For the purposes of this Ordinance, certain terms or words used herein shall be interpreted as follows:

A. The word "person" includes an owner or representative of the owner, firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company or corporation as well as an individual.

B. The present tense includes the future tense, the singular includes the plural and the plural includes the singular.

C. The word "shall" is mandatory; the word "may" is permissive.

D. The singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular.

E. All measured distances expressed in feet shall be to the nearest tenth of a foot.

F. When calculating parking stall requirements, any fraction of a number shall constitute an additional parking space.

G. For terminology not defined in this Ordinance, the most current State Uniform

Building Code or Webster's dictionary shall be used to define such terms.



The  following  words  and  terms,  wherever  they  occur  in  this  Ordinance,  shall  be interpreted as herein defined:

A. Abutting:  Making direct contact with or immediately bordering.

Accessory Building, Structure, or Use:  A subordinate building, structure, or use which is located on the same lot on which the main building or use is situated and which is reasonably necessary, appropriate and incidental to the conduct of the primary use of such building or main use.

Addition:  A physical enlargement of an existing structure.

Adjacent:  In close proximity to or neighboring, not necessarily abutting.

Aircraft:  Any contrivance now known or hereafter invented, used or designed for navigation of or manned flight in the air, including without limitation, airplanes, helicopters, and ultra lights.

Aircraft Related:

1. Aircraft Noise Zone:  Aircraft noise zone shall mean the  zone identified under Section 1245.02.C  and  incorporated herein.

2. dBA:  dBA shall mean a unit of sound pressure level weighted by use of the A metering characteristics and weighting as specified in the American National Standards Institute Specification for Sound Level Meters (ANSI S1.4-1983), which is hereby incorporated by reference. dBA is also referred to as an A-weighted decibel.

3. Leq:  Leq shall mean the equivalent continuous sound level which over the period of one hour has the same A-weighted sound energy as the time varying sound.

4. Ldn:  Ldn shall mean the day-night average level, or one 24-hour equivalent continuous sound level (time average A-weighted sound level) from midnight to midnight, obtained after the addition of 10 dBA to sound levels measured from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

5. Noise reduction Level:  Noise reduction level shall mean the difference between the exterior and interior sound level, expressed in dBA, which is achieved by the intervening structure.

6. Recognized Acoustical Specialist:  A recognized acoustical specialist shall mean a person qualified by education and experience to conduct sound analysis of buildings and approved for such purpose by the City’s building inspector. The approved individual shall have at least three years of experience in the field of sound control; a degree from a recognized institute of higher learning in the acoustics or closely related discipline; and demonstrated expertise in the process of sound analysis of buildings.

7. Sound:  Sound shall mean energy that is transmitted by pressure waves in the air or in other materials and is the objective cause of the sensation of hearing. Sound is commonly referred to as noise if it is unwanted.

8. Sound Attenuation:  Sound attenuation shall mean the reduction of sound level which occurs between a source and a receiver.

9. Sound Leak:  Sound leak shall mean an opening in a structure through which sound can pass.  Sound leaks are often extremely small holes or cracks. Generally, an air leak is a sound leak.

10. Sound Level:  Sound level means the level sound pressure measured with a sound level meter and one of its weighting (frequency) networks. When A-weighting is used, the sound level is expressed as dBA.

11. Sound Transmission Class (STC):  Sound Transmission Class shall mean a single number rating for describing the degree of sound transmission loss specified for a wall, window, partition or other building element. The higher the STC, the more attenuation the building element will afford.

Alternative Energy System:  A ground source heat pump or solar energy system.


1. Domestic Animals: For purposes of this Chapter, domestic animal shall be defined as house pets such as dogs, cats, traditional and typical animal pets, and birds (not including pigeons, chickens, geese, turkeys or other domestic fowl) which can be contained within a principal structure throughout the entire year, provided that the containment can be accomplished without special modification to the structure requiring a building permit from the City. Animals normally classified as wild which have been domesticated are not included as a domestic animal.

2. Farm Animals: Cattle, hogs, bees, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, and other animals traditional and commonly accepted as farm animals in the State of Minnesota.

Antenna, Personal Wireless Service:  A device consisting of a metal, carbon fiber, or other electromagnetically conducive rods or elements, usually arranged in a circular array on a single supporting pole or other structure, and used for the transmission and reception of wireless communication radio waves including cellular, personal communication service (PCS), enhanced specialized mobilized radio (ESMR), paging and similar services and including the support structure thereof.

Antenna, Public Utility Microwave:  A parabolic dish or cornucopia shaped electromagnetically reflective or conductive element used for the transmission and/or reception of point to point UHF or VHF radio waves in wireless telephone communications, and including the supporting structure thereof.

Antenna, Radio and Television, Broadcast Transmitting:  A wire, set of wires,  metal  or  carbon  fiber  rod  or  other  electromagnetic  element  used  to transmit public or commercial broadcast radio, or television programming, and including the support structure thereof.

Antenna, Radio and Television Receiving:  A wire, set of wires, metal or carbon fiber element(s), other than satellite dish antennas, used to receive radio, television, or electromagnetic waves, and including the supporting structure thereof.

Antenna, Satellite Dish:  A device incorporating a reflective surface that is solid, open mesh, or bar configured and is in the shape of a shallow dish, cone, horn, or cornucopia.  Such device is used to transmit and/or receive radio or electromagnetic waves between terrestrially and/or orbitally based uses. This definition shall include, but not be limited to, what are commonly referred to as satellite earth stations, TVROs (television, receive only) and satellite microwave antennas and support structure thereof.

Antenna, Short-Wave Radio Transmitting and Receiving:  A wire, set of wires or a device, consisting of a metal, carbon fiber, or other electromagnetically conductive element used for the transmission and reception of radio waves used for short-wave radio communications, and including the supporting structure thereof.

Antenna Support Structure:  Any pole, telescoping mast, tower, tripod, or any other structure which supports a device used in the transmitting or receiving of radio frequency energy.

