 disc golf course, 1 community garden, 7 public docks, 3 public fishing piers, 10 outdoor skating/hockey rinks, 1 dog park and 1 recreation center. Public park locations are distributed in a planned pattern that delivers a park within ½ mile of each residence.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Chanhassen’s Comprehensive Plan has 12.1% of the City guided for parks/open space.
Descriptive File:
Carver County, ISD 112, ISD 276, Watershed Districts, United States Government, State of Minnesota
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Septic Systems {BP no.21}

3 star - Action 3:

Clarify/establish one or more responsible management entities for the proper design, siting, installation, operation, monitoring and maintenance of septic systems.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2011
Implementation details:
The city adopted Carver County's SSTS, which was based on MN state rules and MPCA guidelines, in 2011 and assumed responsibility for monitoring, compliance and inspections. The city added customized setbacks for bluffs and shoreland as well as escrow requirements if inspections can't be done due to frozen soil.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Local Food {BP no.27}

3 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2002
Implementation details:
The city started a community garden in 2002 and a community orchard in 2015. In 2003, the city partnered with local residents to start the Chanhassen Farmers Market. At least 32% of the population lives within a mile of the community gardens and orchard; 38% live within a mile of the farmer's market; and 33% live within a mile of a CSA drop point.
Outcome measures/metrics:
There are 75 plots in the Commmunity Gardens, including three raised beds, and all are filled each season with a mix of mostly returning and some new gardeners. The orchard is adjacent to the gardens and contains red and yellow raspberry bushes, apple and cherry trees that all bear fruit each summer. The city invites the public to use the fruit. The Chanhassen Farmers Market is a vibrant weekly event running spring to fall with a variety of vendors offering produce and homemade items.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff) | jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us | 952-227-1133