Decks and Platforms
Shoreland
St. Louis County Land-Use Permits

About Decks and Platforms

Decks and platforms are similar structures, which have different performance standards outlined in St. Louis County's Zoning Ordinance #46. You must obtain a land- use permit prior to constructing a deck but not a platform.
Information on permit applications and fees are available from the Planning Department. Performance standards include the following:


Attached Decks
An Attached Deck is defined as a horizontal, unenclosed platform that is attached to or functionally related to a home, cabin or other structure. An attached deck may not have a roof, extended soffit or walls, but may have railings, seats, or other related features.
A screened or enclosed deck is considered an addition and must meet the performance standards for additions. They are not allowed within the minimum allowed set-back.
If you are building a new home or cabin and would like an enclosed deck on the lake side, consider placing your home further back than the minimum setback to allow room for construction of an enclosed or screened deck addition. See brochure on "Additions" for more information on performance standards.


Additional Standards for a Deck attached to a Nonconforming Home/Cabin

A nonconforming principal structure, such as a home or cabin, does not meet the performance standards set out in the zoning ordinance. You may construct an attached deck addition for a nonconforming home or cabin, as long as all of the following performance standards are met.

Deck addition towards the shoreline:
  • Stairs and landings are considered part of the attached deck
  • Maximum depth -12 feet
  • The distance between the deck and the ordinary high water level is less than 50 percent of the required setback for the zone district, see page 3
Deck addition on the side and no closer to the shoreline:
  • Stairs and landings are considered part of the attached deck
  • If within the shore impact zone, maximum depth - 12 feet
  • If outside the shore impact zone, maximum depth - 16 feet
  • The distance between the deck and the ordinary high water level is less than 50 percent of the required setback for the zone district, see page 3
Deck additions to the rear:
  • If within the shore impact zone, maximum depth - 16 feet
Detached Decks
A detached deck is defined as a horizontal, unenclosed platform that is freestanding and greater than 18 inches in height at any point. It may not have a roof, extended soffit or walls but may have railings, seats, or other related features and must meet the following performance standards if the deck is within the shore or bluff impact zone:
  • Maximum size - 150 square feet
  • Maximum height from ground to top of railing - 12 feet
  • Painted/stained an unobtrusive color
  • Screening provided by having a buffer of natural vegetation between the shoreline and the detached deck
  • There are no other accessory structures or satellite dishes located within the shore impact zone
Platforms
A platform is a freestanding, horizontal surface that is no more than 18 inches in height at any point and does not have rails, seats or other elevated features. You do not need a land use permit to construct a platform as long as all of the following performance standards are met:
  • Maximum size - 120 square feet
  • Maximum height - 18 inches
  • Minimum setback from high water level - 10 feet
  • Is not located within a bluff impact zone
Natural Vegetation Importance
Natural vegetation, including trees, shrubs and ground cover, is important to your lake's water quality. It acts to filter natural and man made pollutants from rainwater runoff. When trees and other natural vegetation are removed and replaced by buildings or grass, a gap is created in the lake's natural filter. This increases the amount of pollutants in the rain- water draining into the lake and over time will impact the lake's water quality. See the Planning Department's "Land Alteration and Vegetation Removal Brochure" for more details.

Land-Use & Dimensional Standards
The St. Louis County Zoning Ordinance divides the county into both land-use districts (e.g. Residential: RES, Shoreline Mixed-Use: SMU) and dimensional districts (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.). Refer to table below.
Identify your land-use and dimensional district in the accompanying table as a starting point for project planning. Be aware that there may be circumstances that alter dimensional standards for your property.
Special Circumstances
Within the ordinance, there are many circumstances that may stipulate varying setbacks for your proposed project(s). Examples include: lots created prior to 1993, non-conforming lots of record, size of proposed structure, locations near bluffs, rock outcrop, rivers, streams, lakes, shore impact zones, wetlands, and others.
Please contact the Planning Department to identify your specific land-use and dimensional district, and any special standards required for your property prior to designing your project.


Land-Use & Dimensional Standards
Setbacks, Height Limitations, Minimum Acres, and More
Land-Use
District
Dimensional
District
Lot Area
Acres
Lot Width
Frontage
Max. Lot
Coverage
Side Yard
Rear Yard
Max Height
Shoreland & Residential
Zone Districts
Prindipal
Accessory
Prindipal
Accessory
FAM
1
35
600'
2%
100'
100'
100'
100'
35'
1a
35
1200'
2%
100'
100'
100'
100'
MUNS
2
17
600'
2%
100'
100'
100'
100'
3
9
300'
2%
50'
25'
100'
500'


The information provided in this brochure is a general guideline and does not cover every situation. Please contact the St. Louis County Planning Department regarding unique aspects of your property.




Dale Lundblad, Associate BrokerB.I.C. Realty
Hwy. 53 and River St.P.O. Box 1165Cook, MN 55723
(218) 666-5352
e-mail