Planning Procedure FAQ

How can I find development standards applicable to my project in order to comply with the City Code?

Planning staff is available to help you determine any setback, parking or other standard/special requirements for your property. You can contact us by phone at 952-563-8920, by email (, or by stopping by the Planning Division Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. To 4:30 p.m.

How do I file Final Site and Building Plans for my project?

Final site and building plan (FS&BP) approval is required in all zoning districts prior to the issuance of any permit for a new building, building addition, parking lot expansion or site characteristic modification, except single family dwelling and accessory structures for a two family dwelling are exempt.  FS&BP may be approved administratively or require a hearing at the Planning Commission, City Council or both.  City staff reviews all final site and building plans and make recommendation for any changes administratively or to the Planning Commission.  Additional development standards may be added by condition to assure that the proposed development is compatible with adjacent land uses.  Check out City Code Section 21.501.01 for more information on Final Site and Building Plans.

  • Information on Plan submission requirements
  • Development application review handout
    Summary of the process and procedures that govern development applications.
  • Flow chart of the Public Hearing process
  • Download an application (Online submittal required - call (952) 563-8920 to discuss an application before proceeding)

What is a Conditional Use Permit?

A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is described in Section 21.501.04.  A CUP is processed by the Planning Division.  A CUP process reviews property uses which may be appropriate in a specific Zoning District but are not allowed as a matter of right.  CUP’s are attached to the land rather than the user or property owner. Restaurants are common CUP application as they have a variety of characteristics, such as parking, odor control and access, which require a site by site review to determine the appropriateness for the use in a specific location.  Hotels, for example, may be required to obtain a CUP when locating in an I-3 zoning district. In order to receive a CUP, property owners must submit an application and supporting documentation.  Only the Planning Commission and City Council may grant CUP’s, and only after a public hearing has been held.  Applicants for CUPs are required to attend hearings to present their applications.

The CUP process takes from six to eight weeks, depending on the public hearing schedule.  Whether you are a home occupation or an international business looking for a place to settle in Bloomington, you should contact Planning Division (952) 563-8920 or to find out the requirements for your intended location.

What is a variance?

The City Code establishes standards for development.  These standards regulate the development and use of the property including but not limited to buildings size and setbacks, yard area, landscaping, parking, access and circulation, driveways, signs, fences, trash storage, lighting, height, and potential effects on adjacent properties.  The regulations, primarily in the Zoning Ordinance, are written in a general manner, and apply to all properties equally.

City ordinance provides relief from the Zoning Ordinance requirements in unusual circumstances.  The process used to grant relief is called a variance.  The variance process requires property owners submit a development application with supporting documentation including but not limited to a recently completed lot survey with the variance request shown, building elevations, and a written narrative.  Only the City Council may grant variances after a public hearing has been held.  Applicants for variances are required to attend hearings to present their applications.  The variance process takes from five to eight weeks, depending on when the required (Planning Commission vs. Hearing Examiner) public hearing is held.

Contact the Planning Division at (952) 563-8920 or for more information.

What is a Zoning Letter? What information will be provided to me if I request one? Is there a guarantee for the accuracy of information provided?

A basic Zoning Letter informs a potential buyer on what uses are allowed based on the current zoning and property past history on file.  Depending on the information required, a basic Zoning Letter may provide information on legal land uses, zoning, FIRM information, zoning district performance standards, and any development history on-file.  A basic Zoning Letter does not provide a performance standard review.  A basic Zoning Letter is valid for six months from the date of issuance.  The 2019 basic Zoning Letter fee is $100 payable at the time of the request.  While we strive to accomplish a five day turnaround, dependent upon staff work load this may take up to three weeks.

Once the basic Zoning Letter is completed, a representative may request a detailed performance standard review which may include a site visit.  A performance standard review is a review of Zoning standards only with no engineering, building or fire performance standards review.  The 2019 fee for a Zoning performance standard review is $131 plus $56 per hour for each hour (or portion thereof) over 2 hours.  The review request must be accompanied with an as-built survey and plans detailing the performance standards review requested.  For example, required parking analysis required detailed use information for the building and parking layout, a landscape review must include an existing conditions landscape survey, a lighting review must include as-built photometric plans (exterior lighting), a setback reviews require an Alta survey, and etc…

City staff researches all information on file as accurately as possible and assumes no liability for errors or omissions. All information is obtained from public records which may be inspected during regular business hours.

To request a zoning letter you may mail a check and letter of request to:

Planning Division
City of Bloomington
1800 West Old Shakopee Road
Bloomington, MN 55431