Applicant:  The owner, their agent or person having legal control, ownership and/or interest in land which the provisions of this Ordinance are being considered for or reviewed.


B. Boundary Lines:  Any line indicating the bounds or limits of any tract or parcel of land; also a line separating the various use districts as shown on the City's Zoning Map.

Buffer:  The use of land, topography (difference in elevation), space, fences, or landscape plantings to screen or partially screen a use or property from the vision of another use or property.

Buildable Area:  The space remaining on a lot after the minimum setback and open space requirements of this Ordinance have been met. (See Figure 1202.02-1)

Building:  Any structure built for the support, shelter or enclosure of persons, animals, chattel or movable property of any kind, and includes any structure.

Building Height, Existing Grade:  The height of a building measured from the average ground level prior to construction at any point on the perimeter at the building line to the top of the cornice of a flat or mansard roof and to the highest gable on a pitched or hipped roof.

Building Height, Finished Grade:  The height of a building measured at the building line from the finished ground level after construction to the top of the cornice of a flat or mansard roof and to the highest gable on a pitched or hipped roof.

Building Line:  A line parallel to the street right-of-way or ordinary high water level at any story level of a building and representing the minimum distance which all or any part of the building is set back from said right-of-way or ordinary high water level.

Building Setback:  The minimum horizontal distance between the building and the lot line.


C. Channel:  A natural or artificial depression of perceptible extent, with definite bed and banks to confine and conduct water either continuously or periodically.

Church:  A building, together with its accessory buildings and use; where persons regularly assemble for religious purposes and which building, together with its accessory buildings and uses, is maintained and controlled by a religious body organized to sustain religious ceremonies and purposes.

City Building Official:  The person designated by the City Council to be the City Building Official for the City of Sunfish Lake.

City Council:  The governing body for the City of Sunfish Lake.

City Engineer:  The person designated by the City Council to be the City Engineer for the City of Sunfish Lake.

City Planner:  The person designated by the City Council to be the City Planner for the City of Sunfish Lake.

Clear Cutting:  The removal of an entire stand of trees and/or vegetation.

Common Open Space:  Any privately owned  open  space  including  private parks, nature areas, playgrounds, trails, and recreational buildings and structures which is an integral part of a development and is not owned on an individual basis by each owner of the dwelling unit.

Comprehensive Plan:  A comprehensive long range plan prepared and approved by the City, including a compilation of policy statements, goals, standards, fiscal guidelines, and maps indicating the general locations recommended for the various functional classes of land use, places and structures, and for the general physical development of the City, including any unit or part of such plan separately adopted and any amendment to such plan or parts thereof.

Conditional Use:  Those occupations, vocations, skills, arts, businesses, professions, or uses specifically designated in each zoning district, which for the respective conduct or performance in such designated districts may require reasonable, but special, unusual or extraordinary limitations peculiar to the use for the protection, promotion and preservation of the general public welfare, health, and safety, and the integrity of the City Comprehensive Plan.

Conditional Use Permit:  A permit issued by the City Council in accordance with procedures specified in this Ordinance, as a flexibility device to enable the City Council to assign dimensions to a proposed use or conditions surrounding it after consideration of adjacent uses and their functions and the special problems which the proposed use presents.

Curb Level:  The elevation of the established curb in front of a building measured at the center of such front. Where no curb level has been established, the engineering staff shall determine a curb level or its equivalent for the purpose of this Ordinance.


D. Deposition:  Any rock, soil, gravel, sand or other material deposited naturally or by man into a waterbody, watercourse, floodplains or wetlands.

Diversion:  A channel that intercepts surface water runoff and that changes the accustomed course of all or part of a stream.

Dog Kennel:  Any place where three (3) dogs or more over three (3) months of age are kept for the use of the owner, or are boarded, bred and/or offered for sale.

Draining:  The removal of surface water or groundwater from land.

Dredging:  To enlarge or clean-out a waterbody, watercourse, or wetland.

Dwelling:  A building or portion thereof, designated exclusively for residential occupancy, but not including hotels, motels, boarding houses, tents, cabins, or motor homes/travel trailers.

Dwelling Unit:  A residential building or portion thereof intended for occupancy by one (1) or more persons with facilities for living, sleeping, cooking and eating, but not including hotels, motels, nursing homes, seasonal cabins, boarding or rooming houses, motor homes or travel trailers.

Dwelling Unit Occupancy:  Occupancy of a dwelling unit for the purpose of enforcing provisions of this Ordinance shall be limited by restrictions as included in the definition of family in this Section.


E. Earth Berm:  (House Construction) An earth covering on the above grade portions of the building walls.

Earth Sheltered Building:  A building so constructed that fifty (50) percent or more of the completed structure is covered with earth. Earth covering is measured from the lowest level of the livable space in residential units and of usable space in non-residential buildings.  An earth sheltered building is a complete structure that does not serve just as a foundation or sub-structure for above grade construction. A partially covered building shall not be considered earth sheltered.

Easement:  A grant by an owner of land for a specific use by persons other than the owner.

Erosion: The wearing away of land surface by the action of natural elements.

Essential Services:  The erection, construction, alteration or maintenance by public utilities or municipal departments of underground or overhead telephone, gas, electrical, communication, water or sewer transmission, distribution, collection, supply or disposal systems, including poles, wires, mains, drains, sewers, pipes, conduits, cables, fire alarm  boxes, police call boxes, traffic signals, hydrants and other similar equipment and accessories in connection therewith for the furnishing of adequate service by such private or public utilities or municipal departments. Transmission/reception support structures and antennas shall not be considered an essential service.

Essential Service Structures:  Structures and buildings necessary for the operation of essential services, including but not limited to:  telephone buildings, telephone booths, gas regulator stations, substations, electrical stations, water tanks, lift stations.

