Preliminary plat and development review process

Cities are required to submit plats for projects that abut county roads for county review and comment. Minnesota State Statutes MS 505.021, 505.03 and 462.358 make these stipulations and specify what items of information must be submitted and what time schedules apply.

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Types of reviews

Plats and site plans

Hennepin County reviews plats (in compliance with Minnesota State Statute 505.3, subdivision 2 (Plats)) as well as site plans that are adjacent to established/proposed state trunk highways. For formal plat reviews, the county does not accept plat submissions from third parties – the submissions must come from the city directly. City submission is important to ensure completeness of the submission, provide consistency in the process, and to assure good communication. 

Preliminary sketch plans

Prior to a formal submittal, county staff is very willing to examine concept layouts, preliminary site plans, or sketch plans. Cities, developers, project consultants, or property owners can submit this type of draft information. The benefit of an early review is that many issues can be identified and possibly resolved prior to the formal plat review process (often speeding up all subsequent reviews). This early coordination often leads to the best outcomes for all parties, also ensuring comments may be incorporated into city council or planning commission agenda’s

Environmental documents (EAW, EIS, and AUAR)

Hennepin County staff reviews environmental documents (i.e.,Environmental Assessment Worksheets, Environmental Impact Statements, and Alternative Urban Analysis Reviews) through the Environmental Quality Board’s (EQB) process.

Traffic Impact Studies

A Traffic Impact Study (TIS) is a specialized engineering analysis that determines the potential traffic impacts of a proposed development.  The TIS identifies capacity deficiencies at affected intersections and recommends potential solutions. A TIS is required by Hennepin County if an environmental document is prepared and the estimated peak hour traffic generated by the proposed development exceeds 250 vehicles or the total daily trips exceed 2,500 (Based on ITE Trip Generation Manual).  If an environmental document is not being prepared Hennepin County will encourage the local governmental unit to require a TIS when similar traffic generation numbers are estimated. 

Submitting a plat

Who should submit a plat?

Prior to a formal submittal, county staff is willing to examine concept layouts, preliminary site plans, or sketch plans. Cities, developers, project consultants, or property owners can submit this type of draft information. The benefit of an early review is that many issues can be identified and possibly resolved prior to the formal plat review process (often speeding up all subsequent reviews).

For formal plat reviews,either the city or developer can submit the plat. However, all followup communication will be directly with the city. 

How should a plat be submitted?

The preferred method to submit a plat is by email at transportation.plats@hennepin.us

If a hard copy needs to be submitted, it can be sent to: 

Hennepin County Public Works
Transportation Planning Division
1600 Prairie Drive
Medina, MN 55340-5421

What should be included? 

To be complete, plat submittals to the county should include a transmittal letter and a legible plan set. 

Transmittal letter

The transmittal letter should include:

  • City contact person
  • Dates of upcoming city actions such as planning commission or city council meetings
  • Date of desired response from the county (if prior to the 30 days allowed by state statute)

It is also helpful to provide a brief history and detail of any staff evaluations. 

Location map

The location map should show the site relative to area roadways.

Site plan map and plan set

A site plan map and plan set with scaled dimensions authenticated by a registered engineer or land surveyor showing:

  • Date, title, scale and north arrow
  • All existing and proposed property lines
  • Lot dimensions, right-of-ways and easements
  • Existing centerline and paved area of the county roadway (which is not always centered in the right-of-way)
  • Proposed development building footprints
  • Parking lot layouts, including aisle configuration
  • Locations of ingress and egress to the proposed platted area including existing and proposed driveway locations
  • Locations of other nearby driveways, street intersections and access points on the county roadway in the vicinity of the proposed plat, including driveways immediately adjacent to or across from the proposed plat
  • The outlet for and means of disposal of surface waters from the proposed platted area

Additional materials 

The submittal should also include a written description of the current and proposed use of the property including land use type (commercial, industrial, residential, etc.) and specific uses (discount store, convenience center, etc.) if known.

If the plat is for non-residential uses, include an estimate of the amount of daily traffic the development is expected to generate.

Plat evaluation

County staff evaluates proposed plats for a number of items that affect county roadways. Some examples of review items include:

Safety issues

  • Conformance with entering sight distance guidelines
  • Weaving and merging maneuver conflicts
  • Turn lane / auxiliary lane needs

Access management

  • Proposed driveway and street entrance compliance with county access spacing guidelines
  • Opportunities for access reorientation and / or consolidation
  • Driveway design, including throat lengths

Right-of-way needs

  • Anticipated future roadway section
  • Right-of-way needs for turn lanes / auxiliary lanes
  • Other needs (pedestrian / bike accommodations)

Operational elements

  • Intersection capacity analysis
  • Turn lane / auxiliary lane design configurations
  • Traffic control needs
  • Potential on-site circulation impacts

Pedestrian and bicycle accommodations

Miscellaneous items

  • Drainage needs (road and/or site)
  • Encroachments within roadway right-of-way
  • Proposed grading impacts

Review process

State statutes provide the county up to 30 calendar days for review after receipt of a complete submittal. Once a submittal is approved by the county's Transportation Planning division, the plat must be submitted to the county's surveyors office. 

County plat review process

The key steps of the review process include: 

  • A preliminary plat is submitted to the county.
  • County acknowledges receipt and notes any missing items via email or phone call.
  • Once the submittal is deemed complete, the 30-day review period begins.
  • The county Plat Review Committee meets to discuss the plat. Follow-up meetings may occur if further information or analysis is needed.
  • The county submits a comment letter to the city noting any issues, concerns or requirements. This communication will be directly with the city regardless of if the city or developer submitted the plat.
  • The city responds back to the county via letter regarding how the county comments will be addressed. If any unresolved issues remain - the city schedules a meeting with county staff to discuss.
  • The city council approves the preliminary and final plats.

Obtaining an access permit

Following the plat review process and obtaining city approvals, your next step is to submit an application for a county access permit

Registering plats

Upon obtaining all city and county approvals, registrant must register plat with Hennepin County surveyor department.  

The registration must include:

  • Evidence of the submission of the preliminary plat to the county
  • Copy of the county comment letter on the preliminary plat.
  • Copy of the city response to the county comment letter and evidence of any follow-up meetings held with the county to resolve remaining issues.

 

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