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Planning and Zoning is responsible for:


Subdividing is the process of splitting up a single parcel of land into multiple parcels.  While simple in concept, in practice subdividing land can be quite involved as it requires many steps and compliance with a number of rules and regulations.  Subdivisions split correctly demonstrate compliance with the City’s minimum lot sizes, lot widths, lot frontage (access to a public street) and lot buildability (the capability of a parcel to support structures and utilities).


Types of subdivisions vary in their complexity based on the number of lots involved, whether public street access exists or needs to be provided and the process through which the legal documents are reviewed, approved and recorded.


Minor subdivisions are the simplest form of parcel splits involving a total of three (3) lots or less and include:

  • Lot Splits (dividing one or two lots from the original parcel)

  • Lot Reconfigurations (changing a lot line without creating a new lot)


All minor subdivisions, require (at minimum) a Certificate of Survey, prepared by a registered and licensed land surveyor, wetland delineation (for lots containing ditches or wetlands) and deeds containing the new legal descriptions for recording at Anoka County.  Surveys for minor subdivisions commonly describe land using metes and bounds to determine property boundaries, with terminal points and angles listing the compass directions and distances.


In Nowthen, all minor subdivisions require City Council approval with the exception of Administrative Lot Splits which may be reviewed by the City’s Zoning Administrator at his/her discretion in cases that only involve one new lot, a parcel that is residentially zoned and which does not require the extension of public streets to meet the City’s lot frontage or lot width requirements.  Public hearings are not required for minor subdivisions unless there is an associated request for a variance, conditional use permit, etc.


  • RRA, Rural Residential Agriculture Zoning:  5 acre minimum lot size, maximum of 8 parcels per 40 acres (overall average density not exceeding 5 acres)


  • RRT, Rural Residential Transition Zoning:  2 acre minimum lot size, maximum of 20 parcels per 40 acres (overall average density not exceeding 2 acres)



Platting of land is required for divisions involving four (4) or more lots and usually involves a larger land area than minor subdivisions, where land is described as lots and blocks. Platting involves additional certifications by the land surveyor and requires more detailed information be provided as part of the surveying and recording process such as grading details, construction plans for public streets and storm water controls, drainage and utility easements and detailed development agreements. Land set aside for future phases of development are called Out lots for which building permits are not issued.


The minimum lot size in an area platted with the RRA, Rural Residential Agriculture District designation may be reduced to 2.5 acres provided the plat conforms with the 8/40 average density of five (5) acres. The RRT District density does not change, nor does the minimum lot size, when platted. Conceptual subdivision plans are required prior to submittal of a Preliminary Plat and the City scheduling a public hearing. 

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Planning & Zoning
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