Exterior Storage:  The storage of goods, materials, equipment, manufactured products and similar items not fully enclosed by a building.


F. Family:  An individual or two (2) or more persons related by blood, marriage, adoption or a group of not more than three (3) persons who need not be related by blood or marriage living together in a dwelling unit and sharing common cooking facilities.

Farm Building:  Any building used for storing agricultural equipment or farm produce, housing livestock or poultry, not including poultry processing or egg production plants not normally associated with farming operations. The term "farm buildings" shall not include dwellings.

Fence Related:

1. "Fence" shall mean a partition, wall, hedge, row(s) of continuous plantings, or gate erected as a dividing marker, visual or physical barrier, or enclosure.

a. "Man Made Fence" shall mean a partition or wall constructed of wood, metal, masonry, brick, stone, concrete, and the like.

b. "Natural Hedge or Planting" shall mean a divider or barrier comprised of vegetation materials.

2. "Fence height" shall mean the distance from the adjacent finished grade to the highest projection of a fence structure, not including support posts, provided that the support posts are no more than four (4) inches above the fence structure.

Filling:  The act of depositing any rock, soil, gravel, sand or other material so as to fill a waterbody, watercourse, or wetland.

Floor Area, Gross:  The sum of the gross horizontal areas of all floors of the building or portion thereof devoted to a particular use, including  accessory storage areas located within selling or working space such as, activities to the production or processing of goods, or to business or professional offices. However, the floor area shall not include: basement or cellar floor area other than area devoted to retailing activities, the production or processing of goods, or to business or professional offices. The floor area of a residence shall not include the cellar area.

Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.):  The floor area of a building or buildings on any lot divided by the area of such lot, or in the case of planned developments by the net site area. The floor area ratio requirements as set forth under each zoning district shall determine the maximum floor area allowable for a building or buildings (total floor area of both principal and accessory buildings) in direct ratio to the gross area of the zoning lot.

Frontage:  That boundary of a lot which abuts an existing or dedicated public street, watercourse or similar barrier.


G. Garage, Private (Residential):  An accessory building or accessory portion of the principal building which is intended for and used to store the private passenger vehicles and trucks not exceeding twelve thousand (12,000) pounds gross weight, of the family resident upon the premises, and in which no business service or industry is carried on.

Grade (Adjacent Ground Elevation):  The lowest point of elevation of the finished surface of the ground, paving or sidewalk within the area between the building and the property line, or when the property line is more than five (5) feet from the building, between the building and a line five (5) feet from the building.

Grading:  Changing the natural or existing topography of land.

Ground Source Heat Pump System Related:

1. Closed Loop Ground Source Heat Pump System:  A system that circulates a heat transfer fluid, typically food-grade antifreeze, through pipes or coils buried beneath the land surface or anchored to the bottom in a body of water.

2. Ground Source Heat Pump System:  A system that uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth or a body of water to provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. System components include open or closed loops of pipe, coils or plates; a fluid that absorbs and transfers heat; and a heat pump unit that processes heat for use or disperses heat for cooling; and an air distribution system.

3. Horizontal Ground Source Heat Pump System:  A closed loop ground source heat pump system where the loops or coils are installed horizontally in a trench or series of trenches no more than twenty (20) feet below the land surface.

4. Heat Transfer Fluid:  A non-toxic and food grade fluid in accordance with Minn. Rules 4725.7050.

5. Ground Water Thermal Exchange Devices:  A heating or cooling device that depends on extraction and reinjection of groundwater from an independent aquifer to operate, as defined in Minn. Stat. § 103I.005.

6. Bored Geothermal Heat Exchangers:  An earth-coupled heating or cooling device consisting of a sealed closed-loop piping system installed in a boring in the ground to transfer heat to or from the surrounding earth with no discharge, as defined in Minn. Stat. § 103I.005.


H. Home Occupation:  Any occupation or profession engaged in by the occupant of a residential dwelling unit, which is clearly incidental and secondary to the residential use of the premises and does not change the character of said premises.

Hydric Soils:  Soils that are saturated, flooded or ponded long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part. (Reference: Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands, January 1989)


I. Impervious Surface:  An artificial or natural surface through which water, air, or roots cannot penetrate.

Interim Use:  A temporary use of property until a particular date, until the occurrence of a particular event, or until zoning regulations no longer allow it.

Interim Use Permit:  A permit issued by the City Council in accordance with procedures specified in this Ordinance.

Invasive  Species:  Invasive species shall include all plants listed in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s “Noxious Plants of Minnesota” publication, as amended.


J. Junk Yard:  An open area where waste, used, or second hand materials are bought, sold, exchanged, stored, baled, packed, disassembled or handled; including but not limited to, scrap iron and other materials, paper, rags, rubber, tires, lumber, and bottles. A junk yard includes an auto wrecking yard, but does not include uses established entirely within closed buildings.


L. Landscaping:  Plantings such as trees, flowers, grass and shrubs and improvements directly related thereto.

Land Reclamation:  The process of the re-establishment of acceptable topography (i.e. slopes), vegetative cover, soil stability and the establishment of safe conditions appropriate to the subsequent use of the land.

Landing Area:  Any area of land, water, or both, which is used or made available for the landing of and taking off of aircraft whether for public, private or personal purposes.

Lot:  A parcel or portion of land of at least sufficient size to meet minimum zoning requirements for use, coverage and area, and to provide such yards and other open spaces as are herein required.

Lot (of Record):  Any lot which is one unit of a plat heretofore duly approved and filed, or one unit of an auditor's outlot or a registered land survey, or a parcel of land not so platted, subdivided or registered but for which a deed, auditor's subdivision or registered land survey has been recorded in the Office of the Register of Deeds or Registrar of Titles for Dakota County, Minnesota, prior to the effective date of this Ordinance.

