Apply for a Land Use Permit




Cabin in Woods Cropped638230585279153392

Land Use permit applications are required for a variety of purposes in County administered areas. Licensed contractors and homeowners typically complete the application forms and submit them to the County for review. As a friendly reminder, please review the Land Use permit fee schedule prior to applying online to ensure you are applying for the correct permit. 

General Information

2024 Permit Fees
Administration of Zoning: Township/City
Land Use Comprehensive Plan and Ordinances
Search Zoning Map
Search Land Use Records

Apply Online - Land Use Permits

Apply Now

The St. Louis County online portal provides the opportunity to apply for permits online. Project fees are calculated by the information in the online submittal form, making it especially important to read the questions carefully, and only select the boxes pertaining to your project. If unsure, please contact our office to discuss your project further. Our team is happy to assist you through the process.

Apply Online - Online Instructions

Borrow-Gravel Pits

A borrow pit is a land use involving the excavation or digging of material for use as fill at another site.

A permit is required whenever there is borrow material for sale. Ordinance 62 requires that certain standards must be followed.

There are two types of borrow pit permits:

  1. General Purpose - requires public hearing and used for all types of extractive uses.
  2. Public Works - used for single road improvement project not to exceed two years.

Building and Moving Structures

St. Louis County does not administer the Minnesota State Building Code, but does require land use permits for a wide range of activities.

The land use application is used for many types of construction, including but not limited to:

  • Building, moving, or adding to structures
  • Changing the height, pitch or projection of a structure
  • Signs 
  • Changing the type of building use (i.e. cabin converted to storage)
  • Permit extension
  • New or replacement foundations (a part of the structure that may be built at a later time, but the permit must be obtained prior to installation of the foundation)

Communication Tower

Communication towers are allowed in all zone districts and on lots or leased parcels that are no smaller than 20,000 square feet. To find the standards for communication towers, see Ordinance 62.

Communication Tower Application
Conditional Use Permit (if required)

Fact Sheets

Land Alterations

Filling, grading, or excavating on shoreland property requires a land alteration permit if the activity that you are planning exceeds certain limits. To find the standards for land alterations, see Ordinance 62 or Land Alteration Standards below. 

Land Alteration Application
Land Alteration Standards

External Links
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Soil & Water Conservation District North
Soil & Water Conservation District South

New Business or Expansion

St. Louis County requires land use permits for most types of businesses. 

  • Conditional Use: Typically a business on a property where the owner does not reside and/or has employees and customer traffic. The business needs additional controls or restrictions to assure that it is in harmony with the neighborhood. Examples may be mini storage or dog kennels. 
  • Home Business: A business conducted on the property in which the owner’s home is located. It is consistent with the rural residential lifestyle and is compatible with the neighborhood. Examples may be a greenhouse or gift a shop. 
External Links

Rezoning Property

In some cases, rezoning a parcel may be necessary as the current zoning may be incompatible with the current activities in the area.  

Rezoning requests can be initiated by any of the following:  

  1. St. Louis County Board
  2. St. Louis County Planning Commission
  3. Organized Township
  4. Property Owner of Record

If you are unsure as to who administers the zoning for your property, consult the Administration of Zoning link on the right side of this page. 

Rezoning Application

Related Topics
Dates and Deadlines
Land Use Videos

Short Term Rentals

For additional information regarding short term rentals, see our short term rental page linked HERE

Subdividing Property

Subdivision Applications- Planning

Parcel Review
Lot Line Adjustment
Performance Standard Subdivision Application 
Minor Subdivision-Preliminary Application 
Conventional Subdivision-Concept Application
Conventional Subdivision-Preliminary Application 

County Surveyor- Public Works

The County Surveyor's office reviews and approves final plats submitted as 505 Subdivision plats - 508 (RLS) Registered Land Surveys – 515 (CIC) Common interest communities together with the Auditor’s and Recorder’s offices prior to recording in accordance with applicable statutes, ordinances and regulations.  For final plat review requirements, go to the County Surveyor's plat review page.

Roads- Public Works
Road Design Standards for Plats and Subdivision 

Related Topics
Creating or Splitting Parcels


A variance may be necessary when a landowner has plans for the property that does not comply with the county ordinance Subdivision Ordinance 60SSTS (Septic) Ordinance 61, and Zoning Ordinance 62. It is advisable that a landowner discuss a variance request with staff prior to submitting an application.

Variance After-the-Fact

Related Topics
Board of Adjustment Criteria
Dates and Deadlines
Land Use Videos



For information regarding wetlands, see our wetland page linked HERE


Common Contacts