This section is adopted for the purpose of:


A. Designating suitable land use districts for each body of public water.


B. Regulating the placement of sanitary and waste treatment facilities on lots.


C. Regulating the area of a lot and the length of water frontage suitable for building sites.


D. Regulating the alteration of shorelands and public waters.


E. Regulating alterations of the natural vegetation and the natural topography along shorelands.


F. Conserving and developing natural resources, and maintaining a high standard of environmental quality.




A. The Shoreland Overlay District shall be applied to and superimposed as an overlay upon all zoning districts as contained herein as existing or amended by this Section and official Zoning Map.  The regulations and requirements imposed by the Shoreland Overlay District shall be in addition to those established for districts which jointly apply.  Under the joint application of districts, the more restrictive requirements shall apply.


B. Designations of Types of Land Use:  In order to guide the wise development and utilization of shorelands of public waters for the preservation of water quality, natural  characteristics,  economic  values  and  the  general  health,  safety  and

welfare, all public waters in Sunfish Lake, Minnesota have been given a waters classification, and uses of shorelands in these classes are hereby designated by land use districts, based on the compatibility of the designated type of land use with the public waters classification and planned land use as outlined in the Comprehensive Plan.


C. Shoreland Classification System:  The public waters of Sunfish Lake, Minnesota have been classified in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Regulations, part 6120.3300 and the Protected Waters Inventory Map for Dakota County.  The lakes that are subject to the regulations of this Ordinance are listed as follows:

Recreational Development Lakes

Protected Waters

Inventory ID#

Sunfish Lake 19-50
Hornbeam Lake 19-47            
Horseshoe Lake 19-51


D. Zoning Districts:


1. The land use zoning districts have been established in accordance with their compatibility with the public waters classification and to assist in carrying out the intent and purposes of the Comprehensive Plan.  The zoning districts are based upon the Comprehensive Plan which has a purpose of protecting the public health, safety, convenience, and general welfare of the residents of the City.

a. The  intent  and  primary  use  of  Recreational  Development  (RD) classified waters is to protect the ecological and scenic values of natural, undeveloped water bodies from the harmful effects of development.


2. All land uses within the Shoreland District boundaries of Sunfish Lake shall take into consideration the following:

a. Preservation of natural areas;

b. Present ownership and development of shoreland areas;

c. Shoreland soil types and their engineering capabilities;

d. Topographic characteristics;

e. Vegetative cover;

f. In-water physical characteristics, values, and constraints;

g. Recreational use of the surface water;

h. Road and driveway accessibility;

i. Socioeconomic  development  needs  and  plans  as  they  involve water and related land resources;

j. The  necessity  to  preserve  and  restore  certain  areas  having significant historical or ecological value.


3. The Shoreland (S) and Single Family Residential (R-1) boundaries of the zoning districts on the  map  which  is  designated  as  the  Sunfish  Lake Zoning Map is made a part of this Ordinance.




A. Minimum Lot Standards:  The following standards shall apply to all shorelands of all public waters within the jurisdiction of this Ordinance: 


  Recreational Development Lakes:

Unsewered and

Sewered Areas



Buildable lot area above ordinary high water mark

2.5 acres



Frontage on improved public street or private road

200 feet



Lot width at building setback line

200 feet



Lot width at ordinary high water mark of abutting water body

150 feet



Building setback from ordinary high water mark*

200 feet**



Building setback from property line located adjacent to street

100 feet



Maximum lot coverage by impervious surface

30 percent



Surface building side yard setback

50 feet



Sewage system setback from ordinary high water mark

150 feet

* Where  adjacent  principal  buildings  have  setbacks  less  than  those required, the minimum setback in the case of both initial construction as well as building additions shall be no less than the average setback of the two (2) adjacent principal structures.  If only one adjacent lot is occupied by a principal structure, the minimum shall be the average of the adjacent principal  structure  and  the  minimum  setback,  but  in  no  case  shall  a setback be less than the minimum established.  Additionally, no structure shall be allowed in the shore or bluff impact zones.

