Zoning Regulations Update Project

On July 19, 2022 the Hopkins City Council approved Ordinance 2022-1180 adopting the new development code for the City. The new code replaces the City's prior zoning ordinance which was adopted in the late 1970s. In attempts to keep up with community changes, the zoning code was amended numerous times which sometimes resulted in inconsistency with the rest of the City Code. The previous zoning ordinance also lacked more modern user-friendly language, graphics and review processes. Because of this, the City completed a comprehensive rewriting of the zoning code. 

The zoning update, led by the team of James Duncan and Associates and Codametrics, was informed by substantial community engagement throughout the process. The updated code reflects the vision for Hopkins, as set forth in the Comprehensive Plan and through community conversations. It reflects a shift from the existing conventional zoning regulations to a modernized hybrid zoning code that introduces form-based planning principals that focus on the way new development fits into the existing context while providing more flexibility in the use of property. 

The regulations take effect on July 28, 2022. Browse the development code through the links below. To help navigate this large document, the table of contents in the zoning regulations includes links that jump directly to the individual articles and subsections within the code. 

Summary of Updated Regulations

Organization of the Code 

The Zoning Code continues to divide the City into specific zones and specifies uses allowed in each zone, now within a singular table. Mixed-Use zones apply to four areas within the City. Zone names that include the -TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) suffix generally apply within a 1/4 mile of the new light rail stations. Zone names that include the -D (Downtown) suffix occur within the downtown area or what is now generally classified in the current downtown overlay. Zone names that include the -N (Neighborhood) suffix are smaller in scale than the -TOD or -D locations and located closer to existing neighborhoods. Zone names with an -S (Suburban) suffix apply along larger roads and have a more auto-oriented focus, allowing uses such as gas stations and drive-through facilities. Lastly, the special zones accommodate the Industrial, Parks and Open Space, and Public-Institutional areas of the City without significantly changing the regulations. 

The code stipulates allowed building types by zone and uses illustrative examples and clear diagrams to help the user interpret the regulations. The building design Article includes a series of architectural standards that apply to each of the building types. 

Major Changes from Current Code

One prominent change includes allowing Accessory Dwelling units in all residential districts and allowing duplexes in N3-B, N3-A, NX1 and NX2 neighborhoods with the same form and lot size as single-unit homes. 

New landscape regulations are more specific and include tree preservation and replacement standards that were not in the previous code. Minimum off-street motor vehicle parking requirements were reduced for many use types. The regulations were further made more flexible by giving off-street parking credit for nearby public parking spaces and for projects that provide indoor bike parking facilities for employees. Shared parking for uses with different time of peak parking demand is also allowed and encouraged. Bicycle parking id required for most new uses under the proposed code. New provisions were added requiring electric vehicle charging equipment in larger parking lots. 

Many of these procedures contained in the code are set by state law but several changes were realized including to the City's approval and notification process to allow for more community input into development projects. Requirements for mailed notice of public hearings and neighborhood meetings are broadened from 350 feet to 500 feet. The new code requires notification of both property owners and occupants. There are also formal requirements for posting notice signs for several procedures including rezonings. Lastly, an administrative site plan procedure was added for small projects with a floor area of 25,000 square feet or less. 

Public Meetings

  • July 19, 2022 - City Council Meeting
    • Action: Second reading of Ordinance 22-1180. 
  • June 20, 2022 - City Council Meeting
  • May 31, 2022 - Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting
    • Action: Held a public hearing to consider Ordinance 2022-1180 and made a recommendation of approval to the City Council. 
    • Meeting Minutes