Housing Resources Guide
Business Directory
Published 2006

Building a house in a city

By Lynda Jensen

The boom of building new houses is rippling through local cities, where new residential construction abounds.

Those interested in building inside city limits will find a variety of rules and regulations to be followed, depending on the city.

The first step is to contact city administration to apply for appropriate building permits.

Licensed general contractors usually handle local building codes and fees.

The process generally begins at the city planning and zoning office, which reviews the information and recommends a course of action for the city council to take.

The city council, not planning and zoning, holds the authority over whether a project is approved or denied; which is a standard of all cities.

Each city keeps its own requirements that are similar in scope, but differ in specific requirements.

For Winsted, the process includes the following, which is a general outline:

· staking of building on lot prior to excavation, marked with stakes or string.

· inspection of poured footings

· rough-in plumbing inspection

· sump/pump baskets must be secured (it is illegal to install a sump pump into the sanitary sewer system)

· insulation inspection

· framing inspection

· final plumbing (requires manometer testing)

· mechanical and plumbing inspection

· final inspection on building (before occupancy)

A certificate of occupancy is furnished upon meeting all the above requirements.

A permit is also required for driveways. The curb must be saw cut (not chiseled or chopped) out, and curb and gutter must be replaced at the existing joint. The sloped of the gutter must be maintained at the same elevation and angle as the existing gutter.

For Howard Lake, many of the same requirements apply.

For Waverly, building projects require two sets of plans, energy calculations, and a site plan or survey showing the position of the structure in proportion to the lot lines on the property.

Lester Prairie requires an expense plan, two sets of construction plans, and the layout of the project in its application process.

There are also a number of fees that apply, such as sewer and water tap-in fees.

Four cities ­ Howard Lake, Winsted, Waverly and Montrose ­ share the same building inspector, Metro West, and use a standard form for building permits.

General information needed includes property lot lines, lot dimensions, location and ground coverage, area of existing structures and location of proposed structure.

Setbacks are also to be calculated, and if they exceed the standard number, a variance must be applied for through the city planning and zoning.

Most cities require copies of site plans and other information to be available on site during construction.


Those interested in building should contact the following cities for more information:

Howard Lake (320) 543-3670

Winsted (320) 485-4392

Waverly (763) 658-4217

Lester Prairie (320) 395-2646

Montrose (763) 675-3717