** The setback shall be measured horizontally, not following any slope which may exist on the property.


B. Normal  building  setback  requirements  and  setback  requirements  from  the ordinary high water mark shall not apply to docks, decks, swimming rafts, or temporary structures which will not be considered accessory structures for the purposes of this Ordinance.   Docks, decks, swimming rafts and temporary structures shall be allowed subject to the following criteria.


1. Docks.

 a. Docks are seasonal and temporary in nature and, therefore, shall not be permanently affixed to the shore or lake bottom.

 b. Docks shall not:

(1) Be greater than four (4) feet in width.

(2) Exceed two hundred (200) square feet in area if configured in a linear, T, L, U, Y, or similar shape.

(3) Extend more than fifty (50) feet from the lakeshore.

 c. Docks shall not be covered with any roof structures or awning, nor shall they be enclosed in any manner.



Each parcel of land containing a principal structure and having lakeshore fee ownership/frontage as part of that parcel shall have no more than one (1) dock, and no other docks are allowed.



Docks may be constructed of wood, metal, fiberglass or plastic or any combination thereof provided they are visually unobtrusive and limited to color(s) which blend with the environment.


Decks (Detached - Low Profile).



Permanent  decks  for  observation  or  sitting  shall  be  allowed  if located greater than thirty-five (35) feet from the ordinary high water mark of the lakeshore.



Decks shall be sited in such a manner that they are unobstructive to the natural topography, vegetation, and shoreland.    

  c. Decks may be required to be screened with natural plant materials.
  d. A deck or combination of decks shall not exceed two hundred (200) square feet.
  e. Decks shall not be covered with roof structures or awning, nor shall they be enclosed in any manner.
  f. Decks may contain railings as may be required under State or Uniform Building Code regulations for safety.


3. Swimming Rafts.

a. Swimming rafts are seasonal and temporary in nature and therefore shall not be permanently affixed to the lake bottom.

b. Rafts shall not exceed one hundred (100) square feet in area.

c. Rafts  shall  not  be  located  greater  than  fifty  (50)  feet  from  the lakeshore.

d. Rafts  shall  not  be  covered  with  a  roof  structure  or  awning  or enclosed in any manner.

e. Only one (1) raft shall be allowed for each parcel of land having lakeshore access and frontage.

f. Rafts may be constructed of wood, metal, fiberglass or plastic or any combination thereof provided they are visually unobtrusive and limited to color(s) which blend with the environment.


4. Temporary Accessory Site Components, Games or Equipment.

a. Temporary  site  components  include  boating  equipment,  lawn furniture, tents, game equipment, or other similar site elements.

b. All  temporary  structures  which  are  intended  for  use  on  an intermittent basis, excluding boats and picnic tables, shall be properly secured   and   stored   out   of   view   from   neighboring properties and the lake while not in use.


C. Accessory Structure Requirements:  For each buildable parcel meeting minimum lot standards or legal non-conforming lot in the City having lake frontage and containing a principal building, one (1) accessory structure may be allowed between the principal building and the building setback line from the Ordinary High Water Mark as provided for below:


1. An allowable accessory structure with a height of eighteen (18) inches or less, such as fountains, wading or fish pools, swimming pools, patios, surfaced play areas, and the like and associated landscape features such as retaining walls may be allowed as a conditional use and consistent with the following:

a. The accessory structures are located a minimum of twenty-five (25) feet from all lot lines, six (6) feet or more from any other on-site structure (excluding low-profile features).

b. The accessory structures are not limited to a percentage of yard area, but are required to be in conformance with the thirty (30) percent over all impervious surface requirement for lots and shall not exceed one thousand (1,000) square feet, except as herein provided by the Ordinance.

c. Screening  of  low-profile  accessory  structures  from  neighboring properties and the lake shall be completed wherever possible and may be required by the City Council.

d. As may be applicable, the pumping of pool water shall be directed away from the lake and associated drainage/cleaning equipment shall be stored out of sight after each use.

11 e.       Swimming pool fencing:   Subject  to other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, fencing for swimming pools shall meet Uniform Building Code standards and shall be landscaped and screened to minimize visual impacts.


