Unified Development Code starting final review process

Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission will hear public comments regarding new zoning ordinance Wednesday before making recommendation to the Rochester City Council.

Unified Development Code
Deputy Director of Community Development Ryan Yetzer, left, goes over planned zoning changes with a community member as part of the Unified Development Code showcase in the Galleria at University Square on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The city’s proposed Unified Development Code will face its first official review Wednesday.

The code is slated to become the city’s primary set of regulations to guide future development. It will largely govern what can be built and where, as well as how projects are approved.

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Rochester’s Community Development staff has completed the update of the proposed 457-page document , which is expected to replace Rochester’s Land Development Manual.

New organization, graphics and simplified language in the update seeks to make the code easier to interpret for everyone, according to city staff.

Earlier drafts have been circulating for approximately two years in an effort to seek public input, and city staff says the resulting comments have been considered in making tweaks to the proposed code.


The updated code is slated to be reviewed by the Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 10, 2022, in council chambers of the city-county Government Center.

Following a public hearing on the proposed code, the commission will be asked for a recommendation on whether the code should be adopted.

The Rochester City Council is expected to hold a second public hearing on Sept. 7 before it is asked to adopt the new code.

The updated document being presented for approval, which was released this week, aims to be more user-friendly as it brings together all of Rochester’s development regulations, and better implement the key goals and objectives of the city’s comprehensive plan.

The Unified Development Code also seeks to modernize zoning standards, providing more flexible standards to reduce required special approvals while also seeking to inform property owners what could be constructed in specific parts of the city.

Since work started on the code in January 2020, Community Development has reported conducting approximately 267 hours of in-person and virtual engagement reaching an estimated 1,143 community members. An additional 80,268 people were reached through social media and local news engagement.

During the course of the project, the department reportedly received 367 comments in writing, and utilized more than 4,000 hours of staff time to review comments, edit drafts, and facilitate public and stakeholder engagement.

Approximately 30% of the comments received either directly resulted in a change to the initial draft or was already supported by the ordinance update.


Details on changes and the resulting document are expected to be part of the Planning and Zoning Commission discussion on Wednesday.

UDC Adoption Draft by randy on Scribd

Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Aug. 8 include:


  • Police Policy Oversight Commission, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 164B of the Development Services and Infrastructure Center, 4001 West River Parkway.
  • Park Board, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 104 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE.
  • Public Utility Board special meeting, 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Rochester Public Utilities community room, 4000 East River Road NE.
  • Energy Commission, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in room 104 of City Hall.
  • Planning and Zoning Commission, 6 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers of the Government Center.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in room 104 of City Hall.

Olmsted County

  • County Commissioner Retreat, at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Jeremiah House, 2915 Jeremiah Lane NW, Rochester.
  • Human Rights Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday in conference room 2 of the Government Center.
Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or
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