[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fairfax 12-1-1992 by Ord. No. 307. Amendments noted where applicable.]
These regulations shall be known as the "Fairfax Zoning Code," except as referred to herein, where it shall be known as "this chapter."
The purpose of this chapter is to safeguard the health, property and public welfare by controlling the design, location, use or occupancy of all buildings through the regulated and orderly development of land and land uses within this jurisdiction.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the construction, alteration, moving, repair and use of any building, parcel of land or sign within a jurisdiction, except work located primarily in a public way, public utility towers and poles, and public utilities unless specifically mentioned in this chapter.
Where, in any specific case, different sections of this chapter specify different requirements, the more restrictive shall govern.
A fee for services shall be charged. All fees shall be set by the jurisdiction and schedules shall be available at the office of the City Clerk-Treasurer.
Lawfully established buildings and uses in existence at the time of the adoption of this chapter may have their existing use or occupancy continued if they are maintained with their conditions of approval, provided such continued use is not dangerous to life.
Additions, alterations or repairs. Additions, alterations or repairs may be made to any building or use without requiring the existing building or use to comply with the requirement of this chapter, provided the addition, alteration or repair conforms to that required for a new building or use.
Any lot or structure or portion thereof occupied by a nonconforming use which is or thereafter becomes vacant and remains unoccupied by a nonconforming use for a period of one year shall not thereafter be occupied, except by use which conforms to this chapter.
If any nonconforming structure or use is, by any cause, destroyed to the extent of 75% of its market value as determined by the Building Official, it shall not thereafter be reconstructed as such.
The Zoning Code Official and/or designee shall be referred to hereafter as the "Code Official."
Review and approvals. Review of building permits. All applications for building permits shall be submitted to the Code Official for review and approved prior to permit issuance. Each application shall include a set of building plans and all data necessary to show that the requirements of this chapter are met.
Permits required. Except as specified in Subsection C of this section, no building or structure regulated by this chapter shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has first been obtained from the Building Official.
Work exempt from permit. A building permit shall not be required for the following:
One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the projected roof area does not exceed 120 square feet.
Retaining walls which are not over four feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.
Platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below.
Painting, papering and similar finish work.
Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R, Division 3 occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons.
Insulating existing buildings.
Application for permit. To obtain a permit, the applicant shall first file an application therefor in writing on a form furnished by the City Clerk-Treasurer for that purpose. Every such applicant shall:
Identify and describe the work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by legal description, street address, or similar description that will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed building or work.
Indicate the use or occupancy for which the proposed work is intended.
Be accompanied by plans, diagrams, computations and specifications and other data as required by the Code Official.
State the valuation of any new building or structure or any addition, remodeling or alteration to an existing building.
Sign the application form.
Permit issuance. The application, plans, specifications, computations and other data filed by an applicant for a permit shall be reviewed by the Building Official. Such plans may be reviewed by other departments of this jurisdiction to verify compliance with any applicable laws under their jurisdiction. If the Building Official finds that the work described in an application for a permit and the plans, specifications and other data filed therewith conform to the requirements of this chapter and other pertinent laws and ordinances, and that the fees specified in § 260-8 have been paid, the Building Official shall issue a permit therefore to the applicant.
Expiration. Every permit issued by the Building Official under the provisions of this chapter shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the building or work authorized by such permit is not commenced within 180 days from the date of such permit or if the building or work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for a period of 180 days. Before such work can be recommenced, a new permit shall be first obtained to do so, and the fee therefor shall be one-half the amount required for a new permit for such work, provided no changes have been made or will be made in the original plans and specifications for such work, and provided further that such suspension or abandonment has not exceeded one year. In order to renew action on a permit after expiration, the permittee shall pay new full permit fee. Any permittee holding an unexpired permit may apply for an extension of the time within which work may commence under that permit when the permittee is unable to commence work within the time required by this section for good and satisfactory reasons. The Building Official may extend the time for action by the permittee for a period not exceeding 180 days on written request by the permittee showing that circumstances beyond the control of the permittee have prevented action from being taken. No permit shall be extended more than once.
[Amended 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 414]
Fees shall be as set forth in a schedule adopted by the City Council by resolution.
Surcharge fee. In addition to the permit fee required above, the applicant shall pay a surcharge to be remitted to the Minnesota Department of Administration as prescribed by Minnesota Statutes 1984, § 16B.70.
Plan review fees. When a plan or other data are required to be submitted, a plan review fee may be required and paid at the time of submitting plans and specifications for review. Said plan fee shall be set by this jurisdiction by resolution. The plan review fees specified in this section are separate fees from the permit fees specified in this section.
All construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the Building Official, and all such construction or work shall remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes until approved by the Building Code Official.
It shall be the duty of the permit applicant to cause the work to remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes. Neither the Building Official nor the jurisdiction shall be liable for expense entailed in the removal or replacement of any material required to allow inspection.
A survey of the lot may be required by the Building Official to verify that the structure is located in accordance with the approved plans.
Inspection record card; requests; approval.
Inspection record card. Work requiring a permit shall not be commenced until the permit holder shall have posted or otherwise made available an inspection record card such as to allow the Building Official to conveniently make the required entries thereon regarding inspection of the work. This card shall be maintained available by the permit holder until final approval has been granted by the Building Official. Upon final approval the inspection card shall be returned to the City Clerk-Treasurer's Office.
Inspection requests. It shall be the duty of the person doing the work authorized by a permit to notify the Building Official that such work is ready for inspection. The Building Official may require that every request for inspection be filed at least one working day before such inspection is desired. Such request may be in writing or by telephone at the option of the Building Official.
Work shall not be done beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the Building Official. The Building Official, upon notification, shall make the requested inspections and shall either indicate that portion of the construction is satisfactory as completed, or shall notify the permit holder it fails to comply with this chapter.
There shall be a final inspection and approval of all buildings and structures when completed and ready for occupancy and use. A certificate of occupancy shall be issued upon the final inspection approval and return of the inspection record card to the City Clerk-Treasurer.
Required inspections. The Building Official, upon notification, shall make the following inspections:
Foundation inspection: To be made after excavation for footings are complete and any required reinforcing steel is in place. For concrete foundations, any required form shall be in place prior to inspection. All materials for the foundation shall be on the job, except where concrete is ready mixed in accordance with UBC standard No. 26-13, the concrete need not be on the job. Where the foundation is to be constructed of approved treated wood, additional inspections may be required by the Building Official.
Concrete slab or under-floor inspection: To be made after all in slab or under-floor building service equipment, conduit, piping accessories and other ancillary equipment items are in place, but before any concrete is placed or floor sheathing installed, including the sub-floor.
Frame inspection: To be made after the roof, all framing, fire blocking and bracing are in place and all pipes, chimneys and vents are complete and the rough electrical, plumbing, and heating wires, pipes and ducts are approved.
Lath or gypsum board inspection. To be made after all lathing and gypsum board, interior and exterior, is in place, but before any plastering is applied or before gypsum board joints and fasteners are taped and finished.