2. Except  as  provided  herein,  the  following  accessory  structures  are prohibited between the principal structure and water body and are permitted only within the side yards paralleling the principal structure of lots containing lake frontage provided a twenty-five (25) foot setback to all lot lines and a six (6) foot setback to all other on-site structures can be met:

a. Storage or tool shed up to a maximum size of one hundred sixty (160) square feet and limited to twelve (12) feet in height.

b. Detached residential garage up to a maximum size of one thousand (1,000) square feet and limited to one story in height.


3. The  City  Planner  is  notified  of  all  proposed  improvements  and  the necessary permits for construction, grading, drainage or other required alterations are obtained.

4. In no case shall more than one accessory structure be allowed between the principal structure and water body except as outlined in the accessory building section of the Zoning Ordinance.


5. Required screening of accessory structures shall require submittal of a landscape plan for review by the City Planner and City Forester.   The plans shall conform to the planting and screening regulations outlined in this Zoning Ordinance.


6. Significant Historic Sites:   No structure may be placed on a significant historic site in a manner that affects the values of the site unless adequate information about the site has been removed and documented in a public repository.


7. Steep  Slopes:    The  City  Planner,  City  Engineer,  and/or  City  Building Inspector shall evaluate possible soil erosion impacts and development visibility from public waters before issuing a permit for construction of sewage treatment   systems,   roads,   driveways,   structures,   or   other improvements on steep slopes.  When determined necessary, conditions shall be attached to issued permits to prevent erosion and to preserve existing vegetation screening of structures, vehicles, and other facilities as viewed from the surface of public waters.


8. Landscape or slope modifications associated with the construction of an allowed accessory building or structure are allowed pursuant to site and building plan review requirements specified by the Ordinance.


D. Stairways, Lifts, and Landings:  Stairways and lifts are the preferred alternative to major topographic alterations for achieving access up and down bluffs and steep slopes to shore areas.  Stairways and lifts shall be allowed in addition to the accessory limitations as outlined above and shall meet the following design requirements:

1. Stairways and lifts shall not exceed four (4) feet in width.


2. Landings for stairways and lifts shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area.


3. Canopies or roofs are not allowed on stairways, lifts, or landings.


4. Stairways, lifts, and landings may be either constructed above the ground on posts or pilings, or placed into the ground, provided they are designed and built in a manner than ensures control of soil erosion.


5. Stairways,  lifts,  and  landings  shall  be  located  in  the  most  visually inconspicuous portions of lots, as viewed from the surface of the public water whenever practical.


6. Facilities such as ramps, lifts, or mobility paths for physically handicapped persons are also allowed for achieving access to shore areas, provided that the dimensional and performance standards of sub-items 1 to 5 above are complied   with   in   addition   to   the   requirements   of   Minnesota Regulations, Chapter 1340.

E. High Water Elevations:  Permanent structures shall be placed in accordance with any floodplain regulations applicable to the site.  Where these controls do not exist, the elevation to which the lowest floor, including basement, is placed or flood-proofed shall be determined as follows:



For lakes, by placing the lowest floor at a level at least three (3) feet above the highest known water level, or three (3) feet above the ordinary high water mark/elevation, whichever is higher.


Structures may have the lowest floor placed lower than the ordinary high water elevation if the structure is constructed of flood-resistant materials to the elevation, electrical and mechanical equipment is placed above the elevation and, if long duration flooding is anticipated, the structure is built to withstand ice action and wind-driven waves and debris.


When the elevation of the ordinary high water mark for a body of water has been determined on individual lots, it shall be located and mapped by a registered engineer or land surveyor. When the elevation of the ordinary  high water mark for a body of water has not been determined, the issuing authority shall determine it as provided for in this Ordinance.


When fill is required to meet this elevation, the fill shall be allowed to stabilize and construction shall not begin until the property has been inspected by the Building Inspector.


Height of Structures:



All principal structures in the City, other than those elements excepted under Section 1219.03 of the Zoning Ordinance, shall be limited to 22 stories or thirty (30) feet in height, whichever is lesser.



The height of accessory structures shall be regulated as outlined herein and within the Zoning Ordinance. Where specific provisions have not been included for the exact type of structure being proposed, under no circumstances shall the accessory structure exceed 12 feet in height within the Shoreland District without approval of a Conditional Use Permit by the City Council.




