Development Review Process

The Unified Development Ordinance is the core of the City of Faribault's development approval process. This ordinance contains all of the City’s subdivision and zoning regulations and design standards. All land within the City is contained within a specific zoning district. The Unified Development Ordinance establishes standards for each zoning district including types of permitted, conditional or accessory uses allowed; minimum lot dimensions and setbacks; and development standards related to parking, site design, landscaping, and signage.

When a property owner or developer undertakes to develop property in Faribault, various processes must be completed to ensure the project is properly and legally coordinated. The various processes that may apply to a project are as follows:
  • Subdivision or Platting
  • Rezoning
  • Conditional Use Permit
  • Interim Use Permit
  • Variance
  • Site Plan Review
  • Zoning Certificate

The Planning and Zoning Division has developed a Development Review and Approval Process Flow Chart (pdf) to demonstrate how a development proposal precedes though the approval process with the City. This flow chart can generally be applied to all required processes, except approval of a compliant one-, two-, or three- family dwelling, which requires only staff review and issuance of a Zoning Certificate.

Pre-application Meeting

The first step in any development process is a pre-application meeting between the property owner/ developer and City Staff. At this meeting Staff and the developer, including the developer’s representatives such as engineer, surveyor, architect, etc., review and discuss preliminary project details. This is an early opportunity to identified project goals, zoning and land use requirements and standards, and the required review and approval process/s. It is also at this time that opportunities and challenges associated with the project are preliminarily identified. Complicated or controversial projects will likely require more than one such meeting.

Application and Formal Submittal

Based on discussion during the pre-application phase, the developer prepares and submits more detailed and formal plans for the project and, if required, makes application for land use or zoning approval/s. The information submitted at this stage is detailed enough for the project to proceed through the formal review and approval process. Planning and Zoning Staff review the information provided and prepare a report comparing the proposed development to the land use and zoning standards of the City. This report, accompanied by plans and other supporting information, is distributed to members of the Development Review Committee for review.

Review by the Development Review Committee

The Development Review Committee (DRC) is comprised of staff members from the various city departments that have an interest in land use and zoning issues. Committee members receive a report for each land use or zoning request prior to their regularly scheduled meeting to ensure a productive and informed discussion at the meeting. Planning and Zoning staff introduce each request and provide a summary presentation of the main elements of the project. Committee members ask questions and make comments regarding the project, based on each member’s specific area of expertise. The Committee makes recommendations regarding plan modifications, conditions of approval, and whether the project should be approved or denied. Projects that are complex or require one or more zoning or land use approvals commonly require more than one review by the Development Review Committee.

After review of a proposal by the DRC, comments and recommendations are communicated by Planning and Zoning staff to the developer. Any required plan revisions are made by the developer and submitted to the City, along with any additional information requested by the DRC. There may be additional meetings between the developer and staff during this time. If necessary, a second DRC review occurs.

If a project only requires site plan review, once updated plans are submitted to Planning and Zoning, a Zoning Certificate is issued and the developer can apply for a building permit. If a project requires other land use or zoning approvals, e.g. plat, variance, conditional use permit, the application proceeds to the Planning Commission.

Planning Commission-Additional Process Involved

Planning and Zoning Staff prepare a detailed report for the Planning Commission, including all necessary attachments as provided by the developer. The report will describe the proposed project in detail and analyze the appropriateness of the requested land use action on the property and in the neighborhood, provide a recommendation to approve or deny the request, provide recommended conditions for approval if applicable, and make findings of fact related to the recommended course of action. A copy of the report will be provided to the developer and any other interested parties upon their request, other members of staff and Planning Commission members.

The Planning Commission conducts a public hearing and discusses the request based on its land use and zoning implications and merits; adopts a recommendation to approve or deny the request based on supporting findings of fact related to the recommended course of action; and adopts recommended conditions of approval, if applicable. The Planning Commission’s recommendation is forwarded to the City Council for formal action.

City Council Action

Planning and Zoning Staff prepares a memorandum summarizing the proposed project and request, public input from the public hearing, and Planning Commission’s discussion and recommendation. In addition, a resolution or ordinance, which is the formal instruments that convey decisions by the City Council on land use and zoning request, is drafted as recommended by the Planning Commission.

At a regular business meeting, the City Council conducts a public hearing and discusses the request, and either approves, usually with conditions, or denies the request. A signed copy of the resolution or ordinance conveying the decision of the City Council is provided to the developer. The resolution or ordinance is recorded with the Rice County Recorder’s Office.

Building Permit

Upon approval of a land use or zoning request by the City Council, the developer may apply for a building permit for the project. A building permit application must be accompanied by the site development and landscape plan, building elevations, building plans and any other information or plans required by Staff. Once the developer submits a complete building permit application and associated plans and documents, the plans and a project status sheet are routed to the various City Departments for final review, comment, and approval as necessary. Once all department comments have been addressed and the permit is signed or stamped by each department, the building permit can be issued.

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