Lot Area:  The total land area of a horizontal plane within the lot lines. (See Figure 1202-1)

Lot Area, Net:  The area of a lot not including wetlands, land seasonally flooded on an annual basis, land containing drainage ways and/or surface water or land containing aquatic vegetation, and land in excess or twelve (12) percent slope. (See Figure 1202.02-1)


Figure 1202.02-1



Lot, Corner:  A lot situated at the intersection of two (2) streets, the interior angle of such intersection not exceeding one hundred thirty-five (135) degrees.

Lot Coverage:  The area of a lot occupied by the principal building or buildings and all accessory buildings.

Lot Depth:  The shortest horizontal distance between the front lot line and the rear lot line measured from a ninety (90) degree angle from the street right-of- way within the lot boundaries.

Lot, Double Frontage:  An interior lot having frontage on two (2) streets.

Lot, Front:  The front of a lot shall be considered to be that boundary abutting a public right-of-way or private access road having the least width.

Lot Improvement:  Any building, structure, place, work of art, or other object, or improvement of the land on which they are situated constituting a physical betterment of real property, or any part of such betterment.

Lot, Interior:  A lot, other than a corner lot, including through or double frontage lots.

Lot Line:  A property boundary line of any lot held in single or separate ownership; except that where any portion of the lot extends into the abutting street or alley, the lot line shall be deemed to be the street or alley right-of-way.

Lot Line, Rear:  That boundary of a lot which is opposite the front lot line. If the rear lot line is less than ten (10) feet in length, or if the lot forms a point at the rear, the rear lot line shall be a line ten (10) feet in length within the lot, parallel to and at the maximum distance from the front lot line.

Lot, Reversed Frontage:  A lot in which the frontage is at right angles, or approximately right angles, to the general pattern in the area involved. A reversed frontage lot may be a corner lot or an interior lot.

Lot, Substandard:  A lot or parcel of land for which a deed has been recorded in the Office of the Dakota County Recorder upon or prior to the effective date of this Ordinance which does not meet the minimum lot area, structure setbacks or other dimensional standards of this Ordinance.

Lot, Through:  A lot fronting on two parallel streets.

Lot, Width:  The minimum required horizontal distance between the side lot lines measured at right angles to the lot depth, at the minimum building setback line. If no setback line is established, the distance between the side lot lines measured along the public right-of-way.


M. Metes and Bounds Description:  A description of real property which is not described by reference to a lot or block shown on a map, but is described by starting at a known point and describing the bearings and distances of the lines forming the boundaries of the property or delineating a fractional portion of a section, lot or area by described lines or portions thereof.

Minerals:  Soil, clay, stone, sand and gravel and other similar solid material or substance to be mined from natural deposits.

Mining:  All or any part of the process involved in the extraction of sand, gravel, aggregate, or minerals by removing the overburden and extracting directly from the sand, gravel, aggregate, or mineral deposits thereby exposed.


N. Non-Conforming Structure, Use, or Lot, Illegal:  A lot, building, structure, premises, or use illegally established when it was initiated, created, or constructed, which did not conform with the applicable conditions or provisions of the City Code for the district in which the structure or use is located.

Non-Conforming Structure, Use, or Lot, Legal:  A lot, building, structure, premises, or use lawfully established when it was initiated, created, or constructed, which does not now conform with the applicable conditions or provisions of this Ordinance for the district in which the structure or use is located.

Noxious Matter or Material:  Material capable of causing injury to living organisms by chemical reaction, or capable of causing detrimental effects on the physical or economic well-being of individuals.


O. Obstruction:  Any dam, wall, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, projection, excavation, channel modification, culvert, building, wire, fence, stockpile, refuse, fill, structure or matter in, along, across or projecting into any channel, watercourse or regulatory floodplain which may impede, retard, or change the direction of the flow of water,  either in itself or by catching or collecting debris carried by such water.

Occupancy:  The purpose for which a building is used or intended to be used. The term shall also include the building or room housing such use. Change of occupancy is not intended to include change of tenants or proprietors.

Open Space:  Any open area not covered by structures, including but not limited to the following uses: required or established yard areas, parking areas, sidewalks, trails, recreation areas, water bodies, shorelands, watercourses, wetlands, groundwater recharge areas, floodplain, floodway, flood fringe, erodible slopes, woodland, and soils with severe limitation for development.

Open Storage:  Storage of material outside of a building.

Outlot:  A lot remnant or parcel of land left over after platting, which is intended as open space or other future use, and upon which no structure is to be located and for which no building permit shall be issued.

Owner:  An individual, association, syndicate, partnership, corporation, trust or any other legal entity holding an equitable or legal ownership interest in land, buildings, structures, dwelling unit(s) or other property.


P. Parcel:  An individual lot or tract of land.

Parking Space (Off-Street):  An area of such shape and dimensions as provided by this Ordinance, enclosed in the principal building, in an accessory building, or unenclosed, sufficient in size to store one (1) motor vehicle, which has  adequate access to a public street or alley and permitting satisfactory ingress and egress of an automobile.

Performance Standard:  Criterion established for setbacks, fencing, landscaping, screening, drainage, accessory buildings, outside storage and to control noise, odor, toxic or noxious matter, vibration, fire and explosive hazards, or glare or heat or other nuisance elements generated by or inherent in uses of land or buildings.

Permitted Use:  A use which may be lawfully established in a particular district or districts, provided it conforms with all requirements, regulations, and performance standards (if any) of such districts.

Person:  Any individual or legal entity.

Planning Commission:  The Sunfish Lake Planning Commission.

Practical Difficulties:  A situation in connection with the request for a variance from compliance with the requirements of this ordinance, where a property owner proposes to use the subject property in a reasonable manner not permitted by the ordinance in which the plight of the property owner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the property owner and the variance, if granted, is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the zoning ordinance, is consistent with the comprehensive plan and will not alter the essential character of the locality. Practical difficulties include but are not limited to inadequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties.

Principal Building:  A building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located.

Principal Structure or Use:  The main or primary use of land or buildings as distinguished from subordinate or accessory uses. A "principal use" may be either permitted or conditional.