Alterations of vegetation and topography shall be regulated to prevent erosion into public waters, fix nutrients, preserve shoreland aesthetics, preserve historic values, prevent bank slumping, and protect fish and wildlife habitat.


A.       Vegetation Alterations:

1. Vegetation alteration necessary for the construction of structures, sewage treatment systems and roads/parking areas may be allowed subject to review and approval by the City Planner and City Forester provided every effort is made to preserve existing vegetation.


2. Removal or alteration of vegetation within two-hundred (200) feet of the ordinary high water mark (the required building setback area) is only allowed subject to the following standards:


a. Intensive  vegetation  clearing  within  the  shore  and  bluff  impact zones and on steep slopes (12 percent or greater) is prohibited.


b. Preservation of the majority of natural lakefront vegetation shall be required.  Mowed lawns within 100 feet of the ordinary high water mark may only be permitted in an area which encompasses up to twenty (20) percent of the shore impact zone.


(1) Lots existing at the time of Ordinance passage which contain mowed areas in excess of this requirement may be allowed to continue in the same manner, but under no circumstances may  mowed  turf  areas  be  increased  beyond  that  which exists or the limitations specified herein.


c. In  shore  and  bluff  impact  zones  and  on  steep  slopes,  limited clearing of trees and shrubs and cutting, pruning, and trimming of trees is allowed to provide a view to the water from the principal dwelling site and to accommodate the placement of stairways and landings, picnic   areas,   access   paths,   beach   and   watercraft access/storage areas, and permitted   accessory structures or facilities, provided that:


(1) The screening of structures, vehicles, or other facilities as viewed from   the   water,   assuming   Summer,   leaf-on conditions, is not substantially reduced.


(2) No cutting or removal of trees over six (6) inches in diameter measured at a point two (2) feet above ground level shall be permitted until a certificate of compliance has been issued by the City.


(3) The above provisions are not applicable to the removal of trees, limbs, or branches that are dead, diseased, or pose safety hazards.


9 B. Topographic Alterations/Grading and Filling:


1. A grading permit shall be required for all earth disturbing activities on riparian lots within the Shoreland District including the grading, excavation, removal and/or filling of dirt, sand, gravel/rock, mulch or other natural materials.  The grading permit shall be issued at the discretion of the City Building Official according to the process outlined in Section 1208.02.B.2 of this Ordinance and may require application for Minor Site and Building Plan approval.


2. The  grading  and  filling  standards  in  this  Section  and  in  the  City=s Stormwater Management   Ordinance   (Section   1216.04.F)   shall   be incorporated into the issuance of a grading or building permit.


3. Public roads and parking areas are regulated by Section 1243.05 of this



4. The following considerations and conditions shall be adhered to during the issuance of construction permits, grading and filling permits, conditional use permits, variances and subdivision approvals:


a. Grading or filling in any Type 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 wetland shall be evaluated to determine how extensively the proposed activity would affect the following functional qualities of the wetland*:

(1)      Sediment and pollutant trapping and retention.

(2)      Storage of surface runoff to prevent or reduce flood damage.

(3)      Fish and wildlife habitat.

(4)      Recreational use.

(5)      Shoreline or bank stabilization.

(6) Noteworthiness, including special qualities such as historic significant,   critical   habitat   for   endangered   plants   and animals, or others.

*   This evaluation shall also include a determination of whether the wetland alteration being proposed requires permits, reviews, or approvals  by  other  local,  state,  or  federal  agencies  such  as  a watershed  district,  the  Minnesota  Department  of  Natural Resources, or the United States Army Corps of Engineers.  The applicant shall be so advised.


b. Alterations  shall  be  designed  and  conducted  in  a  manner  that ensures only the smallest amount of bare ground is exposed for the shortest time possible.


c. Mulches or similar materials shall be used, where necessary, for temporary bare soil coverage, and a permanent vegetation cover shall be established as soon as possible.  All disturbed areas and filled areas shall be finish graded, seeded, fertilized and mulched according to the recommendations of the City Council or its agent within thirty (30) days of completion of grading or filling.  The City Council shall retain authority under this sub-section until such time as the City Council is satisfied with the reparations made pursuant to this sub-section.


d. Methods to minimize soil erosion and to trap sediments before they reach any surface water feature shall be used.


