Frequently Asked Questions
Need to report a broken street light? Is there a stray dog roaming your neighborhood? Do you just want a question about the City of Minneapolis answered? Minneapolis 311 can help.
Just call 3∙1∙1 weekdays from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM and a 311 agent will assist you. If you are outside the Minneapolis city limits or are unable to dial 311, you can reach 311 by dialing (612)673-3000. For TTY/TDD customers please dial (612) 673-2157.
Abandoned Cars - "The same car has been parked on my block for several days. What can I do about it?"
Traffic Control is responsible for all issues related to cars parked on City streets. If you call Traffic Control at (612) 673-5300 about an abandoned car, an agent will come out and mark the car. If the car hasn't moved after 72 hours, Traffic Control will tag the vehicle and order a tow.
The City of Minneapolis' impound lot oversees towing contracts that tow the vehicles away. If you have questions about cars that have already been towed, call the Impound Lot at (612) 673-5777
Boats/Trailers - My neighbor leaves his boat in the street all the time. Can he do that?
My boat was in the street and disappeared – I called the City and found out it was towed. Why?
Can my neighbor leave his big storage unit in the street all summer?
Several times each year, our office receives the above questions. Some residents believe boats, trailers, storage units, and dumpsters are a negative impact on the neighborhood – particularly if there is a shortage of parking on that block. Many other residents feel that putting their boat or storage unit in front of their house is like storing it in the driveway.
Since we receive inquiries about these items – and often from people upset that their boat has been towed or because they have to move the dumpster, we would like to make residents aware of the rules regarding boats, trailers, dumpsters, and storage containers on public streets.
Boats/Trailers: If a boat or other trailer is attached to a working, licensed vehicle, it may be left on the street. However, if a homeowner leaves the car and trailer on the street for several days without ever moving, and it is reported to the City, Traffic Control can ticket or tow the car if it isn’t moved within 72 hours of the tires being chalked by a Traffic Control agent (this applies to cars without trailers as well).
If the trailer is not attached to a vehicle, it may not be stored on a public street – and is subject to an immediate tow by Traffic Control or the police.
This prohibition is in place to ensure safety and keep the streets open for use by cars. If our office receives a report of an unattached trailer, we are obligated to report it to Traffic Control. So, please store your boats and trailers on your property.
Therefore, dumpsters and storage units are allowed in the street for a limited amount on time – if a permit is obtained from the City’s Building Permit office.
Dumpsters are allowed up to 90 days, with a street use permit.
Storage units are allowed for up to 7 days, with a street use permit.
Beyond these time periods, dumpsters and storage units must be confined to the user’s property – or they will be ordered removed.
So, we encourage you to place these items on your property for the duration of your project. For storage units, many services offer off-site storage. If you must put the dumpster or storage in the street – make sure you or your contractor obtains a permit and make sure you remove the item as soon as the permit expires.
Call Solid Waste customer service and they will help correct the problem. Their phone number is (612) 673-2917. Click on Solid Waste and Recycling to learn more about polices and practices.
Graffiti has sky rocketed in the 7th Ward. The most important thing you can do if victimized by graffiti is to clean it up as soon as possible. The long graffiti is visible, the more likely the area is to be victimized by more graffiti.
City inspections allows several days to clean up the graffiti once it is noticed by housing inspectors, however, the longer graffiti is visible, the greater the likelihood of crime happening in the area as a result. Please be as proactive as possible in addressing graffiti. Visit the City's Graffiti Prevention web page for tips on preventing graffiti on your property.
If you are victimized by graffiti, call the Graffiti Hotline at (612) 673-2090 to report graffiti vandalism to the police. You can also report graffiti online.
Housing Regulations - A house in my neighborhood has grass over a foot tall. Don’t they have to mow?
If you ever have a question that you believe relates to housing regulations such as yard maintenance, multiple cars on a property, or others call Housing Inspections at (612) 673-5858 with your concern. You can also make a request for a housing inspection on the City website. They will refer the matter to the appropriate Housing Inspector who will investigate and resolve the issue as appropriate.
All Minneapolis parks come under the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, a separate government entity. The Park Board staff can be contacted at (612) 673-4875.
The elected Park Board is comprised of a board of 6 district and 3 at-large commissioners. For Ward 7, Tracy Nordstrom is our district commissioner.
For more information on why your property taxes are rising and where they are going visit the City Assessor’s Office.
The rules for recreational fires were recently updated to meet the international fire code adopted several years ago by the City of Minneapolis.
It remains legal to have a recreational fire to burn material for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warming or similar purposes. This also includes portable freestanding fire places and chimneys. These fires must be kept smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. In addition, fires must be at least 25 feet from a structure and have surrounding fire barrier of non-combustible material at least six inches high.
Other conditions for having a recreational fire apply. Only unpainted wood (not been treated with chemicals or preservatives), coal or charcoal can be burned. Burning of rubbish is prohibited. Buckets, shovels, garden hoses or a fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating must be readily available for use at recreational fires. Also, every recreational fire has to be attended by a competent person 18 years of age or older and completely extinguished before leaving the scene. Fires can only be conducted between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and when wind conditions do not exceed 10 mph. The Minneapolis Fire Chief, Chief of Police, Fire Prevention Bureau, Fire fighters, or officer of the police department can enforce these provisions through appropriate administrative and legal remedies, including issuance of a citation.
If you are concerned that a neighbor is violating the standards for a recreational fire, please contact 911.
Read more about the Recreational Fire Ordinance (pdf).
