Planned Unit Development

Golden Valley’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) application process is officially regulated as a part of the City Code’s Zoning Chapter (Section 113-123: Planned Unit Development). All PUD applicants receive a copy of the code and are expected to familiarize themselves with it.

There are two stages of application for PUDs: the Preliminary Plan and the Final Plan. Each stage comes complete with its own paperwork and fee, as well as similar but not identical steps.

State law requires cities to design certain processes so that approval can be achieved within a 60-day time frame. For purposes of that law, each PUD application stage is considered a separate approval process.

Preliminary Plan approval is similar to a basic rezoning; it establishes that the broad concept for a PUD is appropriate for the selected location. Final Plan approval establishes the specific conditions on which the individual PUD permit will be based.

+ Preliminary Plan PUD

Preliminary PUD Process

1. Inflow/Infiltration Compliance

Before application submittal, the property must be in compliance with Inflow/Infiltration (I/I) requirements. An application will not be accepted until the property receives an I/I compliance certificate.

2. Assembling the Application

Before the first 60-day clock starts, an applicant must put together a complete application package. Staff encourages applicants to come in for at least one joint consultation while materials are being assembled. Several Code provisions relate to the application, including:

  • established purpose and intent
  • 11 PUD definitions
  • standards and guidelines for each class of PUD
  • required PUD information
  • required PUD submittals
  • requires certifications of specified types of plans at both stages of application and after completion of construction
  • ownership of the land for which the PUD is proposed or option or contract on the land plus the written consent of any owners

3. Submitting the Application

Application packets must be submitted to the Planning Division at City Hall, which starts the 60-day clock. Staff must receive an application four full weeks before the date of the Planning Commission meeting at which it will have its first hearing. Applicants who are in a hurry should schedule their data-gathering deadlines accordingly.

State law allows up to 15 business days for staff to review application packets for completeness. Prior consultation between staff and applicant can reduce the likelihood of rejection at this point. Incomplete applications will be returned with a letter of explanation; the City reserves the right to require that applicants come in and collect bulky plan attachments.

City Code requires applicants to hold a neighborhood meeting that includes property owners within 500 feet of the PUD. The purpose of the meeting is to inform the neighborhood of the proposed PUD, discuss the concepts and basis for the plan being developed, and to obtain information and suggestions from the neighborhood.

Staff will compile a list of nearby property owners for notification purposes. City Code requires mailed notice of all public hearings to be sent to owners of any property within 500 feet of the boundaries of a proposed PUD. State law requires advance notice of at least 10 days for those property owners, so they have plenty of time to decide if they want to become involved in the process (see City's Neighborhood Notification Policy).

When Planning staff decides an application is complete, it is circulated to appropriate City departments and outside agencies for review and comment. Planning staff prepare a summary report on the proposal for review by the Planning Commission and the City Council. The applicant will also get a copy of the report as soon as it is available.

4. Presenting to the Planning Commission and City Council

The following items are issues applicants for PUDs should be ready to discuss in presenting their application for consideration and approval by the Planning Commission and City Council. Providing this information will help developers explain why they want the development to look the way it does.

  • Has a neighborhood meeting been held?
  • Describe landscaping and buffering.
  • Describe snow storage and garbage removal.
  • Describe street maintenance and yard maintenance.
  • Setbacks – what are they and why?
  • Street width – is it adequate for emergency vehicles and parking for the homes?
  • Ponds – how are ponds buffered?
  • Describe pedestrian access, if applicable.
  • How is the site accessed by traffic?
  • Is this life-cycle or affordable housing?
  • What is the lot coverage of hard surfaces?
  • What is the density per acre?
  • What are traffic counts?
  • Architectural elements for the homes, including computer generated photos if possible, should be supplied.

5. The Planning Commission Hearing

The Planning Commission presides over the first public airing of each proposal. The applicant or authorized representative must attend the hearing to answer any questions that may come up. The Commission’s considers the application for “consistency with the Intent and Purposes provisions and other PUD requirements and principles and standards adhered to in the City.” The Commissioners have been known to be more detailed in their review than strictly required by the charge. Any comments they make are advisory in nature; the City Council makes all formal decisions. The applicant may offer or agree to changes in any part of the proposal right up until the Commission votes on its recommendations.

6. The City Council Hearing

In most cases, there will be an interval of about three weeks between the Planning Commission hearing and the Council hearing, though it could go right up to the maximum allowed interval of five weeks on rare occasions. To go longer than that, either the City or the applicant would have to provide written notice to the other party of an extension to the 60-day limit, explaining reasons for and length of the extension.

The City Council considers the proposal, staff reports, Planning Commission recommendations, and other materials entered into the hearing record up to that time. Again, the applicant or an authorized representative must be present at the hearing. The Council may vote to approve the Preliminary Plan with or without amendments, request further information from staff and/or applicant, request further study by the Planning Commission, or deny the proposal. If an extension to the 60-day limit is necessary to allow further consideration of the proposal, staff will provide written notice to the applicant, explaining reasons for and length of the extension.

Staff will also provide written notice to the applicant in the case of a denial, outlining the reasons for the negative vote. The clock stops ticking after a final vote is taken to approve or deny.