e. Altered  areas  shall  be  stabilized  to  acceptable  erosion  control standards consistent with the field office technical guides of the local soil and water conservation districts and the United States Soil Conservation Service.


f. Fill or excavated material shall not be placed in a manner that creates an unstable slope.


g. Plans to place fill or excavated material on steep slopes shall be reviewed by qualified professionals for continued slope stability and shall not create finished slopes greater than 3:1, defined as three (3) feet horizontal run to one (1) foot vertical rise.


h. Fill or excavated material shall not be placed in bluff impact zones.


i. Any alterations below the ordinary high water mark/elevation of public waters shall first be authorized by the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources under Minnesota Statutes, Section 105.42.


j. Alterations  of  topography  shall  only  be  allowed  if  they  are accessory to permitted or conditional uses and do not adversely affect adjacent or nearby properties.


k. Placement of natural rock rip rap, including associated grading of the shoreline and placement of a filter blanket, is permitted if the

finished slope does not exceed three (3) feet horizontal to one foot vertical, the landward extent of the rip rap is within ten (10) feet of the ordinary high water mark/elevation, and the height of the rip rap above  the  ordinary  high  water  mark/elevation  does  not  exceed three (3) feet.


5. Connections to Public Waters:  Excavations where the intended purpose is connection to a public water, such as boat slips, canals, lagoons, and harbors is prohibited.







Public and private roads and parking areas shall be designed to take advantage of natural vegetation and topography to achieve maximum screening from view from public waters. Documentation shall be provided by a qualified individual that all roads and parking areas are designed and constructed to minimize and control erosion to public waters consistent with the field office technical guides of the local soil and water conservation district, or other applicable technical materials.



Roads, driveways, and parking areas shall meet structure setbacks and shall not be placed within bluff and shore impact zones, when other reasonable and feasible placement alternatives exist. If no alternatives exist, they may be placed within these areas, and shall be designed to minimize adverse impacts.
C. Public and private watercraft access ramps, approach roads, and access-related parking areas are prohibited.
D. Controlled pedestrian or watercraft access lots for use by owners of lots without lake frontage (non-riparian) or the public is prohibited.




In addition to the City's Stormwater Management Ordinance, the following general and specific standards shall apply:

A. General Standards:


When possible, existing natural drainage ways, wetlands, and vegetated soil surfaces shall be used to convey, store, filter, and retain stormwater runoff before discharge to public waters.

Development shall be planned and conducted in a manner that will minimize the extent of disturbed areas, runoff velocities, erosion potential, and reduce and delay runoff volumes. Disturbed areas shall be stabilized and protected as soon as possible and facilities or methods used to retain sediment on the site.

  3. When development density, topographic features, and soil and vegetation conditions are not sufficient to adequately handle stormwater runoff using natural  features  and  vegetation,  various  types  of  constructed  facilities such as diversions, settling basins, skimming devices, dikes, waterways, and ponds may be used. Preference shall be given to designs using surface drainage, vegetation, and infiltration rather than buried pipes and man-made materials and facilities.
B. Specific Standards:
  1. Impervious surface coverage of lots shall not exceed thirty (30) percent of the lot area.
  2. When constructed facilities are used for stormwater management, documentation shall be provided by a qualified individual that they are designed and installed consistent with the field office technical guide of the local soil and water conservation districts.
  3. New constructed stormwater outfalls to public waters shall provide for filtering or settling of suspended solids and skimming of surface debris before discharge.

The use of phosphate fertilizers is prohibited within the 1,000 foot Shoreland District boundary.




Conditional uses allowable within shoreland areas shall be subject to the review and approval procedures, and criteria and conditions for review of conditional uses established in Section 1204 of this Ordinance.  The following additional evaluation criteria and conditions apply within shoreland areas:



Evaluation Criteria: A thorough evaluation of the water body and the topographic, vegetation, and soils conditions on the site shall be made to ensure:
  1. The prevention of soil erosion or other possible pollution of public waters, both during and after construction.

The visibility of structures and other facilities as viewed from public waters is limited.

