Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Aeronautics and Aviation

Procedural Steps Toward Zoning Enactment

Aerial Photo of an Airport

Procedural Steps Toward Airport Zoning Enactment at Publicly-Owned Airports

Short Summary of Procedural Steps updated March 2021

  1. Submit Documents to MnDOT Aeronautics as they are drafted
  2. Establish Zoning Board
  3. Draft Zoning Ordinance and Maps
  4. MnDOT Aeronautics First Review
  5. Prepare for Public Hearing
  6. Public Hearing
  7. Commissioner's Order
  8. Second Public Hearing (If required)
  9. Adopt Ordinance
  10. File with County Recorder

Zoning procedures are based on Minnesota Statutes Chapter 360, sections 360.061 to 360.074.

Procedural Steps Toward Airport Zoning Enactment at Publicly-Owned Airports

Submit Documents

Submit the following documents to the MnDOT Office of Aeronautics, Planning and Zoning Coordinator at 222 East Plato Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55107-1618, as soon as they are drafted. Check the Planning and Zoning Contacts list for the name of the regional coordinator for your airport.

  1. Letter from the airport owner to the county(s), township(s), and/or city(s) requesting the establishment of a joint airport zoning board. [FORM NO. 1 (PDF, 8 KB)].
  2. Certified resolutions of the airport owner, the county(s), township(s), and/or city(s) establishing the joint airport zoning board. [FORM NO. 2 (PDF, 10 KB), FORM NO. 3 (PDF, 10 KB), and FORM NO. 4 (PDF, 10 KB)].
  3. A draft of the proposed ordinance and map prior to presentation at public hearing. NOTE: TWO (2) HEARINGS MUST BE HELD.
  4. Certified resolution of the zoning board for each hearing held, declaring a proposed ordinance and arranging a time and place for a public hearing. [FORM NO. 5 (PDF, 8 KB)].
  5. Affidavit of publication from two (2) newspapers of the notice of public hearing for each hearing held. [FORM NO. 6 (PDF, 9 KB)].
  6. Affidavit that mailed notice was given for each hearing held; [FORM NO. 7 (PDF, 8 KB)]; and additional "mailed notice" documents. [EXHIBIT A (PDF, 7 KB), EXHIBIT B (PDF, 9 KB), EXHIBIT C (PDF, 10 KB), EXHIBIT D (PDF, 23 KB), and EXHIBIT E (PDF, 8 KB)].
  7. Certified minutes of each public hearing.
  8. Certified zoning board resolution as to a proposed zoning ordinance to be submitted for Commissioner's Order of Approval. [FORM NO. 8 (PDF, 8 KB)].
  9. Certified zoning board resolution adopting the proposed ordinance. [FORM NO. 9 (PDF, 8 KB)].
  10. Two (2) certified copies of the adopted ordinance with accompanying map sets.
  11. Certification as to the filing of the ordinance with the county register of deeds and the filing numbers.

NOTE: Certification consists of:

  1. Seal and signature of city clerk, or
  2. Stamp and signature of a notary public, or
  3. Stamp and signature of county auditor.

Establish Airport Zoning Board

The airport owner, (except for the MAC)*, has three options as to how zoning shall be adopted:

  1. The airport owner, alone, adopts and enforces the ordinance when; the area to be zoned is entirely within territorial limits of the municipality, or all political jurisdictions requested to zone or join in a Joint Airport Zoning Board decline participation.
  2. Request creation of a joint airport zoning board. [See FORM NO. 1 (PDF, 8 KB)].
    *The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) has one option. It shall request creation of one joint airport zoning board for each airport operated under its authority.
  3. Request county or other municipality** to individually adopt and enforce airport zoning regulations for the area in question, that conform to minimum standards prescribed by the Commissioner. [See FORM NO. 1 (PDF, 8 KB)].

**MUNICIPALITY, for airport zoning purposes may be defined as:

  1. Cities, big and small, which are incorporated,
  2. Towns, or townships,
  3. Does not include a county unless the county owns or controls an airport (in which case the county may exercise all the powers granted to other municipalities),
  4. Metropolitan Airports Commission, and
  5. State of Minnesota, when it owns an airport.

To Invite a Joint Airport Zoning Board (JAZB)

  1. Airport owner requests county and municipality(s) in writing by CERTIFIED MAIL to join in creating a joint airport zoning board. [See FORM NO. 1 (PDF, 8 KB)].
    1. The request shall be made by CERTIFIED MAIL to the governing body of each jurisdiction which is affected by the area to be zoned.
    2. If, WITHIN 60 DAYS, a county board, town board or city council FAILS to pass a resolution indicating zoning participation, then the airport owner may zone and enforce the ordinance for the area in question.
  2. Municipality(s), county, and owner each pass a resolution creating the JAZB and each appoint a maximum of two members to said board to serve until their appointing authority replaces them. [See FORM NO. 2 (PDF, 10 KB), FORM NO. 3 (PDF, 10 KB), and FORM NO. 4 (PDF, 10 KB)]. NOTE: Cities of the first class (population greater than 100,000) that own or control an airport, shall appoint four members (instead of two) to the JAZB.
    1. At the first meeting of the JAZB, the appointed members elect an additional person who is to serve as chair.
  3. MnDOT Aeronautics is available to present an overview of the zoning process and standards if desired.