Final inspection: To be made after finish grading and the building is completed and ready for occupancy.
Other inspections: In addition to the called inspections, specified above, the Building Official may make or require other inspections of any construction work to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this chapter and other laws which are enforced by the code enforcement agency.
Right of entry.
When it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this chapter, or when the Building Official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a building or upon a premises a condition which is contrary to or in violation of this chapter which makes the building or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the Building Official may enter the building or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this chapter, provided that if such building or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested.
If such building or premises be unoccupied, the Building Official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or the person having charge or control of the building or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the Building Official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.
All buildings or structures regulated by this chapter which are structurally unsafe or not provided with adequate egress, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life are, for the purpose of this section, unsafe. Any use of buildings or structures constituting a hazard to safety, health or public welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, fire hazard, disaster, damage or abandonment is, for the purpose of this section, an unsafe use.
All such unsafe buildings, structures or appendages are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal in accordance with the procedures set forth in Minnesota Rule 1311.0260, Section 206, Unsafe Buildings or Structures, or such alternate procedures as may have been or as may be adopted by this jurisdiction.
District Map. Said districts are shown upon the District Map accompanying this chapter. Said map and all notations, references, and other information thereon shall be as much a part of this chapter as if the matters and information set forth by said map were all fully described herein.
Editor's Note: The District Map is located at the end of this chapter.
District boundaries. For determining the boundaries of the districts shown on the District Map, the following rules shall apply.
Where boundary lines are obviously following a road, street, lot or property lines or section lines such lines shall be boundaries.
In subdivided property, or otherwise, a district boundary divides a lot of parcel of property, the location of any such boundary, unless the same is indicated by dimensions shown on the District Map, shall be determined by the use of the scale appearing on such map.
The City Council hereby shall upon application or upon its own motion determine the location of boundaries in the case where uncertainties exist after the application of the rules.
Divided lot. Where a district boundary established in this section divides a lot which was in single ownership at the time of enactment of this chapter, the use authorized thereon and the other district requirements applying to the least restricted portion of such lot under this chapter shall be construed as extending to the entire lot, provided such lot does not extend more than 50 feet beyond said boundary line. The use so extended shall be deemed to be a conforming use.
For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall be construed as specified in this section.
- ACCESSORY BUILDING
- An incidental subordinate building customarily incidental to and located on the same lot occupied by the main use or building, such as a detached garage.
- ACCESSORY LIVING QUARTERS
- An accessory building used solely as the temporary dwelling of guests of the occupants of the premises; such dwelling having no kitchen facilities and not rented or otherwise used as a separate dwelling unit.
- ACCESSORY USE
- A use conducted on the same lot as the primary use of the structure to which it is related; a use which is clearly incidental to, and customarily found in connection with, such primary use.
- ACREAGE, GROSS
- The overall total area.
- ACREAGE, NET
- The remaining area after all deductions are made; with deductions including streets, easements for access and street dedications.
- The tiling of the soil, raising of crops, animals, horticulture, gardening, beekeeping and aquaculture.
- Any public way or thoroughfare more than 10 feet but less than 20 feet in width which has been dedicated or deeded to the public for public use.
- Any change, addition or modification in construction, occupancy or use.
- AMUSEMENT CENTER
- An establishment offering five or more amusement devices, including but not limited to coin-operated electronic games, shooting gallery, table games and similar recreational diversions within an enclosed building.
- APARTMENT HOUSE
- A residential building designed or used for three or more dwelling units.
- AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR, MAJOR
- An establishment primarily engaged in the repair or maintenance of motor vehicles, trailers and similar large mechanical equipment, including paint, body and fender and major engine and engine part overhaul, provided it is conducted within a completely enclosed building.
- AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR, MINOR
- An establishment primarily engaged in the repair or maintenance of motor vehicles, trailers and similar mechanical equipment, including brake, muffler, upholstery work, tire repair and change, lubrication, tune ups and transmission work, provided it is conducted within a completely enclosed building.
- AUTOMOTIVE SELF-SERVICE STATION
- That portion of property where flammable or combustible liquids or gases used as fuel are stored and dispersed from fixed equipment into the fuel tanks of motor vehicles. Such an establishment may offer for sale at retail other convenience items as a clearly secondary activity and may also include a freestanding automatic car wash.
- AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE STATION
- That portion of property where flammable or combustible liquids or gases used as fuel are stored and dispersed from fixed equipment into the fuel tanks of motor vehicles. Accessory activities may include automotive repair and maintenance, car wash service and food sale.
- A shelter supported entirely from the exterior wall of a building.
- Any floor level below the first story in a building, except that a floor level in a building having only one floor level shall be classified as a basement unless such floor level qualifies as a first story as defined herein.
- BED-AND-BREAKFAST FACILITY
- A limited commercial activity, occurring within any zone, conducted within a structure, which includes dining and bathroom facilities with sleeping rooms for short-term guest lodging.
- Land, or a group of lots, surrounded by streets or other rights-of-way other than an alley, or land which is designated as a block on any recorded subdivision tract.
- The board of adjustment of the adopting jurisdiction.
- A dwelling containing a single dwelling unit and not more than 10 guest rooms or suites of rooms, where lodging is provided with or without meals, for compensation for more than one week.
- Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.
- BUILDING CODE, UNIFORM
- The Building Code promulgated by ICBO and adopted by the jurisdiction.
- BUILDING HEIGHT
- The vertical distance above the average existing grade measured to the highest point of the building. The height of a stepped or terraced building is the maximum height of any segment of the building.
- BUILDING LINE
- The perimeter of that portion of a building or structure nearest a property line, but excluding open steps, terraces, cornices and other ornamental features projecting from the walls of the building or structure.
- BUILDING, MAIN
- A building in which the principal use of the site is conducted.
- BUILDING, TEMPORARY
- A building used temporarily for the storage of construction materials and equipment incidental and necessary to on-site permitted construction of utilities, or other community facilities, or used temporarily in conjunction with the sale of property within a subdivision under construction.
- BUSINESS OR FINANCIAL SERVICES
- An establishment intended for the conduct or service or administration by a commercial enterprise, or offices for the conduct of professional or business service.
- A roofed structure constructed of fabric or other material supported by the building or by support extending to the ground directly under the canopy placed so as to extend outward from the building providing a protective shield for doors, windows and other openings.
- A roofed structure open on at least two sides and used for the storage of private or pleasure-type vehicles.
- COMMERCIAL CENTER, COMMUNITY
- A completely planned and designed commercial development providing for the sale of general merchandise and/or convenience goods and services. A community commercial center shall provide for the sale of general merchandise, and may include a variety store, discount store or supermarket.
- COMMERCIAL CENTER, CONVENIENCE
- A completely planned and designed commercial development providing for the sale of general merchandise and/or convenience goods and services. A convenience commercial center shall provide a small cluster of convenience shops or services.
- COMMERCIAL CENTER, NEIGHBORHOOD
- A completely planned and designed commercial development providing for the sale of general merchandise and/or convenience goods and services. A neighborhood commercial center shall provide for the sales of convenience goods and services, with a supermarket as the principal tenant.