Protective Covenants:  Contracts entered into between all owners and holders of mortgage constituting a restriction on the use of property within a subdivision for the benefit of the property owners, and providing mutual protection against undesirable aspects of property value and economic integrity of any given area.

Public Uses:  Uses owned or operated by municipal, school districts, county, state, or other governmental units.

Public Utility:  Any person, firm, corporation, municipal department or board fully authorized and furnishing under municipal regulation to the public electricity, gas, steam, communication services, cable television, telegraph services, transportation, water or the like.

Publication:  Notice placed in the official City newspaper stating time, location and date of meeting and description of the topic.


R. Recreation, Field or Building:  An area of land, water, or any building in which amusement, recreation or athletic sports are provided for public or semi-public use, whether temporary or permanent, except a theater, whether provision is made for the accommodation of an assembly or not. A golf course, arena, baseball park, stadium, or gymnasium is a recreation field or building for the purpose of this Ordinance.

Recreational Vehicle:  Includes manufactured homes less than thirty (30) feet in overall length, including those with telescope or fold down, chassis, mounter campers, house cars, motor homes, tent trailers, slip-in-campers (those mounted in a pickup truck or similar vehicle), converted buses, and converted vans used primarily for recreational purposes. Cars utilized for racing shall not be included in this definition.

Roof Line:  Is defined as the top of the coping; or, when the building has a pitched roof, at the intersection of the outside wall with the roof.


S. Satellite Dish:  Shall mean a combination of (1) antenna or dish antenna whose purpose is to receive communication or other signals from orbiting satellites and other extraterrestrial sources; (2) a low-noise amplifier (LNA) which is situated at the focal point of the receiving component and whose purpose is to magnify and transfer signals; (3) a coaxial cable whose purpose is to carry the signals into the interior of the building.

Satellite Dish Height:  Shall mean the height of the antenna or dish measured vertically from the highest point of the antenna or dish when positioned for operation, to the top of the foundation which supports the antenna.

Secondary Use:  A use of land or of a building or a portion thereof which is subordinate to and does not constitute the primary use of the land or building.

Semi-Public Use:  Uses owned by private or private non-profit organizations which are open to some, but not all, of the public.

Septic Sewer System:  A septic sewer disposal system consists of:  septic tank, absorption field of standard trenches or a dry well, house sewer and outlet sewer. In the septic tank, bacterial action breaks down sewage. Standard trenches or a dry well handles final disposal of liquid from the septic tank. The house sewer brings wastes to the tank and the outlet sewer carries sewage liquids (effluent) to the absorption field.

Setback:  The minimum horizontal distance between a structure and the property line nearest thereto; within Shoreland Districts it shall also mean the minimum horizontal distance between a structure or a sewage treatment system and the ordinary high water level. For purposes of earth shelter buildings only, above grade portions shall be used in determining setback requirements. Distances are to be measured from the most outwardly extended portion of the structure at ground level, except as provided herein after.

Shoreland Related:

1. Bluff:  A topographic feature such as a hill, cliff, or embankment having the following characteristics (an area with an average slope of less than 18 percent over a distance for 50 feet or more shall not be considered part of the bluff):

a. Part of all of the feature is located in a shoreland area.

b. The slope rises at least 25 feet above the ordinary high water level of the waterbody.

c. The grade of the slope from the toe of the bluff to a point 25 feet or more above the ordinary high water level averages 30 percent or greater.

d. The slope must drain toward the waterbody.

2. Bluff Impact Zone:  A bluff and land located within twenty (20) feet from the top of a bluff.

3. Commissioner:  The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.

4. Deck:  A horizontal, unenclosed platform with or without attached railings, seats, trellises, or other features, attached or functionally related to a principal use or site and at any point extending more than three (3) feet above ground.

5. Deck, Detached, Low Profile:  A horizontal, unenclosed detached platform with or without attached railings, seats, trellises, or other features not exceeding two hundred (200) square feet in size.

6. Intensive Vegetation Clearing:  The complete removal of trees or shrubs in a contiguous patch, strip, row or block.

7. Ordinary High Water Level:  The boundary of public waters and wetlands, and shall be an elevation delineating the highest water level which has been maintained for a sufficient period of time to leave evidence upon the landscape, commonly that point where the natural vegetation changes from  predominantly  aquatic  to  predominantly  terrestrial. For watercourses, the ordinary high water level is the elevation of the top of the bank of the channel. For reservoirs and flowage, the ordinary high water level is the operating elevation of the normal summer pool.

8. Public Waters: Any waters as defined in Minnesota Statutes, Section 103G.005, Subdivisions 14 and 15. However, no lake, pond, or flowage of less than 10 acres in size in municipalities need be regulated for the purposes of parts 6120.2500 to 6120.3900. A body of water created by a private user where there was no previous shoreland may, at the discretion of the local government, be exempted from parts 6120.2500 to 6120.2900.

9. Public Waters - Recreational Development (RD):  Medium sized lakes of varying depths and shapes with a variety of landform, soil, and ground water situations on the lands around them. They often are characterized by moderate levels of recreational use and existing development. Development consists mainly of seasonal and year-round residences and recreational-oriented commercial uses. Many of these lakes have capacities for accommodating additional development and use.

10. Sensitive Resource Management:  The preservation and management of areas unsuitable for development in their natural state due to constraints such as shallow soils over ground water or bedrock, highly erosive or expansive soils, steep slopes, susceptibility to flooding, or occurrence of flora or fauna in need of special protection.

11. Sewer System:  Pipelines or conduits, pumping stations, and force main, and all other constructions, devices, appliances, or appurtenances used for conducting sewage or industrial waste or other wastes to a point of ultimate disposal.

12. Shore Impact Zone:  Land located between the ordinary high water level of a public water and a line parallel to it at a setback of 50 percent of the structure setback.

