Tear Down & Rebuild

Because Golden Valley is fully developed, residential development increasingly involves demolishing an existing home and building a new home in its place. While this may create disruption and inconvenience for the surrounding neighborhood, it also has the benefit of creating new and modernized structures and increasing the value of the housing stock. The City has developed a variety of oversight tools for this often challenging process.

City Requirements

A Demolition Permit is required before the existing home can be torn down. This ensures all utilities have been disconnected, MPCA guidelines are being followed, and that City inspectors and fire officials are aware of the demolition.

Spot elevations (at grade) at the corners of the existing home must be recorded. In addition, the location of all trees must be documented through an existing tree survey conducted by a certified tree inspector or landscape architect. The tree survey catalogs all significant trees in advance of future development. Removal of significant trees as part of the construction of a new home may trigger the need for replacement trees. This part of the process is regulated through a Tree and Landscape Permit (PDF).

The City's Inspections Division will also review building plans for the new home and approve a Building Permit once it has determined all building code requirements have been met. A part of this review involves checking that the plans meet all zoning requirements (see below).

Site grading is reviewed to ensure that drainage and surface water flow around the new structure do not negatively impact adjacent properties or the structure itself. This part of the building review process, which also establishes measures such as silt fences for erosion control, is regulated through a Stormwater Management Permit (PDF).

Before a building permit is issued, the builder is required to sign a Construction Management Agreement, which summarizes a number of provisions within the City Code that must be observed during construction. These include:

  • dust and dirt control
  • hours of construction
  • noise limits
  • site deliveries
  • street obstructions and employee parking
  • tree protection measures
  • waste removal

Failure to comply with the regulations may result in fines for the builder or a suspension of work.

City Standards

Zoning regulations dictate a number of physical aspects of the new home, including its location, massing, and height. Site and building plans are reviewed and approved by the City before any building permits are issued.

The minimum required distance a home must be located from a property line is called a setback. In Golden Valley, front yard setbacks are 35 feet and rear yard setbacks are 25 feet. Side yard setbacks vary with the width of the lot but generally speaking they range from 4 feet on very narrow lots to 15 feet on the widest lots.

The height of a structure is limited to 28 feet (as measured to the midpoint of the highest-pitched roof) or to 25 feet for homes with flat roofs. Height is measured from a base elevation that is established before construction begins. The base elevation of a new home may be allowed to increase over that of the old home to provide for adequate site drainage or to set the lowest floors or openings above the flood elevation.

Near the side yard setback lines, building walls may be required to step back as they rise above 15 feet in height in order to limit massing that may impact neighbors.

Each residential lot is required to have a minimum of three trees (with at least one in the front yard) and five shrubs or perennials. A Tree and Landscape Permit (PDF) is reviewed by City staff and may require the replacement of significant trees removed during the construction process.