- COMMERCIAL CENTER, REGIONAL
- A completely planned and designed commercial development providing for the sale of general merchandise and/or convenience goods and services. A regional center shall provide for the sale of general merchandise, apparel, furniture, home furnishings and other retail sales and services, in full depth and variety. The center includes at least one full-line department store as the principal tenant, and often includes two or three major department stores.
- COMMERCIAL, HEAVY
- An establishment or business which generally uses open sales yards, outside equipment storage, or outside activities that generate noise or other impacts considered incompatible with less-intense uses. Typical businesses in this definition are lumber yards, construction specialty services, heavy equipment suppliers or building contractors.
- COMMERCIAL, LIGHT
- An establishment or business which generally has retail or wholesale sales, office uses or services that do not generate noise or other impacts considered incompatible with less-intense uses. Typical businesses in the definition are retail stores, offices, catering services or restaurants.
- COMMERCIAL PARKING GARAGE
- A building, other than a private garage, used for the parking of automobiles with or without a fee.
- COMMERCIAL RETAIL SALES AND SERVICES
- Establishments which engage in the sale of general retail goods and accessory services. Businesses within this definition include those which conduct sales and storage entirely within an enclosed structure (with the exception of occasional outdoor "sidewalk" promotions); businesses specializing in sale of either general merchandise or convenience goods.
- COMMERCIAL SCHOOL
- A school establishment to provide for the teaching of industrial, clerical, managerial or artistic skills. This definition applies to schools that are owned and operated privately for profit and that do not offer a complete educational curriculum (e.g., beauty school, modeling school).
- A planning commission of the adopting jurisdiction.
- COMMUNITY SIGNS
- Temporary, on- or off-premises signs, generally made of a woven material or durable synthetic materials primarily attached to or hung from light poles or on buildings. These signs are solely of a decorative, festive and/or informative nature announcing activities, promotions or events with seasonal or traditional themes having broad community interest, and which are sponsored or supported by a jurisdiction-based nonprofit organizations.
- COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
- The declaration of purposes, policies and programs for the development of the jurisdiction. Also called the General Plan.
- CONDITIONAL USE
- A use which would become harmonious or compatible with neighboring uses through the application and maintenance of qualifying conditions.
- A single dwelling unit in a multiunit dwelling or structure, which is separately owned and which may be combined with an undivided interest in the common areas and facilities of the property.
- CONGREGATE RESIDENCE
- Any building or portion thereof which contains facilities for living, sleeping and sanitation as required by this chapter, and may include facilities for eating and cooking, for occupancy by other than a family. A congregate residence may be a shelter, convent, monastery, dormitory, fraternity or sorority house but does not include jails, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels or lodging houses.
- CONVALESCENT CENTER
- A facility which is publicly or privately operated and intended for long-term patient care due to human illness or infirmity, including the elderly and developmentally disabled, normally employing the services of skilled and licensed practitioners, excluding hospitals.
- A space, open and unobstructed to the sky, located at or above grade level on a lot and bounded on three or more sides by walls of a building.
- DANCE HALL, DISCOTHEQUE
- Is an establishment intended primarily for dancing and entertainment within an enclosed building, using either live or electronically produced music, either open to the public or operated as a private club open to members only.
- DAY CARE, FAMILY
- The keeping for part-time care and/or instruction, whether or not for compensation, of six or less children at any one time within a dwelling, not including members of the family residing on the premises.
- DAY CARE, GROUP
- An establishment for the care and/or instruction, whether or not for compensation, of seven or more children at any one time. Child nurseries and preschool facilities are included in this definition.
- The number of dwelling units which are allowed on an area of land, which area of land may include dedicated streets contained within the development.
- A private access road, the use of which is limited to persons residing, employed, or otherwise using or visiting the parcel in which it is located.
- DWELLING, DUPLEX
- A building designed or arranged to be occupied by two families living independently, the structure having only two dwelling units.
- DWELLING, MULTIPLE-UNIT
- A building portion thereof designed for occupancy by three or more families living independently in which they may or may not share common entrances and/or spaces. Individual dwelling units may be owned as condominiums, or offered for rent.
- DWELLING, PLANNED GROUP
- Two or more detached buildings used as dwelling units located on a lot that is in single ownership having yards, courts or facilities in common.
- DWELLING, SINGLE-FAMILY
- A detached dwelling unit with kitchen and sleeping facilities, designed for occupancy by one family.
- DWELLING UNIT
- Any building or portion thereof which contains living facilities, including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation, as required by this chapter, for not more than one family, or a congregate residence for six or less persons.
- That portion of a lot or lots reserved for present or future use by a person or agency other than the legal fee owner(s) of the property. The easement may be for use under, on or above said lot or lots.
- FACE OF BUILDING, PRIMARY
- The wall of a building fronting on a street or right-of-way, excluding any appurtenances such as projecting fins, columns, pilasters, canopies, marquees, showcases or decorations.
- Two or more persons related by blood, marriage or adoption, or a group not to exceed six unrelated persons living together as a single housekeeping unit.
- FARM ANIMALS
- Animals other than household pets that may, where permitted, be kept and maintained for commercial production and sale and/or family food production, education or recreation. Farm animals are identified by these categories: large animals, e.g., horses and cattle; medium animals, e.g., sheep and goats; or small animals, e.g., rabbits, chinchilla, chickens, turkeys, pheasants, geese, ducks and pigeons.
- FLOOR AREA, GROSS
- The sum of the horizontal areas of floors of a building measured from the exterior face of exterior walls or, if appropriate, from the center line of dividing walls; this includes courts and decks or porches when covered by a roof.
- FLOOR AREA, NET
- The gross floor area exclusive of vents, shafts, courts, elevators, stairways, exterior walls and similar facilities.
- FLOOR AREA RATIO
- The numerical value obtained by dividing the gross floor area of a building by the area of the lot on which the building is constructed.
- The width of a lot or parcel abutting a public right-of-way measured at the front property line.
- GARAGE, PRIVATE
- A building or a portion of a building not more than 1,000 square feet in area, in which only private or pleasure-type motor vehicles used by the tenants of the building or buildings on the premises are stored or kept.
- GENERAL PLAN
- The declaration of purposes, policies and programs for the development of the jurisdiction. Also called the Comprehensive Plan.
- GRADE (ADJACENT GROUND ELEVATION)
- The lowest point of elevation of the existing surface of the ground, within the area between the building and a line five feet from building.
- Unauthorized marking on a structure.
- GROSS LEASABLE AREA (GLA)
- The total floor area of a commercial building designed for tenant occupancy and exclusive use, including basements, mezzanines and upper floors, expressed in square feet as measured from the center line of joint partitions and from outside wall faces.
- GROUP CARE FACILITY
- A facility, required to be licensed by the state, which provides training, care, supervision, treatment and/or rehabilitation to the aged, disabled, those convicted of crimes or those suffering the effects of drugs or alcohol; this does not include day-care centers, family day-care homes, foster homes, schools, hospitals, jails, or prisons.