13. Shoreland:  Land located within the following distances from public waters: 1,000 feet from the ordinary high water level of a lake, pond, or flowage. The limits of shorelands may be reduced whenever the waters involved are bounded by topographic divides which extend landward from the waters for lesser distances and when approved by the commissioner.

14. Significant Historic Site:  Any archaeological site, standing structure, or other property that meets the criteria for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places or is listed in the State Register of Historic Sites, or is determined to be an unplatted cemetery that falls under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes, Section 307.08. A historic site meets these criteria if it is presently listed on either register or if it is determined to meet the qualifications for listing after review by the Minnesota State Archaeologist or the Director of the Minnesota Historical Society. All unplatted cemeteries are automatically considered to be significant historic sites.

15. Steep Slope:  Land where agricultural activity or development is either not recommended or described as poorly suited due to slope steepness and the site's soil characteristics, as mapped and described in available county soil surveys or other technical reports, unless appropriate design and construction techniques and farming practices are used in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance. Where specific information is not available, steep slopes are lands having slopes over 12 percent, as measured over horizontal distances of 50 feet or more, that are not bluffs.

16. Toe of the Bluff:  The point on a bluff where there is, as visually observed, a clearly identifiable break in the slope, from gentler to steeper slope above. If no break in the slope is apparent, the toe of the bluff shall be determine to be the lower end of a 50 foot segment, measured on the ground, with an average slope exceeding 18 percent.

17. Top of the Bluff:  The point on a bluff where there is, as virtually observed, a clearly identifiable break in the slope, from steeper to gentler slope above. If no break in the slope is apparent, the top of the bluff shall be determined to be the upper end of a 50 foot segment, measured on the ground, with an average slope exceeding 18 percent.

Sign Related:

1. Abandoned Sign:  A sign located on a property which is vacant and/or unoccupied for a period of ninety (90) days; or a sign which is damaged, in disrepair, or vandalized and not repaired within ninety (90) days.

2. Address Sign:  A sign which indicates the address, number and/or the name of occupants of the premises.

3. Billboard:  Any structure or portion thereof on which lettered, figured, or pictorial matter is displayed that has an area of one hundred (100) square feet or more.

4. Directional Sign:  A sign which is erected for the  purpose of guiding vehicles and pedestrian traffic in finding locations on the property where the sign is located.

5. Dynamic  Display:  Any characteristic of a Sign that appears to have movement or that appears to change, caused by any method other than physically removing and replacing the Sign or its components, whether the apparent movement or change is in the display, the Sign structure itself, or any other component of the Sign. This includes a display that incorporates a  technology or method allowing the Sign face to change the image without having to physically or mechanically replace the Sign face or its components. This also includes any rotating, revolving, moving, flashing, blinking, or animated display or structural element and any display that incorporates rotating panels, LED lights manipulated through digital input, “digital ink” or any other method of technology that allows the Sign face to present a series of images or displays.

6. Illuminated Sign:  A sign which is illuminated by an artificial light source.

7. Monument Sign:  A freestanding sign that is attached to the ground by means of a freestanding support structure, solid from grade to the top of the sign structure and is typically encased or supported by masonry materials.

8. Off-premises Sign:  A commercial speech sign which directs the attention of the public to a business that is not on the same premises where such business sign is located.

9. Portable Sign:  A sign so designed as to be movable from one location to another and which is not permanently attached to the ground or any structure, including those on wheels.

10. Projecting Sign:  A sign in which all or any part of it extends perpendicular to and projects from a building face, wall or structure and which its primary purpose is other than the support of the sign.

11. Pylon Sign:  A sign erected on a post or posts, or freestanding shafts, walls or piers which is solidly affixed to the ground and not attached to a building.

12. Real Estate Sign:  A sign for the purpose of promoting or selling real estate.

13. Roof Sign:  A sign erected upon the roof of a structure to which it is affixed or a sign painted on the roof of a structure.

14. Sign:  Any letter, word, symbol, device, poster, picture, statuary, reading matter, or representation in the nature of  an  advertisement, announcement, message, or visual communication, whether painted, posted, printed, affixed, or constructed which is displayed outdoors for informational or communicative purposes.

15. Sign Area:  That area within the marginal lines of the sign surface which bears the announcement, name, advertisement or other message, or, in the case of letters, figures, or symbols attached directly to any part of a building or wall, that area which is included in the smallest rectangle which can be made to circumscribe all letters, the figures, or symbols displayed thereon. The maximum Sign Area for a free standing sign refers to a single surface.

16. Temporary Sign:  A sign which is erected or displayed for a limited period of  time, is not illuminated and not of a permanent nature, including banners, inflatable devices or sandwich boards.

17. Wall Sign:  A sign affixed to the exterior wall, awning or canopy of a building or structure with the exposed face of the sign in a plane approximately parallel to the face of said wall, not to project more than twelve (12) inches from the surface to which it is attached.

18. Window Sign:  A sign that is affixed to and not painted on the interior or exterior of a window or glass door or inside a building within three (3) feet back from the building’s window or glass door with its message intended to be visible to and readable by the public.

Site Plan:  A map drawn to scale depicting the development of a tract of land, including, but not limited to, the location and relationship of structures, streets, driveways, recreation areas, parking areas, easements, utilities, landscaping, and walkways, as related to a proposed development.

Slope:  Means the degree of deviation of a surface from the horizontal, usually, expressed in percent of degrees.

Solar Energy System Related:

1. Building-integrated Solar Energy System:  A solar energy system that is an integral part of a principal or accessory building, rather than a separate mechanical device, replacing or substituting for an architectural or structural component of the building including, but not limited to, photovoltaic or hot water solar systems contained within roofing materials, windows, skylights and awnings.

2. Flush-mounted Solar Energy System:  A roof-mounted system mounted directly abutting the roof. The pitch of the solar collector may exceed the pitch of the roof up to five (5) percent but shall not be higher than ten (10) inches above the roof.