  3. The site is adequate for water supply and on-site sewage treatment.
  4. The types, uses, and numbers of watercraft that the project will generate are compatible in relation to the suitability of public waters to safely accommodate these watercraft.
B. Conditions Attached to Conditional Use Permits:    The City Council, upon consideration of the criteria listed above and the purposes of this Ordinance, shall attach such conditions to the issuance of the conditional use permits as it deems necessary to fulfill the purposes of this Ordinance. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Decreased setbacks from the ordinary high water mark/elevation.
  2. Limitations on the natural vegetation to be removed or the requirement that additional vegetation be planted.
  3. Special provisions for the location, design, and use of structures, sewage treatment systems, watercraft launching, storage and/or docking areas, and vehicle parking areas.




All legally established non-conformities as of the date of this Ordinance may continue, but they will be managed according to applicable State Statutes and other regulations of this community for the subjects of alterations and additions, repair after damage, discontinuance of use, and intensification of use; except that the following standards shall also apply in shoreland areas:

A. Construction on Non-Conforming Lots of Record:





Lots of record in the office of the County Recorder on the date of enactment of local shoreland controls that do not meet the requirements of Section 1243.03 of this Ordinance may be allowed without variances as building  sites  for  single  family  detached dwellings provided the area, width, and yards thereof are within sixty (60) percent of the minimum requirements of this Ordinance, the lot has been in separate ownership from abutting lands at all times since it became substandard, was created compliant with official controls in effect at the time, and sewage treatment and setback requirements of this Ordinance are met.




A variance from setback requirements shall be obtained before any use, sewage treatment system, or building permit is issued for a lot. In evaluating the variance, the Board of Adjustment shall consider sewage treatment and water supply capabilities or constraints of the lot and shall deny the variance if adequate facilities cannot be provided.

If, in a group of two or more contiguous lots under the same ownership, any individual lot does not meet the full width or area requirements of this Ordinance, the lot shall not be considered as a separate parcel of land for the purposes of sale or development. The lot shall be combined with the one or more contiguous lots and equal one or more parcels of land under the same ownership so that the combination of lots or parcels will equal one or more lots meeting the area and width requirements of Section1243.03 of this section.

5 B. Additions/Expansions to Non-Conforming Structures:
  1. All additions or expansions to the outside dimensions of an existing non- conforming principal structure shall conform with Section 1215 (Non- Conforming Uses)of this Ordinance.
  2. Additions or expansions to non-conforming accessory buildings, structures, or facilities is prohibited.
C. Non-Conforming Sewage Treatment Systems:




A sewage treatment system not meeting the requirements of Section 402 of this Ordinance shall be upgraded, at the time a permit or variance of any type is required for any improvements on, or use of, the property. For the purposes of this provision, a sewage treatment system shall not be considered non-conforming if the only deficiency is the sewage treatment system's improper setback from the ordinary high water mark/elevation.







The governing body of the City of Sunfish Lake has by formal resolution notified the Commissioner of its progress to identify non-conforming sewage treatment systems. The City of Sunfish Lake shall require upgrading or replacement of any non-conforming system identified by this program within a reasonable period of time which shall not exceed one (1) year. Sewage systems installed according to all applicable local shoreland management standards adopted under Minnesota Statutes, Section 105.485, in effect at the time of installation may be considered as conforming unless they are determined to be failing, except that systems using cesspools, leaching pits, seepage pits, or other deep disposal methods,  or  systems  with  less  soil  treatment  area  separation  above ground water than required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Chapter 7080 for design of on-site sewage treatment systems, shall be considered non-conforming.




All  subdivisions  shall  comply  with  the  applicable  provisions  of  the  Subdivision Ordinance.   Any proposed plat for shoreland areas which is inconsistent with the provisions  of  this  Ordinance  shall  be  approved  by  the  Commission  of  Natural Resources.





The administrative procedures as set forth in this Ordinance shall apply and all provisions thereof shall be applicable to this section.


Notices of public hearings to consider variances, amendments, conditional uses and subdivisions shall be forwarded to the Commissioner of Natural Resources at least ten (10) days prior to such hearing.

C. All amendments and final decisions granting variances, conditional uses or subdivisions shall be forwarded to the Commissioner of Natural Resources within ten (10) days of final action or amendment.