- GUEST ROOM
- Any room or rooms used or intended to be used by a guest for sleeping purposes. Every 100 square feet of superficial floor area in a dormitory shall be considered to be a guest room.
- HABITABLE SPACE (ROOM)
- Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space, and similar areas, are not considered habitable space.
- HOME OCCUPATION
- The partial use of a dwelling unit for commercial or nonresidential uses by a resident thereof which is subordinate and incidental to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes.
- An institution designed for the diagnosis, treatment and care of human illness or infirmity and providing health services, primarily for inpatients, and including as related facilities laboratories, outpatient departments, training facilities and staff offices, but not including clinics or health-care centers.
- HOUSEHOLD PETS
- Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, for family use only (noncommercial) with cages, pens, etc.
- INDUSTRIAL OR RESEARCH PARK
- A tract of land developed according to a master site plan for the use of a family of industries and their related commercial uses, and that is of sufficient size and physical improvement to protect surrounding areas and the general community and to assure a harmonious integration into the neighborhood.
- Any political subdivision which adopts this chapter for administrative regulations within its sphere of authority.
- Any lot or premises on which four or more adult dogs or cats are kept, for compensation or not.
- Any room or portion of a room within a building designed and intended to be used for the cooking or preparation of food.
- The finishing and adornment of unpaved yard areas. Materials and treatment generally include naturally growing elements such as grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. This treatment may also include the use of logs, rocks, fountains, water features and contouring of the earth.
- LEGISLATIVE BODY
- The political entity of the adopting jurisdiction.
- Includes, but is not limited to, horses, bovine animals, sheep, goats, swine, reindeer, donkeys, mules and any other hoofed animals.
- A single parcel of land.
- LOT, CORNER
- A lot abutting on two intersecting or intercepting streets, where the interior angle of the intersection or interception does not exceed 135°.
- LOT, FLAG
- A lot so shaped and designed that the main building site area is set back from the street on which it fronts and includes an access strip connecting the main building site with the frontage street.
- LOT, INTERIOR
- A lot other than a corner lot.
- LOT IRREGULAR
- A lot whose opposing property lines are generally not parallel, such as a pie-shaped lot on a cul-de-sac, or where the side property lines are not parallel to each other.
- MANUFACTURED HOME
- A transportable home in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent form or base and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities.
- MANUFACTURING, HEAVY
- All other types of manufacturing not included in the definitions of "light manufacturing" and "medium manufacturing."
- MANUFACTURING, LIGHT
- The manufacturing, compounding, processing, assembling, packaging or testing of goods or equipment, including research activities, conducted entirely within an enclosed structure, with no outside storage, serviced by a modest volume of trucks or vans and imposing a negligible impact on the surrounding environment by noise, vibration, smoke, dust or pollutants.
- MANUFACTURING, MEDIUM
- The manufacturing, compounding, processing, assembling, packaging, or testing of goods or equipment within an enclosed structure or an open yard, that is capable of being screened from neighboring properties, serviced by a modest volume of trucks or other vehicles.
- MOBILE HOME
- A vehicle, other than a motor vehicle, greater than 320 square feet in gross floor area designed with attached axles and wheels, which may be used for permanent or semipermanent housing or human occupancy, and which is designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle. The term shall also include any vehicle meeting the above description which is used for an office, a classroom, a laboratory, processing, manufacturing, retail sales or other use.
- MOBILE HOME PARK
- A tract of land developed and operated as a unit with individual sites and facilities to accommodate two or more mobile homes.
- MOBILE HOME, SPECIAL CARE
- A mobile home used as a temporary dwelling for a family member who is in need of special, frequent and routine care by reason of advanced age or ill health.
- MODEL HOME
- A dwelling temporarily used as a sales office for a residential development under construction; said home being used for on-site sales and not for general real estate business.
- MORTUARY, FUNERAL HOME
- An establishment in which the dead are prepared for burial or cremation. The facility may include a chapel for the conduct of funeral services and spaces for funeral services and informal gatherings and/or display of funeral equipment.
- MOTEL, HOTEL
- Any building containing six or more guest rooms intended or designed to be used, or which are used, rented or hired out to be occupied, or which are occupied for sleeping purposes by guests.
- NATURAL WATERWAYS
- Those areas, varying in width along streams, creeks, springs, gullies or washes, which are natural drainage channels as determined and identified by the jurisdiction.
- NONCONFORMING BUILDING
- A building or structure or portion thereof lawfully existing at the time this chapter became effective, which was designed, erected or structurally altered for a use that does not conform to the zoning regulations of the district in which it is located.
- NONCONFORMING LOT
- A lot whose width, area or other dimension did not conform to the regulations when this chapter became effective.
- NONCONFORMING SIGN
- A sign or sign structure or portion thereof lawfully existing at the time this chapter became effective, which does not now conform.
- NONCONFORMING USE
- See "use, nonconforming."
- OPEN SPACE
- Land areas that are not occupied by buildings, structures, parking areas, streets, alleys or required yards. Open space may be devoted to landscaping, preservation of natural features, patios, and recreational areas and facilities.
- A public or private area of land, with or without buildings, intended for outdoor active or passive recreational uses.
- PARK AND RIDE FACILITIES
- Are parking lots or structures located along public transit routes designed to encourage transfer from private automobile to mass transit or to encourage carpooling for purposes of commuting, or for access to recreation areas.
- PARKING LOT
- An open area, other than a street, used for the parking of automobiles.
- PARKING SPACE, AUTOMOBILE
- A space within a building or private or public parking lot, exclusive of driveways, ramps, columns, office and work areas, for the parking of an automobile.
- A natural person, heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, and also includes a firm, partnership or corporation, its or their successors or assigns, or the agent of any of the aforesaid.
- PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD)
- A residential or commercial development guided by a total design plan in which one or more of the zoning or subdivision regulations, other than use regulations, may be waived or varied to allow flexibility and creativity in site and building design and location, in accordance with general guidelines.
- PLAT PLAN
- A plat of a lot, drawn to scale, showing the actual measurements, the size and location of any existing buildings or buildings to be erected, the location of the lot in relation to abutting streets, and other such information.
- PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT
- Work within dedicated rights-of-way or easements.
- PUBLIC SERVICES
- Uses operated by a unit of government to serve public needs, such as police (with or without jail), fire service, ambulance, judicial court or government offices, but not including public utility stations or maintenance facilities.
- PUBLIC UTILITY STATION
- A structure or facility used by a public or quasi-public utility agency to store, distribute, generate electricity, gas telecommunications, and related equipment, or to pump or chemically treat water. This does not include storage or treatment of sewage, solid waste or hazardous waste.
- PUBLIC WAY
- Any street, alley or similar parcel of land essentially unobstructed from the ground to the sky which is deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use.
- Essentially a public use, although under private ownership or control.
- A majority of the authorized members of a board or commission.
- RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
- A vehicular unit, other than a mobile home, whose gross floor area is less than 320 square feet, which is designed as a temporary dwelling for travel, recreational and vacation use, and which is either self-propelled, mounted on or pulled by another vehicle. Examples include, but are not limited to, a travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, motor home, fifth-wheel trailer or van.
- RECREATION, INDOOR
- An establishment providing completely enclosed recreation activities. Accessory uses may include the preparation and serving of food and/or the sale of equipment related to the enclosed uses. Included in this definition shall be bowling, roller skating or ice skating, billiards, pool, motion-picture theaters, and related amusements.
- RECREATION, OUTDOOR
- An area free of buildings except for rest rooms, dressing rooms, equipment storage, maintenance buildings, open-air pavilions, and similar structures, used primarily for recreational activities.
- RECYCLING FACILITY
- Any location whose primary use is where waste or scrap materials are stored, bought, sold, accumulated, exchanged, packaged, disassembled or handled, including, but not limited to, scrap metals, paper, rags, tires, and bottles and other such materials.
- REHABILITATION CENTER (HALFWAY HOUSE)
- An establishment whose primary purpose is the rehabilitation of persons. Such services include drug and alcohol rehabilitation, assistance to emotionally and mentally disturbed persons, halfway houses for prison parolees and juveniles.
- RELIGIOUS, CULTURAL AND FRATERNAL ACTIVITY
- A use or building owned or maintained by organized religious organizations or nonprofit associations for social, civic or philanthropic purposes, or the purpose for which persons regularly assemble for worship.
- Interior or exterior remodeling of a structure, other than ordinary repair.
- An establishment which provides food for on-premises consumption.
- RESTAURANT, DRIVE-IN
- A restaurant which serves food to customers seated in vehicles.
- SALVAGE YARD
- Any location whose primary use is where waste or scrap materials are stored, bought, sold, accumulated, exchanged, packaged, disassembled or handled, including, but not limited to, materials such as scrap metals, paper, rags, tires and bottles.
- The minimum required distance between the property line and the building line.
- An advertising message, announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, illustration, insignia, surface or space erected or maintained in view of the observer thereof for identification, advertisement or promotion of the interests of any person, entity, product or service, including the sign structure, supports, lighting system and any attachments, ornaments or other features used to draw the attention of observers.
- SITE PLAN
- A plan which outlines the use and development of any tract of land.
- That portion of building included between the upper surface of any floor and the upper surface of the floor next above, except that the topmost story shall be that portion of a building included between the upper surface of the topmost floor and the ceiling or roof above. If the finished floor level directly above a usable or unused under-floor space is more than six feet above grade as defined herein for more than 50% of the total perimeter or is more than 12 feet above grade as defined herein at any point, such usable or unused under-floor space shall be considered as a story.
- Any thoroughfare or public way not less than 16 feet in width which has been dedicated or deeded to the public for public use.
- STREET, PRIVATE
- A right-of-way or easement in private ownership, not dedicated or maintained as a public street, which affords the principal means of access to two or more sites.
- That which is built or constructed, an edifice or building of any kind, or any piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts jointed together in some definite manner.
- The division of a tract, lot or parcel of land into two or more lots, plats, sites or other divisions of land.
- SWIMMING POOL
- Any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 24 inches deep. This includes in-ground, above-ground and on-ground swimming pools, hot tubs and spas.
- A building used primarily for the presentation of live stage productions, performances or motion pictures.
- The activity occurring on a lot or parcel for which land or a building is arranged, designed or intended, or for which land or a building is or may be occupied, including all accessory uses.
- USE, CHANGE OF
- The change within the classified use of a structure or premises.
- USE, NONCONFORMING
- A use which lawfully occupied a building or land at the time this chapter became effective, which has been lawfully continued and which does not now conform with the use regulations.
- USE, TEMPORARY
- The use that is authorized by this chapter to be conducted for a fixed period of time. Temporary uses are characterized by such activities as the sale of agricultural products, contractors' offices and equipment sheds, fireworks, carnivals, flea markets and garage sales.
- The means by which an adjustment is made in the application of the specific regulations of a zoning ordinance to a particular piece of property, which property, because of special circumstances applicable to it, is deprived of privileges commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same vicinity and zone, and which adjustment remedies disparity in privileges.
- WAREHOUSE, WHOLESALE OR STORAGE
- A building or premises in which goods, merchandise or equipment are stored for eventual distribution.
- WRECKING YARD
- Any place where damaged, inoperable or obsolete machinery such as cars, trucks and trailers, or parts thereof, are stored, bought, sold, accumulated, exchanged, disassembled or handled.
- An open, unoccupied space on a lot, other than a court, which is unobstructed from the ground upward by buildings or structures except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
- YARD, FRONT
- A yard extending across the full width of the lot, depth of which is the minimum horizontal distance between the front lot line and a line parallel thereto.
- YARD REAR
- A yard extending across the full width of the lot, the depth of which is the minimum horizontal distance between the rear lot line or ordinary high water line and a line parallel thereto.
- YARD, SIDE
- An open, unoccupied space on the same lot with the building and between the building line and the side lot line, or to the ordinary high water line.
- ZERO LOT LINE DEVELOPMENT
- Single-family dwellings arranged on individual lots as either detached structures with one or more side walls on a side property line.
Allowable A Zone uses shall be:
Division 1. Any designated open space as set forth in this chapter.
Division 2. Any agricultural use, including, but not limited to, dwellings, maintenance buildings and other such uses necessary for the main use.
Division 3. Any public park land or other similar recreational use, including, but not limited to, amusement rides, office buildings, retail buildings and dwellings necessary for the maintenance of the main use.
Bulk regulations. The minimum area, setbacks, density and maximum height shall be as prescribed in the following table:
Allowable R Zone uses shall be:
Division 1. Any permanent one-family and two-family dwellings, including private garages, accessory living quarters, recreation rooms or private stables accessory to the main use.
Division 2. Any use permitted in the R, Division 1 Zones and multiple dwellings, apartment houses and condominiums.
Division 3. Any use permitted in the R, Division 2 Zones and mobile homes.
Rules for structures in districts. For all principal structures permitted in the R-1, R-2 Districts, the following shall apply:
The minimum width of the main portion of all principal dwellings shall be not less than 24 feet, as measured across the narrowest portion. Width measurement shall not take into account overhang of other projections.
Shall have at least 960 square feet of habitable interior room, excluding garage and basement.
All principal dwellings and principal structures shall be placed on a permanent footing with continuous perimeter foundation in compliance with the Uniform Building Code as adopted by the City and insulated in accordance with State of Minnesota Energy Codes.
Manufactured homes must provide the manufacturer's approved foundation drawings.
Side wall. In a residential and multiple-dwelling zone or in any zone with a lot with a residential dwelling, garages constructed or altered after the effective date of this amendment may have a side wall of not more than 10 feet eight inches in height. The ten-foot-eight-inch side wall is measured from the floor of the garage to the top plate.