3. Passive Solar Energy System:  A system that captures solar light or heat without transforming it to another form of energy or transferring the energy via a heat exchanger.

4. Photovoltaic System:  A solar energy system that converts solar energy directly into electricity.

5. Solar Energy System:  A device or structural design feature, a substantial purpose of which is to provide daylight for interior lighting or provide for the collection, storage and distribution of solar energy for space heating or cooling, electricity generation or water heating.

Spot Zoning:  A zoning situation where a property or group of properties is unjustifiably zoned differently from adjacent properties, and is not sufficiently unique from such adjacent properties to justify a different zoning classification, nor is such action in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.

Street:  A public right-of-way for vehicular traffic, whether designated as a highway, thoroughfare, arterial, parkway, collector, through-way, road, avenue, boulevard, lane, place, drive, court or otherwise designated, which has been dedicated or deeded to the public for public use and which affords principal means of access to abutting property.

Street Width:  The shortest distance between the lines delineating the right-of-way of a street.

Structural Alteration:  Any change, other than incidental repairs, which would prolong, or modify the life of the supporting members of a building, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, girders, or foundations.

Structure:  Anything which is built, constructed or erected; an edifice or building of any kind; or any piece of work artificially built up and/or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner whether temporary or permanent in character. Among other things, structures including but not limited to buildings, gazebos, decks, retaining walls, walls, fences, and swimming pools.

Structure, Public:  An edifice or building of any kind, or any piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner which is owned or rented, and operated by a federal, state, or local government agency.

Surveyor:  A land surveyor registered under Minnesota State laws.

Swimming Pool:  A structure designed to be used for swimming which has a capacity of three thousand (3,000) gallons or more or which has a depth of over thirty-six (36) inches.


T. Travel Trailer:  Any vehicle or structure designed and used for human living quarters which meets all of the following qualifications:

1. Is not used as the permanent residence of the owner or occupant;

2. Is used for temporary living quarters by the owner or occupant while engaged in recreational or vacation activities; and

3. Is towed or otherwise transported by its own or by other motive power, on the public streets or highways incidental to such recreational or vacation activity.

The term "travel trailer" shall not include manufactured home. The term "travel trailer" shall include, but not be limited to, campers, camper tents, house trailers, camping trailers, travel trailers, tent trailers and any other self-propelled vehicle constructed to provide living accommodations. (See also the definition of "Recreation Vehicle")

Tree, Significant:  Any tree measuring six (6) inches or more measured at a point five (5) feet above the ground, and which is not diseased, dead, or dying.


U. Use: The purpose or activity for which the land or building thereon is designated, arranged, or intended or for which it is occupied, utilized or maintained, and shall include  the  performance  of  such  activity  as  defined  by  the  performance standards of this Ordinance. Uses are classified as principal or accessory and as permitted conditional, and prohibited.


V. Variance: A variance is a relaxation of the requirements of this Ordinance where a property owner proposes to use the subject property in a reasonable manner not permitted by the Ordinance, such deviation will be in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the Ordinance, consistent with the comprehensive plan, and will not alter the essential character of the locality and where, owing to physical conditions unique to the individual property under consideration and not the result of the actions of the applicant, compliance with the ordinance would result in practical difficulties.


W. Waterbody:  Means a body of water (lake, pond) or a depression of land or expanded part of a river, or an enclosed basin that holds water and is surrounded by land.

Watercourse:  A channel or depression through which water flows, such as rivers, streams, creeks, and may flow year-round or intermittently.

Watershed:  The area drained by the natural and artificial drainage system, bounded peripherally by a bridge or stretch of high land dividing drainage areas.

Wetlands Related:

1. Act, Wetland:  When not used in reference to a specific state or federal act, means the Wetland Conservation Act of 1991, Laws 1991, chapter 354, as amended by Laws 1993, chapter 175.

2. Activity, Wetland:  Draining or filling a wetland wholly or partially.

3. Aquaculture:  To cultivate plants and animals in water for harvest, including hydroponics and raising fish in fish farms.

4. Best Management Practices:  State-approved and published practices associated with draining, filling, or replacing wetlands that are capable of preventing and minimizing degradation of surface water and groundwater.

5. Board:  The board of water and soil resources under Minnesota Statutes, section 103B.101.

6. City:  The City of Sunfish Lake.

7. Commissioner:  The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.

8. Creation:  Construction of wetlands in an area that was not wetlands in the past.

9. Day:  Working days when used in a time period of 15 days or less and calendar days when used in a time period greater than 15 days. The day of the event shall not be used in counting any period of time.

10. Department:  The Department of Natural Resources.

11. Ditch:  An open channel to conduct the flow of water, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 103E.005, subdivision 8.

12. Drain or Wetland Drainage, Wetland: Any method for removing or diverting waters from wetlands. The methods shall include, but are not limited to, excavation of an open ditch, installation of subsurface drainage tile, filling, diking, or pumping.

13. Drainage System:  A system of ditch or tile, or both, to drain property, including laterals, improvements, and improvements of outlets.

14. Excavation:  The displacement or removal of the sediment or other materials by any method.

15. Fill, Wetland:  Any solid material added to or redeposited in a wetland that would alter its cross-section or hydrological characteristics, obstruct flow patterns, change the wetland boundary, or convert the wetland to a non- wetland. It does not include posts and pilings for linear projects such as bridges, elevated walkways, or power line structures, or structures traditionally built on pilings such as docks and boathouses. It does include posts that result in bringing the wetland into a non-aquatic use or significantly altering the  wetland's  functions and values. It does not include slash or woody vegetation, if the slash or woody vegetation originated from vegetation growing in the wetland and does not impair the flow or circulation of water or the reach of the wetland.

16. Floodplain Wetland:  A wetland located in the floodplain of a watercourse, with no well defined inlets or outlets, including tile systems, ditches, or natural  watercourses.    This may include the floodplain itself when it exhibits wetland characteristics.

