Jan. 30: Public Hearing on updated Zoning Code


The public draft of the zoning code is now available on Konveio: https://hkgi.konveio.com/marine-st-croix-zoning-code-public-draft

Public comment can be made through this link until Jan. 21, 2024. After that, public comment can be made at the Jan. 30 public hearing or in writing to Assistant Clerk Suzanne Lindgren Dammann: asstclerk@cityofmarine.org.


Summary of Changes

The process to update the zoning code has been several years in the making. The City went through a process to update the zoning code in 2021, and a public hearing for the updated code was held in November 2021. See the 2021 draft here. At that time, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) notified the City that additional updates were needed to the sections of the code pertaining to land within the St. Croix Riverway District. The full update of the zoning code was put on hold while the City and its consultant planners from HKGi worked to address the DNR’s concerns.

The updates to the St. Croix Riverway District have now been addressed, and it is time to resume the adoption process for the revised Code.

With the exception of the changes to the Riverway District, the text of the revised Code is substantially similar to the draft that was brought before the public in 2021.

For ease of use, the code has been reorganized and reformatted and additional graphics and tables have been incorporated. (A basic outline for how the code was reorganized is in the April PC packet, pages 41-43.)

Minor changes to language are also proposed in the following areas:

  • Definitions have been updated to match new terminology
  • Wireless facility language adopted Oct 14, 2021 and May 2022 has been incorporated
  • Signage has been revised to remove content-based regulations in accordance with Supreme Court ruling
  • Review procedures were clarified for land use applications (Interim use permits, variances, site plans)



Q: At the January City Council meeting, Planning Commission Chair Spisak mentioned that there were some concessions to the DNR's edits to the codes that "could not be lived with" and the need to lobby our House Representative for legislative relief. It would be useful for Marine citizens to understand, prior to the meeting, specifically what language MOSC plans to seek "legislative relief" regarding Lower St. Croix Riverway regulations.

A: Under the new proposed language, if some of Marine's landmark buildings in the river district were ever destroyed (including by fire, flood, or tornado) the code wouldn't allow them to be rebuilt where they currently stand. Some, like the Marine Landing, are too close to the water. Others, like Village Hall, are too close to the bluff. There is a possibility that property owners could get variances, but the outcome wouldn't be guaranteed. The Planning Commission is interested in pursing legislative relief at the state level to encode protections for those buildings into law. 


Q: Don't we already have protections for historic buildings?

A: The City hasn't put additional protections in place because up until now everyone operated under the assumption that buildings pre-dating Lower St. Croix Riverway regulations could be rebuilt where they stand. After further discussion with the DNR, planning commissioners realized that wasn’t the case. Downtown Marine is a state Historic District, but from what the Planning Commission has researched, that’s not a guaranteed path to getting the DNR to support a variance.


Q: Are there other, non-footprint changes the DNR is requiring relative to the river district? And if if so, are we asking for legislative relief for those and if so, why?

A: The DNR did require other changes but not anything as significant as the footprint issue. You can see tracked changes here – comments with DS and BM in brackets were made by the DNR; BR indicates the City's planner. The Planning Commission doesn’t plan on pursuing legislative relief for anything else.



Tuesday, January 30, 2024
7:30 pm,
Village Hall, 121 Judd Street or remotely via Zoom


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Marine on St. Croix Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. regarding updates to the Zoning Code. There may also be a quorum of City Council members.

Additional details are available at the City office during regular business hours and on the City website.


Dated this 26th day of December, 2023
By: Suzanne Lindgren Dammann, Assistant City Clerk