[Added 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 317]
Size limitation: A garage may be 1,000 square feet in size. The total square footage of outbuildings on a lot shall be limited to 1,000 square feet or 10% of the lot size, whichever is greater. In no event, however, shall the total square footage of outbuildings on a lot, including unattached garage, exceed 1,200 square feet. No more than three structures not attached to a house will be allowed. Rear yard square footage for existing outbuildings shall be included when considering total footage for new structures.
[Added 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 317]
Bulk regulations. The minimum area, setbacks, density and maximum height shall be as follows:
[Amended 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 317]
Allowable C Zone uses shall be:
Division 1. Any office, retail, automobile service station, restaurant, day-care center, residential or other small-scale retail or personal service use servicing the day-to-day needs of the residents of the surrounding area.
Division 2. Any use permitted in the C, Division 1 Zones and nurseries, physical fitness centers, community and fraternal clubs, churches, libraries, and automated public utility facilities.
Division 3. Any use permitted in the C, Division 2 Zones and supermarkets, department stores, hospitals, nursing homes, automobile sales, lumber yards, wholesale outlets, printing plants, cocktail lounges and taverns, self-storage centers, theaters, bowling alleys, museums, and hotels and motels with the exception of other residential uses.
Division 4. Any use permitted in the C, Division 3 Zones and large-scale retail, commercial and wholesale uses, bakeries, storage yards, distributors, major automobile repair shops, machine shops, woodworking shops, veterinarian clinics, and meat markets where slaughtering of animals occurs.
Bulk regulations. The minimum area, setbacks, density and maximum height shall be as prescribed in the following table:
Allowable M Zone uses shall be:
Division 1. Any light manufacturing or industrial use, such as warehouses, research or testing laboratories, product distribution centers, woodworking shops, auto body shops, furniture assembly, dry-cleaning plants, machine shops, and boat building storage yards.
Division 2. Any use permitted in the M, Division 1 Zone and stadium and arenas, indoor swap meets, breweries, liquid fertilizer manufacturing, carpet manufacturing, monument works and a regional recycling center.
Division 3. Any use permitted in the M, Division 2 Zone and auto dismantling yards, alcohol manufacturing, paper manufacturing, quarries, salt works, petroleum refining and other similar uses.
Bulk regulations. The minimum area, setbacks, density, and maximum height shall be as follows:
Prohibited use in certain zones. Farm animals shall not be kept within the following zones: R Zones, C Zones, and M Zones.
Off street parking. There shall be provided at the time of erection of any main building or at the time such buildings are altered, enlarged, converted or increased in capacity minimum off-street parking space with adequate provisions for ingress and egress by standard-sized vehicles in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
Parking space requirements. Required number of off-street parking space for each use permitted by this chapter shall not be less than as follows:
Truck or commercial vehicle parking. No truck or commercial vehicle of a rated rate of more than one ton shall be parked on any street or on any residential premise in any R Zone for any consecutive period of more than four hours or more, provided that nothing shall prevent the parking of such vehicle in a fully enclosed garage or similar permanent structure.
This section shall regulate the placement of fences within single-family and multiple-family residential zones within the City of Fairfax. From and after the date of adoption of this section, no fence shall be erected in any such zone without first obtaining a building maintenance permit from the City of Fairfax.
Building maintenance permits shall be issued for fences in residential zones only if all provisions of this section are complied with. The City may, in its sole discretion, grant a variance for the placement of a fence that does not conform to the terms of this section.
No fences shall be erected in the front yard of any property in a residential zone. The "front yard" for purpose of this section is defined as all that portion of the yard between the front wall of the dwelling structure and the public street fronting the dwelling.
Any fence shall be considered a structure for the purpose of the setback requirement from the rear lot line of any lot.
For corner lots in a residential zone, no fence shall be erected in the yard facing the public street fronting the property. No fence shall be erected on the portion of the yard facing the side street of the property any closer to the side street than on a line which is the extension of the side wall of the home facing said side street and shall be no more than six feet in height.
All fences shall be built with a minimum setback of two feet from adjoining property to allow the owner of the fence sufficient access to maintain both sides of the fence, to include the control of grass and weeds along the fence line. No fence shall be constructed, erected, or maintained on utility easements and shall be built two feet from all alley right-of-ways. Depending on the nature of the fence and the property, the City may require a wider setback in its discretion.
Fences shall be no more than 3 1/2% feet in height fronting the property and no more than six feet in height in the rear or lot side of the property. No fences shall be constructed or erected higher than six feet except where residential adjoins commercial or industrial property where an eight-foot fence may be constructed or erected after obtaining a building permit and/or variance from the City. Fence construction material must be approved by the City, but a minimum requirement shall be that the construction material shall be treated or coated or of such material as to be resistant to rot and rust. Supporting posts must be buried at least 30 inches deep and must be substantial enough to stabilize the fence to keep it in a straight and erect position. No plywood, razor wire, snow fence, or materials originally intended for other uses shall be used in constructing a fence. Chicken wire is permitted only for residential garden uses. No barbed wire or electric fences or similar special purpose fences shall be allowed without a conditional use permit from the City. Seasonal snow fences are exempt from this section.
If city electric and gas meters are located behind a fence, the fence will have a gate that will be unlocked and be clear of debris, snow and/or ice so City meter readers can access the meters.
Decorative corner fences on corner lots, such as split rail or plantings, are allowed as long as they are less than 20 feet in both directions, do not exceed 30 inches in height and do not constitute a traffic hazard as determined by the Chief of Police. No fence shall constitute a traffic hazard.
All fences already in existence at the date of enactment of this section, and all fences erected within the City hereafter, shall be kept free of weeds and refuse, shall be maintained so as to avoid sagging, and shall be kept properly painted, stained, or rust-proofed, as appropriate for the material of which the fence is constructed.
Any replacement, repair or relocation of any fences already in existence at the date of enactment of this section shall comply with this section in all respects.
If any fence is found to be in violation of this section, the City shall notify the property owner by written notice served on the property owner personally or by U.S. Mail to the property owner's last known address, stating that the property owner has thirty days to bring the fence in compliance with this section. If the property owner fails to bring the fence in compliance with this section within said thirty-day notice term, the fence permit shall be considered void, and said fence must be immediately removed by the property owner. Current fences that are determined by the Chief of Police to be considered a potential threat to public health or safety shall be removed or changed to comply with this section after the property owner has been given the right to be heard by the City Council.
Home occupations shall be permitted in all zones, provided the home occupation is clearly and obviously subordinate to the main use or dwelling unit for residential purposes. Home occupations shall be conducted wholly within the primary structure or existing accessory building on the premises.
The home occupation shall not exceed 25% of the floor area of the primary structure and 50% of an accessory building on the premises.
Other than those related by blood, marriage, or adoption, no more than one person may be employed in the home occupation.
There shall be no exterior display or storage of goods on said premises.
Inventory and supplies shall not occupy more than 50% of the area permitted to be used as a home occupation.
There shall be no more than one advertising sign displayed on the premises and said sign shall not exceed two square feet in area, the location shall be facade signage.
Home occupations involving auto repair or maintenance, beauty shops, or barber shops shall require a conditional use permit.
