Minnesota’s Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Program (MRCCA) program guides land development through local government plans and zoning regulations to protect the corridor’s natural, cultural and scenic resources. Starting in January 2020 and going through approximately December 2022, all local governments will be updating their MRCCA zoning regulations to be consistent with the MRCCA rules adopted in 2017. The MRCCA rules establish new districts and standards. Until a local government updates its MRCCA regulations to incorporate the new districts and standards (described on this page), the old districts and standards apply. The following table shows the status for each community:
MRCCA community ordinance adoption status as of November 29, 2023
|Local MRCCA Regulations Not Yet Updated - Old MRCCA districts and standards apply||Local MRCCA Regulations Updated - New MRCCA districts and standards apply||No Local MRCCA Regulations - New MRCCA districts and standards apply|
Property owners should contact their local city or township zoning staff with questions about relevant standards and permit requirements that apply to their property. The DNR’s role is to ensure that local government MRCCA zoning regulations comply with the rules and to provide technical assistance and oversight to local governments.
Communities requesting flexibility
Communities may request to adopt ordinance standards not consistent with the MRCCA rules under a process called “flexibility requests for ordinances” found in Minn. R. 6106.0070 Subp. 6. The following communities have submitted flexibility requests:
Local government MRCCA zoning regulations
Local government MRCCA regulations are administered as a zoning overlay district. Within the MRCCA district, local governments issue permits for building and construction, vegetation management and removal, and land alteration. They also make decisions on variances and conditional use permits. Permitting decisions are guided by standards that vary by MRCCA district and the presence of primary conservation areas.
The 2017 MRCCA rules establish six districts within the MRCCA overlay zoning district. These will eventually replace old districts currently listed in local zoning regulations as cities and townships bring their ordinances into compliance with the rules. MRCCA districts determine structure setbacks from bluffs and the river, as well as structure height.
Primary conservation areas
Primary Conservation Areas (PCAs) are key resources identified in the 2017 MRCCA rules and in local MRCCA plans. The rules (and local zoning regulations that comply with the rules) include standards and special permits to protect PCAs from building and construction, vegetation management and removal, and land alteration activities.
Contact your local government planning and zoning office/department.