Draft Zoning Ordinance and Maps

  1. The JAZB, working with an attorney, an engineer, and using MnDOT Aeronautics as a resource, draft an Airport Zoning Ordinance and Map. MnDOT Aeronautics’ model ordinance can be used as guidance and is available at: here. Sample maps are also available at: website name.

MnDOT Aeronautics First Review

  1. MnDOT Aeronautics will provide a courtesy review of the draft ordinance proposal before the 1st public hearing upon request of the JAZB. The intent of this review is to inform the JAZB if the proposed draft ordinance meets standards. If the ordinance does not meet standards, MnDOT Aeronautics will advise the JAZB of the standard that applies.

Prepare for Public Hearing

  1. Zoning board passes a resolution declaring this ordinance to be their proposed ordinance, setting a date and place for public hearing. [See FORM NO. 5 (PDF, 8 KB)].
    1. If an Established Residential Neighborhood (ERN) in a Built Up Urban Area (BUUA) exists, the zoning board must note the requirement that certain prohibited land uses must be acquired, altered or removed at public expense.
    2. In the event that a prohibited land use exists in an Established Residential Neighborhood, the zoning board shall so notify the airport owner at least 60 days prior to the first hearing on adoption of the ordinance.
    3. The airport owner shall then consider the alternatives of closing a runway, runway realignment or relocation, runway extension or shortening and displaced thresholds and shall then promptly notify the local zoning authority in writing, if it proposes to take any of such alternative actions.
  2. The zoning board shall give mailed notice of the hearing as follows:
    1. At least 10 days before the hearing to any persons in municipalities who own land proposed to be included in safety zones A and B, [See EXHIBIT A (PDF, 87 KB), EXHIBIT B (PDF, 9 KB), EXHIBIT C (PDF, 10 KB), and EXHIBIT D (PDF, 23 KB)] and;
    2. To the governing body of each political subdivision whose territory is affected by the area to be zoned, [See EXHIBIT E (PDF, 8 KB)], and;
    3. At least 10 days before the hearing to persons or municipalities that have previously requested such notice from the authority. [See FORM NO. 6 (PDF, 9 KB)].

For the purpose of giving mailed notice, the zoning authority may use appropriate records to determine the names and addresses of owners. The failure to give mailed notice to individual property owners, or defects in the notice, shall not invalidate the proceedings provided a bona fide attempt to comply with this subdivision has been made. A copy of the notice and a list of the owners and addresses to which the notice was sent shall be attested to in an affidavit by the responsible person and shall be made a part of the records of the proceedings. [See FORM NO. 7 (PDF, 8 KB)].

  1. Advertise hearing. The notice shall not be published in the legal section of a newspaper. The notice of hearing shall be published at least three times * during the period between 15 days and 5 days before the hearing in: [See FORM NO. 6 (PDF, 9 KB)].
    1. An official newspaper, and
    2. A second newspaper designated by the zoning authority which has a wide general circulation in the area affected by the proposed regulations.
      *“At least three times” may be two times in one paper, and one time in the second paper.
    3. If there is not a second newspaper of wide general circulation in the area, notice is only required to be published once in the official newspaper of the jurisdiction.

Public Hearing

  1. Hold the hearing. After the hearing, the board will pass one of the following resolutions:
    1. If no changes are necessary, a resolution is passed stating that a public hearing was held, that no changes are necessary and that this proposed ordinance will be submitted to the MnDOT, Office of Aeronautics for approval. [See FORM NO. 8 (PDF, 8 KB)].
    2. If changes are desired, the proposed ordinance is amended and a resolution is passed declaring the amended ordinance to be the newly proposed ordinance and that this proposed ordinance will be submitted to the MnDOT Office of Aeronautics for approval. [See FORM NO. 8 (PDF, 8 KB)].

Commissioner’s Order

  1. Submit proposal to MnDOT Aeronautics for Commissioner’s Order of Approval.
    1. Upon review for approval, the Commissioner will determine whether the proposal conforms to the minimum standards. If no objections are made, the proposed ordinance is issued a COMMISSIONER'S ORDER OF APPROVAL.
    2. Alternately, if the minimum standards are not met, the Commissioner will OBJECT on the grounds that proposed regulations do not conform to the minimum standards.
      1. The JAZB may make such amendments as are necessary to meet such objections.
      2. Or, the JAZB may request an exception by providing documentation that demonstrates that the social and economic costs of restricting land uses in accordance with the standards outweigh the benefits of a strict application of the standards. The request for an exception should include; an argument, documentation, and explanation.
      3. The Commissioner may continue to Object, or may provide an Order of Approval.

Second Public Hearing

  1. Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8.
  2. Hold second hearing.
  3. Resubmit ordinance proposal to the MnDOT Office of Aeronautics. If at the second public hearing it was decided to make revisions to the proposed ordinance, repeat steps 9b and 10 above.
    1. If the revisions were not substantial, a new Commissioner's Order need not be issued.
    2. If SUBSTANTIAL REVISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE, then final adoption SHALL NOT take place until after final approval by the Commissioner.

Adopt Ordinance

  1. Adopt ordinance. [See FORM NO. 9 (PDF, 8 KB)].

File with County Recorders

  1. The adopted ordinance must be filed with the County Recorder in each county in which such zoned area is located.
  2. Submit two (2) certified copies of the filed documents to MnDOT Aeronautics.