Sales and services to patrons shall be arranged by appointment and scheduled so that not more than one patron vehicle is on the premise at the same time.
Two additional parking spaces shall be provided on the premises, except only one need be provided if the home occupation does not have an employee.
Development of four or more dwelling units shall be permitted one development complex sign for each public street frontage not within the project. Such signs may be placed in any location on private property, provided the sign complies with the same height limitation specified for fences in § 260-15. Maximum sign area for each sign shall be two square feet plus one square foot for each dwelling unit not to exceed 25 square feet in area.
Business signs. Nonconforming and conditionally permitted commercial and institutional uses shall each be permitted facade signage and/or one freestanding sign per public street frontage, not to exceed a combined total of 25 square feet. The height of freestanding signs for other conditionally permitted uses such as churches and schools shall be limited to 15 feet.
Commercial zones. Each enterprise, institution or business shall be permitted wall signs, one under-canopy sign per street frontage and one freestanding sign each.
Manufacturing signs. Each enterprise, institution, franchise or business shall be permitted wall signs, one under-canopy sign per street frontage, and one projecting or freestanding sign per street frontage.
Freestanding signs. Freestanding signs shall not exceed 15 feet in height within 15 feet of any lot line abutting public street right-of-way. For each additional one foot of setback beyond 15 feet the sign height may be increased by two feet, provided that in no event shall a sign exceed 36 feet in height.
In granting a conditional use permit/variance or special use permit the Council may prescribe appropriate conditions to insure compliance and to protect adjacent properties.
Upon filing with the City Clerk-Treasurer an application for consideration of zoning request, a date must be set for a hearing thereon, which shall be not later than 45 days from the date of filing, and shall hear such persons as wish to be heard either in person or in writing. Notice of any such hearing shall be mailed not less than 10 days before the date of hearing to each person who filed the request, and to each owner of property situated wholly or partly within 350 feet of the property to which the request relates.
The Council must determine that such use at the proposed location will be consistent with the general and applicable specific objectives of the Comprehensive Plan and this chapter, will be harmonious and appropriate in the area and will not be hazardous or disturbing to neighboring uses.
If the Council denies the special or conditional use permit, the Council shall include in its determination findings as to the ways in which the proposed use does not comply with the standards imposed by this chapter. In approving any special or conditional use permit the Council may impose conditions which it considers necessary to meet the standards of this chapter and to protect the best interests of the surrounding area and the City as a whole.
Codes adopted by reference. The Minnesota State Building Code, as adopted by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, including all of the amendments, rules and regulations established, adopted and published from time to time by the Minnesota Commissioner of Labor and Industry, through the Construction Codes and Licensing Division, is hereby adopted by reference with the exception of the optional chapters, unless specifically adopted in this section. The Minnesota State Building Code is hereby incorporated in this chapter as if fully set out herein.
Application, administration and enforcement. The application, administration, and enforcement of the codes shall be in accordance with the Minnesota State Building Code. The code shall be enforced within the extraterritorial limits permitted by the Minnesota Statutes. The code enforcement agency of this municipality is called the "Fairfax City Council." This code shall be enforced by the Minnesota Certified Building Official designated by this municipality to administer the Minnesota State Building Code.
Permits and fees. The issuance of permits and the collection of fees shall be as authorized in the Minnesota Statutes. Permit fees shall be assessed for work governed by this code in accordance with the fee schedule adopted by the municipality by resolution. In addition, a surcharge fee shall be collected on all permits issued for work governed by this code in accordance with the Minnesota Statutes.
The applicant for a permit shall provide an estimated construction value at the time of application, except for fixed fees. Permit valuations shall include the total value of all construction work, including materials and labor, for which the permit is being issued. The Building Official shall make the final determination of value. Valuation is based on the most current valuation provided by the ICC via State of Minnesota Building Codes and Standards Division or contract bid price. The Building Official shall make the final determination.
Exceptions: Building permit valuations for the following structures shall be based on the valuation of on-site work only:
When submittal documents are required by the Building Official, a plan review fee shall be paid.
Payment of fees. A permit shall not be issued until the fees prescribed by the municipality have been paid.
The Building Official may authorize refunding of any fees paid hereunder which were erroneously paid or collected.
The Building Official may authorized refunding of not more than 80% of the permit fee or plan review fee paid when no work has been done under a permit issued.
The Building Official shall not authorize refunding of any fee paid except on written application filed by the original permittee not later than 180 days after the date of fee payment.
Reinspections. A reinspection fee may be assessed for each inspection or reinspection when such portion of work for which inspection is called for is not complete or when corrections called for are not made.
Expiration. Every permit issued by the Building Official shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the building or work authorized by such permit is not commenced within 180 days from the date of such permit, or if the building or work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for a period of 180 days. Before such work can be recommenced, a new permit shall be obtained to do so first, and the fee therefor shall be 1/2 the amount required for a new permit for such work, excluding plan review fee, provided that no changes have been made or will be made in the original plans and specification for such work. The Building Official may grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time, for periods not more than 180 days each. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.
The fire zones referred to in the code herein adopted by reference are established as follows:
It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish, equip, use occupy or maintain any building or land or cause or permit the same to be done in violation of this chapter. When any building or parcel of land regulated by this chapter is being used contrary to this chapter, the Code Official may order such use discontinued and the structure, parcel of land, or portion thereof, vacated by the notice served on any person causing such use to be continued. Such person shall discontinue the use within the time prescribed by the Code Official. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or of the Code adopted by reference is guilty of a misdemeanor.
[Added 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 318]
Pursuant to the authority granted by Minn. Stat. § 462.3593, Subdivision 9, the City of Fairfax opts-out of the requirements of Minn. Stat. § 462.3593, which defines and regulates temporary family health care dwellings.
[Added 2-14-2017 by Ord. No. 124]
Purpose and intent.
Fairfax ("City") believes it is in the public interest to encourage renewable energy systems that have a positive impact in energy conservation with limited adverse impact on the community. While Fairfax strongly encourages increased energy conservation and improved energy efficiency, the City also finds that increased use of appropriate renewable energy systems will be an important part of improving sustainability.
The renewable energy regulations are intended to supplement existing zoning ordinances and land use practices and ensure these systems are appropriately designed, sited, and installed. These regulations are in place to balance the need to improve energy sustainability through increased use of renewable energy systems with concerns for preservation of public health, welfare, and safety, as well as environmental quality, visual and aesthetic values, and existing neighborhood social and ecological stability.
The requirements of this section shall apply to all small-scale solar energy systems (residential, commercial, multifamily and condominium).
Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:
- ACTIVE/SOLAR ENERGY EQUIPMENT/SYSTEM
- A solar energy system whose primary purpose is to harvest energy by transforming solar energy into another form of energy or transferring heat from a collector to another medium using mechanical, electrical, or chemical means.
- BUILDING-INTEGRATED PHOTOVOLTAIC (BIPV) SYSTEMS
- A solar energy system that consists of integrating photovoltaic modules into the building structure by replacing typical building material, such as the roof or the façade, and which does not alter the relief of the roof.
