Residential Redevelopment

Golden Valley is a fully developed community, so any new housing will likely occur through the splitting of an existing lot and/or the tear down and replacement of an older home. The City has processes in place to allow for these types of activities while at the same time striving to protect neighboring properties and homeowners from the disruptions associated with construction to the extent possible.

Subdivisions are approved by the City Council after review by the Planning Commission. Tear downs and rebuilds are regulated by the Inspections Division. All construction activity must follow the provisions outlined in the City’s Construction Maintenance Agreement.

+Subdivision Regulation

The act of splitting one lot into two or more lots in known as subdivision. In Golden Valley, this action requires approval by the City Council. A property owner wishing to subdivide a residential lot must submit information to the City for review. If the standards established in the City Code are met, the City must approve the subdivision.

The subdivision process does not allow for the review or approval of the location or design of any new structures. It does, however, define the building envelope, or area within the lot where a future home may be built.

Chapter 109 of the Golden Valley City Code outlines specific requirements for subdivisions.

City Requirements

For each subdivision proposal, the City requires the applicant to notify by mail all neighbors within 500 feet or to hold a neighborhood meeting at which the proposal can be discussed.

All residential lots proposed for subdivision must have an existing tree survey conducted by a certified tree inspector or landscape architect. This allows all significant trees to be cataloged in advance of future development. Removal of significant trees as part of the construction of a new home may trigger the need for replacement trees.

Subdivision proposals require that public hearings be held in front of the Planning Commission and the City Council. At these meetings, members of the public may ask questions, raise concerns, or voice support for a proposal. All properties within 500 feet of the site will be notified by mail of meeting dates and times.

City Standards*

Two main requirements must be met to subdivide a residential lot:

  1. New lots being created must be a minimum of 80 feet wide at the front setback line and maintain that width 70 feet into the lot. This assures there is adequate room for a new home to be built.
  2. Each new lot must have the minimum amount of lot area required. For most properties this will be 10,000 square feet. For properties in neighborhoods with many large lots, the requirement may be increased to 15,000 square feet if certain criteria hold true. The City uses computer software to determine the required minimum lot size.

The City also examines:

  • the presence of steep slopes or wetlands on the property
  • the availability of sewer and water connections
  • review by outside jurisdictions such as Hennepin County, MnDOT, the DNR, or the Bassett Creek Water Management Commission

*  The dimensions described above are for properties zoned Single Family Residential (R-1). The dimensions of lots zoned Moderate Density Residential (R-2) vary slightly.

Survey Requirements

When surveys are required, they must be prepared by a registered land surveyor licensed in the Minnesota and include the following information:

  • north arrow
  • for single family residential properties, a clearly drawn scale of 1 inch = 30 feet
  • illustration key showing symbols for all information pertaining to lot and building design, including grades, easements, lot and block, set backs, etc
  • subject property’s legal description, boundary lines, lot and block numbers, lot lines, right-of-way lines, and all recorded easements
  • street names
  • clearly shown flood elevations and locations, if the property is within or adjacent to a 100-year floodplain (flood control policy requires that all damageable property and all floor elevations be located a minimum of 1 foot above flood plain elevation)
  • location of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, paved areas and other man made features (structures are considered, but not limited to, homes, garages, decks, porches, sheds, gazebos, swimming pools, and fences)
  • location of any buildings on adjacent properties relative to the side(s) where the construction will take place.
  • all existing and proposed building and structure setbacks (if the property is in a Shoreland Overlay District, as defined in City Code Section 113-149, shoreland setbacks and the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) must also be shown)

The survey shall be provided on paper at a minimum size of 8 ½ x 11. If the survey is larger than 11 x 17, the applicant will supply seven copies.

As-Built Survey

For construction of a new home or building, a certified As-Built Survey verifying the information indicated on the proposed survey shall be submitted before a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued.

Additional information may need to be shown on the survey and As-Built Survey to satisfy requirements of other permits. Contact the Engineering Division in City Hall (763-593-8030) for information about the following permits:

  • Grading, Drainage and Erosion Control
  • Right-of-Way
  • Tree Preservation

+Tax Parcel Division

The act of separating two or more existing lots of record is known as a tax parcel division. This action is carried out by Hennepin County but requires the review and approval of the City.

