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The MRCCA in Fridley encompasses all properties west of East River Road. Within the MRCCA, there are different districts which have unique zoning regulations. You can check if you are in the MRCCA and which district you are in using this map.
Any work that requires a building permit or other City permit requires those permits in the Critical Area. A permit is also needed to:
Permits are not needed to maintain existing lawns or gardens or repair existing riprap or retaining walls. A permit is needed for construction of new riprap and retaining walls,
The Critical Area permit application is available through the CitizenServe portal.
Setbacks in the MRCCA are dependent on the Critical Area District. Maps are available showing the district boundaries and primary conservation areas including bluffs.
There are some exceptions to the setbacks listed above. Legally nonconforming principal structures that do not meet the setback requirements may be expanded laterally provided that:
Decks and at-grade patios may encroach into the required setbacks from the ordinary high water level and blufflines without a variance, provided that:
Required setback depth (feet) x 0.15 x lot width at setback (feet) x 0.25 = maximum total area.
A water-oriented accessory structure is a small building or other improvement, except stairways, fences, docks, and retaining walls, that, because of the relationship of its use to public waters, needs to be located closer to public waters than the normal structure setback. Examples include gazebos, screen houses and detached decks and patios. One water-oriented accessory structure is allowed for each riparian lot or parcel less than 300 feet in width at the ordinary high water level, with one additional water-oriented accessory structure allowed for each additional 300 feet of shoreline on the same lot or parcel. Water-oriented accessory structures must
Stairways, paths, and landings must meet the following standards:
Maintaining vegetative cover along the river is important to maintain the river's ecological health, habitat, and viewshed. If you are planning to perform intensive vegetation clearing (removal of trees or shrubs in a contiguous path, strip, row, or block) within a:
you will need to apply for a permit. A permit may only be approved in the following circumstances:
A permit is not needed in the following scenarios:
All trees greater than four inches diameter at breast height that are removed from a primary conservation area listed above must be replaced on a 1:1 ratio by September 30 of the following year, even if a permit is not required. An exception to the tree replacement requirement is for trees removed under a permit for habitat restoration or erosion control with an approved restoration plan.
More information on vegetation clearing and permitting can be found here.
If your project is causing land disturbance within the bluff impact zone or the Water Quality Impact Zone (50 feet from the ordinary high water line or edge of the river, a Natural Drainage route or wetland) you may need a permit. This includes installation or replacement of riprap, retaining walls, and other erosion control structures.
More information on land alteration and permitting can be found here..
Grading permits are required anywhere in the city for projects moving more than 50 cubic yards of material.
Preserving dark skies along the river is important to maintaining the character of the MRCCA. Light pollution disrupts ecosystems and adversely affects wildlife safety. Within the Shore impact zone (50 feet from the river in the River Neighborhood district and 25 feet from the river in the Urban Mixed district), lighting shall be fully shielded and directed away from the river and uplighting is prohibited.
The International Dark Sky Association provides example of recommended lighting as well as a searchable database of retailers.
Projects existing prior to the adoption of the new code that met the standards of the old code are considered legally nonconforming and are allowed to continue. You can find more information on legal nonconformities within the Zoning Chapter of City Code
All projects below the ordinary highwater line of the river must receive approval from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prior to receiving approval from the City. Please contact the Area Hydrologist- Wes Saunders-Pearce at 651-259-5822 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.