- FLUSH-MOUNTED SOLAR PANEL
- Photovoltaic panels and tiles that are installed flush to the surface of a roof and which cannot be angled or raised.
- FREESTANDING OR GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- A solar energy system that is installed directly in the ground or by means of brackets or poles and is not attached or affixed to an existing structure.
- PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) SYSTEMS
- A solar energy system that produces electricity by the use of semiconductor devices called "photovoltaic cells" that generate electricity whenever light strikes them.
- QUALIFIED SOLAR INSTALLER
- A person who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of solar electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training on the hazards involved. Such training shall include the proper use of special precautionary techniques and personal protective equipment, as well as the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed energized parts from other parts of electrical equipment and to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts.
- ROOF- OR BUILDING-MOUNTED SOLAR SYSTEM
- A solar power system in which solar panels are mounted on top of the structure of a roof either as a flush-mounted system or as modules fixed to frames which can be tilted toward the south at an optimal angle.
- SOLAR COLLECTOR
- A solar photovoltaic cell, panel, or array, or solar hot air or water collector device, which relies upon solar radiation as an energy source for the generation of electricity or transfer of stored heat.
- SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- A set of devices whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for space heating, cooling, electricity generation, or water heating.
- SOLAR FARM
- A commercial facility that converts sunlight into electricity, whether by photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar thermal devices (CST), or other conversion technology, for the primary purpose of wholesale sales of generated electricity. A solar farm is the principal land use for the parcel on which it is located.
- SOLAR PANEL
- A device for the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity.
- SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEMS
- Solar thermal systems directly heat water or other liquid using sunlight. The heated liquid is used for such purposes as space heating and cooling, domestic hot water, and heating pool water.
Permits and standards.
Rooftop- and building mounted solar collectors. Rooftop- and building-mounted solar collectors are permitted in all zoning districts in the City, subject to the following conditions:
Building permits shall be required for installation of all rooftop- and building- mounted solar collectors.
Notwithstanding the height limitations of the zoning district, roof- or building-mounted solar energy systems shall not extend higher than three feet above the ridge level of a roof on a structure with a gable, hip or gambrel roof and shall not extend higher than five feet above the surface of the roof when installed on a flat or shed roof.
The solar system shall not extend beyond the exterior perimeter of the building on which it is mounted.
Coverage. Roof-mounted solar energy systems shall not cover more than 80% of the total area of the roof. Solar energy systems must have three feet of clearance around all edges to facilitate emergency responder access.
An engineer licensed with the State of Minnesota shall be required to determine whether or not the roof system is structurally capable of supporting the solar collectors.
Ground-mounted and freestanding solar collectors. Ground-mounted and freestanding solar collectors are accessory structures in all zoning districts. No permit may be issued for ground-mounted and freestanding solar collectors except by conditional use permit, except for lots in excess of 20,000 square feet which meet the following conditions. All ground-mounted and freestanding solar collectors shall comply with the following conditions:
Building permits are required for the installation of all ground-mounted or freestanding solar collectors.
The location of the solar collector shall meet all applicable setback requirements for accessory structures in the zoning district in which it is located. A minimum setback of 15 feet from all property lines, a minimum of 30 feet from all buildings located on adjacent lots, a minimum of 15 feet from all public rights-of-way, a minimum of 15 feet from all utility easements.
The height of the solar collector and any mounts shall not exceed fifteen (15) feet when oriented at maximum tilt.
Solar energy equipment shall be located in a manner to reasonably minimize view blockage for surrounding properties and shading of property to the north, while still providing adequate solar access for collectors.
Solar energy collectors shall be screened when possible and practicable through the use of architectural features, earth berms, landscaping, or other screening which will harmonize with the character of the property and surrounding area.
Solar energy systems are to be located in the rear yard only.
Solar thermal systems. Solar thermal systems are permitted in all zoning districts, subject to the following condition: Building permits are required for the installation of all solar thermal systems.
Solar farms. No permits may be issued for any type of solar farm except by conditional use permit. All solar farms shall comply with the following conditions:
Planning, design, and compliance.
Plan applications. Plan applications for solar energy systems shall be accompanied by to-scale horizontal and vertical (elevation) drawings. The drawings must show the location of the system on the building or the property for a ground-mounted or freestanding system, including property lines.
Pitched-roof-mounted solar energy systems. For all roof-mounted systems, except those on a flat roof, the elevation must show the highest finished slope of the solar collector and the slope of the finished roof surface on which it is mounted.
Flat-roof-mounted solar energy systems. For flat roof applications, a drawing shall be submitted showing the distance to the roof edge and any parapets on the building, and shall identify the height of the building on the street frontage side, the shortest distance of the system from the street frontage edge of the building, and the highest finished height of the solar collector above the finished surface of the roof.
Plan approvals. Applications that meet the design requirements of this section, and do not require a conditional use permit, shall be granted administrative approval by the Zoning Official and shall not require City Council review. Plan approval does not indicate compliance with Building Code or Electric Code.
Compliance with Building Code. All active solar energy systems require approval of the local Building Code Official pursuant to provisions of the State of Minnesota Building Code, and solar thermal systems shall comply with the HVAC-related requirements of the Energy Code.
Compliance with State Electric Code. All photovoltaic systems shall comply with the State of Minnesota Electric Code.
Compliance with State Plumbing Code. Solar thermal systems shall comply with applicable Minnesota State Plumbing Code requirements.
Utility notification. The owner of a solar energy system that will physically connect to a house or other building's electrical system and/or the electric utility grid must enter into a signed interconnection agreement with the local utility provider prior to the issuance of a building permit.
Feeder lines. All power exterior electrical or other service lines must be buried below the surface of the ground.
Exemptions. Building-integrated solar energy systems are exempt from the requirements of this section and shall be regulated as any other building element.
Solar energy systems and equipment shall be permitted only if they are determined by the City not to present any unreasonable safety risks including, but not limited to, the following:
All solar collector installations must be performed by a qualified solar installer.
Solar energy system components shall be certified by Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., and the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. The City reserves the right to deny a building permit for proposed solar energy systems deemed to have inadequate certification.
Prior to operation, electrical connections must be inspected by an appropriate electrical inspection person or agency as determined by the City.
Any connection to the public utility grid must be inspected by the appropriate public utility.
Solar energy systems shall be maintained in good working order.
Rooftop- and building-mounted solar collectors shall meet Minnesota's Fire Safety Code and Building Code standards.
If solar storage batteries are included as part of the solar collector system, they must be placed in a secure container or enclosure meeting the requirements of the Minnesota State Building Code when in use, and, when no longer used, shall be disposed of in accordance with the laws and regulations of City and other applicable laws and regulations.
If an individual is found to be in violation of the provisions of this section, appeals should be made in accordance with the established procedures of the City Code.
If a building permit for a solar energy device is denied because of a conflict with other goals of the City, the applicant may seek relief by appealing to the City Council, which shall regard solar energy as a factor to be considered, weighed and balanced along with other factors.