17. Flow-Through Wetland:  A wetland with both a well defined outlet and one or more well defined inlets, including tile systems, ditches or natural watercourses.

18. Hydric Soils:  Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part.

19. Hydrophytic Vegetation:  Macrophytic plant life growing in water, soil, or on a substrate that is at least periodically deficient in oxygen as a result of excessive water content.

20. Impact, Wetland:  A loss in the quantity, quality, or biological diversity of a wetland caused by draining or filling.

21. Impacted Wetland:  A wetland that has been drained or filled, partially or wholly, and is subject to replacement.

22. Infrastructure:  Storm water and sanitary sewer piping, outfalls, inlets, street sub-base, roads, and ditches, culverts, bridges and any other work defined specifically by a local government unit as constituting a capital improvement.

23. Isolated Wetland:  A wetland without well defined inlets or outlets, including tile systems, ditches, or natural watercourses.

24. Landowner, Wetland:  A person or entity having the rights necessary to drain or fill a wetland, or to establish and maintain a replacement or banked wetland. Typically, the landowner is a fee title owner or a holder of an easement, license, lease, or rental agreement providing the necessary rights. The right must not be limited by a lien or other encumbrance that could override the obligations assumed with the replacement or banking of a wetland.

25. Non-Degraded Wetland:  A wetland that has not been partially drained or filled by human activities.

26. Peace Officer:  The meaning given it in Minnesota Statutes, Section 626.84.

27. Project:  An action or series of actions necessary to accomplish an ultimate purpose and that will cause a physical manipulation of the environment, directly or indirectly.  Draining or filling of wetlands may be a component of a project.

28. Project-Specific:  The applicant for the replacement plan approval will construct the replacement as part of the project, rather than obtain the replacement from a wetland bank.

29. Public Transportation Project:  A project conducted by a public agency involving transportation facilities open to the public.

30. Public Value of Wetlands:  The public benefit and use of wetlands for water quality, floodwater retention, public recreation, commercial uses, and other public uses.

31. Public Waters Wetlands:  All types 3, 4, and 5 wetlands, as defined in United States Fish and Wildlife Service Circular No. 39 (1971 edition), that were inventoried by the department as public waters under Minnesota Statutes, section 103G.201.

32. Replacement Wetland:  A wetland restored or created to replace public values lost at an impacted wetland.

33. Restoration:  Reestablishment of an area that was historically wetlands but currently provides no or minimal wetland functions due to manmade alteration such as filling or drainage.

34. Right-of-Way Acreage:  The meaning given it in Minnesota Statutes, Section 103E.285, Subdivision 6.

35. Reserved.

36. Riverine Wetland:  A wetland contained within the banks of a channel that may contain moving water or that forms a connecting link between two bodies of standing water.

37. Silviculture:  The scientific management of forest trees.

38. Soil and Water Conservation District:  A legal subdivision of state government under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 103C.

39. Soil Conservation Service:  A legal subdivision of state government under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103C.

40. Tributary Wetland:  A wetland with a well defined outlet, including tile systems, ditches, or natural watercourses, but without a well defined inlet.

41. Utility:  A sanitary sewer, storm  sewer, potable  water distribution and transmission, distribution, or furnishing, at wholesale or retail, of natural or manufactured gas, electricity, telephone, or radio service or communications.

42. Watershed:  The 81 major watershed units delineated by the map "State of Minnesota Watershed Boundaries - 1979" as produced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Office of Planning and Research, Water Policy Planning Program, with funding from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources.

43. Watershed Management Organization:  A watershed district wholly within the metropolitan area or a joint powers entity established wholly or partly within the metropolitan area by special law or by agreement that performs some or all of the functions of a watershed district for a watershed and that has the characteristics and the authority specified under Minnesota Statutes, section 103B.211. Lake improvement or conservation districts are not watershed management organizations.

44. Wetlands:  A wetland, the wetland, or wetland area.

A. Lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water.  For purposes of this sub-part, wetlands must:

(1) Have a predominance of hydric soils;

(2) Be inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions; and

(3) Under normal circumstances, support a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation.

B. A distinct hydrologic feature with characteristics of item A, surrounded by non-wetland and including all contiguous wetland types, except those connected solely by riverine wetlands. "Wetland area" means a portion of "a wetland" or "the wetland."

C. Wetlands does not include public waters wetlands and public waters that are designated on the public waters inventory maps prepared under Minnesota Statutes, section 103G.201.


Y. Yard:  An open space on the same lot with a building, unoccupied and unobstructed by any portion of a structure from the ground upward, except as otherwise provided herein.

Yard, Depth of:  The mean horizontal distance between the line of a building and the lot line.

Yard, Front:  The front yard of a lot shall be considered to be the area extending along the full length of a front lot line between side lot lines and to the depth required in the yard regulations for the district in which it is located. The front of the lot shall be that portion adjacent to a frontage road or if a private drive from a private road or public street is the means of access, it shall be that part of the lot through which access is obtained from such road.

Yard, Rear:  A space extending between the rear line of the principal building and the rear line of the lot and extending the full width of the lot.

Yard, Required:  That distance specified in the yard requirements pertaining to setbacks. Setbacks and required yards are used interchangeably.

Yard, Side:  A yard between the principal building and the side line of the lot extending from the front to the rear building lines.


Z. Zoning Amendment:  A change authorized by the City Council either in the allowed use within a district or in the boundaries of the district.

Zoning District:  An area or areas of the City (as delineated on the Zoning Map) set aside for specific uses with specific regulations and provisions for use and development as defined by this Ordinance.

Zoning District Overlay:  A zoning district containing regulations superimposed upon other zoning district regulations and superseding the underlying zoning district use regulations.

Zoning District Underlying (Base):  All zoning districts except overlay zoning districts.

Zoning Map:  The map or maps incorporated into this Ordinance as part thereof, designating the zoning districts.