Properties consisting of two or more lots of record often share one County-issued Property Identification (PID) number. Separating the lots allows multiple PIDs to be assigned and, therefore, the potential sale and/or development of property to go forward. Since these lots are existing lots of record, they have a “grandfathered” status and can be used to support new housing even if they are smaller than the minimum size required today for new lots created through a subdivision process.

City Requirements

Any property owner looking to divide a tax parcel must submit an application to the Physical Development Department for review. This requires the owner to provide information about the location of any structures currently on the property. If, through the division of the tax parcel, a structural nonconformity would be created with respect to setbacks or other zoning regulations, the structure(s) must be brought into conformance before approval through modification or removal.

Finally, upon completion of the review, the City will mail a notification to all property owners within 250 feet of the subject property indicating that the tax parcel division has been approved.

In most cases, the division of a property into one or more lots is followed by a sale and the construction of at least one new home. This might occur on a vacant lot or following the demolition of an existing home. The City has regulations to protect adjacent properties throughout the demolition and construction process (see Tear Down & Rebuild above).

+Tear Down & Rebuild

Because Golden Valley is fully developed, residential development increasingly involves demolishing an existing home and building a new home in its place. While this may create disruption and inconvenience for the surrounding neighborhood, it also has the benefit of creating new and modernized structures and increasing the value of the housing stock. The City has developed a variety of oversight tools for this often challenging process.

City Requirements

A Demolition Permit is required before the existing home can be torn down. This ensures all utilities have been disconnected, MPCA guidelines are being followed, and that City inspectors and fire officials are aware of the demolition.

Spot elevations (at grade) at the corners of the existing home must be recorded. In addition, the location of all trees must be documented through an existing tree survey conducted by a certified tree inspector or landscape architect. The tree survey catalogs all significant trees in advance of future development. Removal of significant trees as part of the construction of a new home may trigger the need for replacement trees. This part of the process is regulated through a Tree and Landscape Permit.

The City's Inspections Division will also review building plans for the new home and approve a Building Permit once it has determined all building code requirements have been met. A part of this review involves checking that the plans meet all zoning requirements (see below).

Site grading is reviewed to ensure that drainage and surface water flow around the new structure do not negatively impact adjacent properties or the structure itself. This part of the building review process, which also establishes measures such as silt fences for erosion control, is regulated through a Stormwater Management Permit.

Before a building permit is issued, the builder is required to sign a Construction Management Agreement, which summarizes a number of provisions within the City Code that must be observed during construction. These include:

  • hours of construction
  • tree protection measures
  • dust and dirt control
  • street obstructions and employee parking
  • site deliveries
  • waste removal
  • noise limits

Failure to comply with the regulations may result in fines for the builder or a suspension of work.

City Standards

Zoning regulations dictate a number of physical aspects of the new home, including its location, massing, and height. Site and building plans are reviewed and approved by the City before any building permits are issued.

The minimum required distance a home must be located from a property line is called a setback. In Golden Valley, front yard setbacks are 35 feet and rear yard setbacks are 25 feet. Side yard setbacks vary with the width of the lot, but generally speaking they range from 4 feet on very narrow lots to 15 feet on the widest lots.

The height of a structure is limited to 28 feet (as measured to the midpoint of the highest pitched roof) or to 25 feet for homes with flat roofs. Height is measured from a base elevation that is established before construction begins. The base elevation of a new home may be allowed to increase over that of the old home to provide for adequate site drainage or to set the lowest floors or openings above the flood elevation.

Near the side yard setback lines, building walls may be required to step back as they rise above 15 feet in height in order to limit massing that may impact neighbors.

Each residential lot is required to have a minimum of three trees (with at least one in the front yard) and five shrubs or perennials. A Tree and Landscape Permit is reviewed by City staff and may require the replacement of significant trees removed during the construction process.

+Narrow Lots Study

Single-family residential properties in Golden Valley come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A vast majority of residential lots were created under regulations that require at least 80 feet of width and at least 10,000 square feet of area per lot. However, pockets of the city were planned (platted) before those rules were in place, resulting in blocks of properties that are only 60, 50, or even 40 feet wide and that may be as small as 5,000 square feet.

Development pressures on these narrower lots concerned some neighbors and prompted the City Council to take study the issue and ask the community for input (see Narrow Lots Study Community Input Report) on a proposed ordinance change..