Survey Requirements

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

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

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

As-Built Survey

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

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

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

+ Final Plan PUD

Final Plan PUD Process

1. Assembling The Application

Applicants have up to 180 days in which to prepare materials for Final Plan submittal after gaining Preliminary Plan approval. A longer delay would probably be granted upon written request by an applicant. Joint consultation with staff while required submittals are being prepared can help ensure the City’s development requirements are being adequately met in the more detailed plans. Required submittals for this stage fall into two categories, again with various certifications:

  • deposit
  • records
  • certification of plans
  • time limits
  • letter of credit
  • effect on conveyed property

Materials that must be submitted for all proposed PUDs include:

  • narrative
  • Final Site/Development Plan
  • Final Preservation Plan
  • Final Stormwater Management Plan
  • Final Utility Plan
  • Final Building Code Analysis
  • Final Plat in hard shell format ready for Council approval and signing.

2. Submitting The Application

Final Plan applications should be turned in to the Planning Division. Staff needs the same lead time between submittal and hearing date. Applicants should call ahead for a current schedule if timing is very important.

With the second 60-day clock now ticking, staff once more has 15 days in which to determine whether an application has been properly submitted with all of its parts and pieces fully completed. Procedures for accepted or rejected applications are the same as in the Preliminary Plan stage.

3. The Planning Commission Hearing

Once again, the Planning Commission will have the first review of materials, similar to the process for the Preliminary Plan. The hearing is typically scheduled for roughly four weeks after the submission. In your application be sure to have addressed any comments or questions that arose during the evaluation of the Preliminary Plan, as the Commission will be attentive to reaching resolution on any outstanding items before making a recommendation to the City Council.

4. The City Council Hearing

The process closely repeats what happens at the Preliminary Plan stage. The applicant or authorized representative should be present at the hearing. Council action may take the form of approval with or without amendments, a request for further information from staff and/or applicant, denial, or a referral of the request back to the Planning Commission for additional investigation and analysis. If an extension to the 60-day limit is necessary to allow further consideration of the proposal, staff will provide written notice to the applicant, explaining reasons for and length of the extension. Staff will also provide written notice to the applicant in the case of a denial, outlining the reasons for the negative vote. The second 60-day clock stops after the Council’s final vote. However, construction cannot begin until after an ordinance, permit and plat are approved.

5. Ordinance, Permit, And Plat

Approval of PUDs, as with other zoning approvals, is by ordinance. The PUD ordinance contains all of the specific terms under which the project has been approved. Terms are based on the requirements of City Code Section 113-123 in its entirety and on the outcomes of the Preliminary and Final Plan hearings. The same terms will also be incorporated into the PUD Permit.

Once the Council votes to approve the Final Plan, staff will forward a copy of the ordinance to the City’s legal newspaper for official publication, which generally occurs eight days after the date of approval. Publication of the ordinance makes the approval effective, subject to final details such as signing the PUD Permit and recording the PUD plat. No building or occupancy permits will be issued until the applicant takes care of those items per City Code Section 113-123.

Staff will prepare the PUD Permit after approval of the Final Plan by the Council. The PUD Permit and Final Plat are typically approved at the subsequent Council meeting, though this may be delayed if the Final Plat is not ready. A development agreement between the City and the applicant may also be necessary. Approval of this agreement by the Council would also be granted at the subsequent meeting.

All persons who own property within the area of the PUD at the time of permit issuance must sign the permit. Once it is signed, City Code Section 113-123 provides that its terms will transfer to and be binding on any subsequent property owners just as if they were the original signers.

According to Chapter 109 of the City Code, the plat may be recorded any time up to 60 days after the date of Final Plat approval, which occurs following Final Plan approval. This delay is mainly for the benefit of the developer. Among other things, it allows for the conclusion of any property transactions that are contingent on basic PUD approval. Until the developer supplies staff with proof that the plat has indeed been recorded, Chapter 109 provides that a “hold” will remain on all other permits. If the 60 day limit is passed without a plat being recorded or without the developer requesting and receiving an extension from the City Council, then all PUD approvals will be voided.

+ PUD Amendments

PUD Amendment Process

If changes to a project need to be made at any time after it has received approval by the City, a PUD amendment must be applied for. There are three types of PUD amendments: Administrative, Minor, or Major. Each type has a separate application form and different submission requirements. Staff will help determine which type of amendment is appropriate, based on the type of change being proposed, the amount of deviation from the originally approved plans, and the scope of the potential impacts.

Applications are due to the Planning Division by 4 pm on the second or fourth Friday of the month to be eligible to be heard at the corresponding Planning Commission meeting one month later.

The amount of time needed gain approval for a PUD amendment varies by type:

  • An Administrative amendment is handled by staff and can typically be completed in 3-4 weeks.
  • A Minor amendment must be reviewed and approved by the City Council. This requires coordination with the City Council agenda as well as the preparation of a staff report, so a 5-6 week turnaround time is likely.
  • A Major amendment requires review by both the Planning Commission and the City Council, so takes 7-8 weeks to reach completion. All amendments are subject to the 60-day rule and the extension provision.

After approval of a PUD amendment, a new PUD Permit must be signed by the applicant and by either the City Manager or the City Manager and the Mayor, depending on the type of amendment. Under some circumstances, new plans and/or a new plat might be required in order to officially document the changes.