ORDINANCE NO. __________



The city of Duluth does ordain:

     Section 1. That Section 50-36.3 of the Duluth City Code, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 50-36.3.    Same--Standards.

     A low density planned development shall implement the purposes set forth in Section 50-36.1 of this Code and shall meet the following standards and requirements:

     (a)  Lot area per family. The average lot area per family within the site shall not be less than 80 percent of the lot area per family required in the district(s) in which the development is located;

     (b)  Frontage, building setbacks and yards. Frontages, building setbacks and yard requirements shall be established for each development plan to insure that the purposes of this Article are carried out. The following general standards shall be considered in establishing such requirements:

Dwelling type

Minimum lot frontage (in feet)

Minimum building setback from any low density planned development boundary line (in feet)

Minimum distance between principal buildings (in feet)













Multiple dwelling




     (c)  Useable open space. Adequate provisions shall be made for the permanent preservation and maintenance of useable open space for the mutual use of all residents within the low density planned development. Useable open space shall not be less than 15 percent of the gross area of the project exclusive of streets, except that when the city council determines that publicly owned useable open space exists in close proximity to the proposed development, a lesser percentage may be approved. Usable open space shall be reasonably accessible from all dwelling units with minimal conflict with vehicular traffic. The use and development of such open space shall be limited to that approved through this special use permit;

     (d)  Natural features. Environmentally sensitive natural features such as swamps and other wetlands, steep slopes, rock outcrops, prime tree stands and flood plains shall be preserved by the development plan;

     (e)  Landscaping. Trees and/or shrubs shall be provided within all building setback and useable open space areas, and whenever practical, healthy trees within such areas shall be saved. Shade trees having a minimum trunk diameter of two inches at the time of placement shall be placed along all sides of parking areas with an average spacing of not more than 12 feet, and adjacent to all lot lines on public streets with a maximum spacing of 30 feet, except when the city council determines that because of topography or existing vegetation, lesser requirements are appropriate. Views of garages shall be minimized through judicious placement or through the placement of coniferous vegetation or sodded earth berms. Storage areas for refuse shall be screened with wood, brick or stone fences;

     (f)  Off street parking. For each two dwelling units a minimum of three off street parking spaces shall be provided, at least 1/4 of which shall be located within a garage, except when the city council determines that because of the type of residents that will be occupying the dwelling units, lesser requirements are appropriate.

     Each garage shall be similar in design character and materials to the dwelling to which it is appurtenant within the low density planned development. Each garage shall be designed and used for storage of not more than six vehicles. Parking areas containing more than eight adjacent parking spaces shall be separated by curbed landscaped islands which have a minimum width of eight feet and contain a minimum of two shade trees having a minimum trunk diameter of two inches at the time of placement, except when the city council determines that because of topography or existing vegetation, lesser requirements are appropriate;

     (g)  Arrangement of buildings. The location of all buildings shall be harmonious with significant natural features and shall maximize views of scenic resources from dwelling units;

     (h)  Building and structure design. All buildings and other structures shall be compatible with the texture, scale and massing of the existing development in the area;

     (i)  Sewage disposal. On site sewage disposal systems shall not be permitted. All subsurface sewage treatment systems shall conform to the following requirements:

           (1)  The proposed project is located in an area designated rural residential in the city of Duluth comprehensive land use plan, Duluth comprehensive plan future land use map, adopted June 26, 2006; and

           (2)  The city engineer approves in writing the use of the system; and

           (3)  The applicant provides a report prepared and certified by a certified soil scientist who is certified by the Minnesota pollution control agency as a subsurface sewage treatment systems designer. The report shall include the following data:

                 (A)  Identification of the locations of suitable soil conditions for the siting of the subsurface sewage treatment system(s); and

                 (B)  A letter from the appropriate permitting authority accepting the soil condition report; and

           (4)  The applicant shall impose covenants upon all owners within the permitted area requiring each owner to enter into a managed onsite system agreement. The agreement shall provide that all systems shall be inspected and maintained by a qualified third-party operator on a regular basis and provide for enforcement authority by the owner’s association. A current copy of the covenants shall be submitted to the city planning department prior to the issuance of any building permit.

     Section 2. That the city planning commission unanimously recommended approval of the ordinance amendment following a public hearing at their May 13, 2008, regular meeting and that such public hearing was duly noticed.

     Section 3. That this ordinance shall take effect 30 days after its passage and publication.



STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This zoning ordinance amendment will enable applicants proposing to use the low density planned development special use permit to also use subsurface sewage treatment systems, commonly referred to as “on site septic systems,” when meeting conditions that will improve the likelihood of success for the septic systems. These conditions include having a design professional investigate and report on soil characteristics and requiring landowners to enter into agreements to have a third party manage the systems. The city planning commission, at their May 13, 2008, regular meeting, and after a duly noticed public hearing, unanimously found that on site septic systems may be an appropriate solution for certain soil and topographic situations in some areas of Duluth marked “rural residential” on the future land use map and where the city engineer agrees that the site is appropriate.