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Zoning and Design Rules for the Minnesota State Capitol Area

The Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Commission was created in 1967 to restore a higher standard of quality to the Capitol Area (comprised of 60 blocks surrounding the Capitol Building), after buildings deemed architecturally inappropriate to the Capitol Area were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In 1974, the Legislature added zoning authority and changed the Commission to a Board. This higher standard of architectural design quality has been accomplished in part by means of a Comprehensive Plan, which was developed with input from stakeholders, such as state agencies, the City of Saint Paul, and the general public; the plan is reinforced by the Rules Governing Zoning and Design for the Minnesota State Capitol Area. The Legislature intended that the Board be comprised of gubernatorial, mayoral, and legislative appointees; and that the Board report directly to the Legislature, unfiltered by any party, special interest group or person, and thus remain protected from political influences. The structure and size of the CAAPB helps to make its operations effective and cost-efficient, as well as transparent, accessible, and sensitive to input from the public. CAAPB zoning rules, as of the 2009 rewrite, have strengthened the implementation of the design guidelines. CAAPB Staff will begin to address administrative improvements to the zoning process in this biennium:

  • The reformatting of zoning permit application forms for ease of navigation and to clarify intent of key rules.
  • A review of permitting fees, modernizing the rates to reflect the costs of processing.
  • Development of Illustrated Design Principles for Building Frontages, further clarifying the intent and flexibility of performance based design criteria in the 2009 Rules Governing Zoning and Design for the Minnesota State Capitol Area. This will serve as a visual guide and checklist useful to Advisers when reviewing a project.

Zoning and Sign Permit Applications and Forms


Zoning Help-Line

Peter Musty
Principal Planner (and Zoning Administrator)
(651) 757-1501 (leave extended message if no answer)
Normal Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm            
image: Zoning and Design Rules
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