Minneapolis Zoning Restriction

10 Replies | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hi All,

I came across a 5-plex that is zone as R5 and the seller is saying that there is a potential to add 1 additional unit making it into a 6 unit complex. I did some research on the official website about R5 zoning and didn't see anything that said I can't do it. I just want to see if anyone of you have experience in this. Is there any red flag? Anything I could be missing? Thx in advance.

Different municipalities have different zoning definitions.  One property my brother owns is zoned R3 (in that city MF up to 3 units) however it has more than 3 units.  Talked to the city, etc before hand as it had 3 units, separate storage, and storefront and the city said to ignore that.  His use was good.  

Cities look at these widely different.  Some are more aggressive in pushing to conforming uses and some are more friendly.  I am currently considering a property zoned CBD, that is a duplex.  My hope was to convert to a triplex.  After research and discussion with the city - The property is CBD now, was R1 prior, and in this city a duplex is OK for R1 under a conditional use permit....  The house has had continued use as a duplex so I could purchase and leave as is but I could not go to a triplex as it was not a permitted use under the newer or older zoning... Lot to spit out there...

Have to watch out on zoning - what was a permitted use (residential) can be lost due to periods of vacancy.  Even more common with many cities wanting to spruce up main street.

Can get complicated.  Just call the city and ask them.  

@Tim Swierczek

I have gotten zoning changed/added units in the past. First step is to go to City Planning and have them look at it and give their opinion. they take a conservative approach but will give you details you would run into any issues. Be aware that just because zoning allows up to 1 more unit, building code may not make it possible so come prepared with some knowledge of how/where the unit gets added. If adding a unit to the basement, the ceiling height for anything from a triplex and bigger is 7'6" which is different than residential ceiling heights in a SFH or duplex which can be 6'4".

@John Woodrich and @Bruce Runn   I ran across this discussion today while I was researching single family conversions to multifamily zoning issues. It looks like soon after this discussion thread was created, Minneapolis lifted zoning restrictions for SF-->2-3 unit MF... Is that correct?  Have you had any experience doing these conversions since the zoning was changed?  Are there a lot of investors in the city doing this now? Thanks for any input in advance!!!

@Jed Burkey

I recently finished building a triplex just in advance of the 2040 plan to allow up to triplexes anywhere. Since it just passed this month, no one would have completed anything yet. I have a duplex sitting there waiting on a reno to add a unit but an to see if an ADU or conversion to triplex will be better. I also have an empty lot in South Minneapolis that I may sell off or build on depending on how much time I have.

What you will see is conversions of SFH to duplexes as that is pretty easy. Over 60% of the homes in MPLS were zoned R1 or R1A (restricted to SFH homes) so they are now available to be expanded or replaced by a duplex or triplex. I will share that it is difficult to convert any SFH or duplex to a triplex as you go from IRC building code (1-2 family homes) to IBC building codes which are much more restrictive as it is for any commercial building which is any 3+ unit including 100-200 unit apartments so there is sound and fire ratings that have to be adhered to.

Hope this helps.

@Bruce Runn Thanks so much for that reply! Very helpful. So did the 2040 plan lift all zoning barriers for single family? e.g, ADU's are not restricted on SF lots and no restrictions to convert up to a triplex (except for the added cost of complying with IBC codes on triplex conversions)? I live in Omaha and am frustrated with zoning here, but I really like the concept of conversions/ADU's. If you're interested in funding partners, I'd love to visit with you sometime.

@Jed Burkey

A general answer is pretty much yes, those restrictions have been lifted- there will continue to be an implementation of the zoning ordinances which are ongoing.  I wish you luck but Unfortunately, I don’t take on any partners