The City of Minneapolis requires that all rental property in the City be licensed. Under certain conditions the City can revoke a rental license, effectively shutting down the property. The most common reason for revocation of a rental license is disorderly use of rental property or Conduct on Premises. The types of activity that trigger a rental license revocation include: gambling, prostitution, drug dealing, noisy assemblies, and unlawful possession, sale or use of a weapon. Your SAFE Crime Prevention Specialist is responsible for working with the City Attorney’s Office and Housing Inspections to begin the revocation procedure. Licenses may be revoked include extreme housing code violations. To find out if a property has a current rental license (which it must in order to operate) call (612) 673-5858.
The Minneapolis Public Schools are under the independent jurisdiction of the Minneapolis School Board. You can call the Public Schools at (612) 668-0000 (TTY 668-0001) or visit them online at www.mpls.k12.mn.us. The website has a variety of resources to help you learn more about the public schools, including information about the School Board, Superintendent, and each school in the City.
Sidewalks and Snow Shoveling - "People are walking in the street, because some of the homeowners in my neighborhood haven't shoveled their sidewalks. What can be done about it?"
Property owners in Minneapolis are required by City ordinance to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalks adjacent to their properties.
Business/commercial property owners have to clear their sidewalks and/or put down salt or sand within four hours after snow or freezing rain has stopped falling. Residential owners have 24 hours to shovel snow and/or mitigate ice.
If you have concerns about a sidewalk near you, please call 311 to report the location. They will forward it to Public Works for resolution. Also, contact 311 if you have any questions about damaged sidewalks.
Learn more about the stormwater management fee and the credit program.
Street cleaning occurs throughout the non-snow season. However, residents need to be especially aware of the two major cleaning operations in the spring and fall.
Public Works conducts a comprehensive, citywide sweep of all streets and alleys each spring, from early April through mid-May, in order to pick up the winter sand and other debris that collects over the winter. There is another comprehensive sweep and leaf collection of all streets (but not alleys) in the fall. This occurs from mid to late October to mid November (unless interrupted by significant snowfalls).
In order to provide the desired curb-to-curb cleaning for these operations, temporary signs to restrict parking are posted a day in advance, and parking restrictions are aggressively enforced with tagging and towing. During the rest of the season, Public Works actively sweeps streets on a rotational basis, with special emphasis in the Chain-of-Lakes watershed areas. Residents are not required to move their vehicles for these operations, except on the rare occasions where they require more complete sweeping. Temporary parking restriction signs would be posted in advance.
There is some schedule rotation that occurs for the comprehensive Spring and Fall sweeps so that the same areas are not always first or last. For instance, if a particular neighborhood could not be swept in the Fall because of early snow, all attempts would be made to put these streets near the top of the list for the Spring sweep. There are many factors that come into play for scheduling so it is difficult to predict very far in advance when a particular street will be swept. In general, people should be aware of the existence of the two major sweep events during the Spring and Fall, and watch for the signs.
If you have a particular need to know when your street may be cleaned, visit the street sweeping information page.
Please note that it is a violation of City ordinances to rake leaves into the street. Leaves raked into the street will create significant public safety, flooding, and pollution problems. The proper disposal method is to bag all your leaves, including from the boulevard, and put them out with your solid waste collection. The schedule for yard waste pick-up can be obtained from Solid Waste at (612) 673-2917.
There are over 35,000 street lights in the City of Minneapolis, and Public Works needs your help to replace the burned out lights. To report street light problems, please notify Public Works.
Traffic Calming - Speeding keeps increasing on my block. Can we get speed humps and more stop signs?
Requests for traffic calming devices are among the most frequent requests received in my office. When received, we refer the request to the Transportation division of Public Works. They study the situation and report if changes to the current engineering are or are not recommended.
Their recommendations are based on well-established standards that measure traffic volume, speed, and accidents, as well as pedestrian volume. In most situations, no changes are recommended. In other situations, the solution may require neighborhood funding.
Stop sign installation, in addition to the standards used, is based on a city ordinance -- the Minneapolis Stop Sign Policy. Under this policy, there is a plan for the entire City and the ordinance does not allow for exceptions.
Trucks - "I frequently hear loud trucks coming near my home. I thought trucks were supposed to stay on large roads. What are the rules for trucks and what can I do if I see a truck on the wrong road?"
There are two types of designated truck routes that regulate where trucks of different sizes may travel.
Trucks over 10 tons (20,000 lbs. per axle)
3 to 9 Ton
Trucks between 3 and 9 tons (6,000 to 18,000 lbs. per axle)
Note: To determine whether a truck meets the standards for the above truck routes, you must compare gross weight in pounds marked on the truck to the above numbers. Some trucks may cite their gross weight versus axle weight. Dividing the gross weight by the number of axles determines the per axle weight for truck routes.
Trucks over 3 tons must use the appropriate truck routes for as much of their travel as practical. They may divert to other streets for the last few blocks to reach their final destination. A diversion onto non-truck route streets is determined by the driver based on turning restrictions, on-street parking, and the approach direction to the destination. Trucks under 3 tons (UPS two-axle delivery truck, for example) may use any city street.
Many of the trucking companies use smaller, short haul trucks to make deliveries in the city, because large semi trucks often have trouble making turns on city streets. However, some semis do continue to deliver in the city.
If you can identify and provide the trucking company, license plate, and/or its destination call Minneapolis Traffic Control (612) 335-5932 (or 311).
Except for Park Board property (parkway) it should be reported to the Park Board (612) 230-6400.
Also, businesses are not allowed to receive overnight deliveries in any residentially zoned and used area unless they are doing such within an insulated building. Therefore, you should not hear trucks idling and making deliveries between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am. Loud, late-night deliveries in your neighborhood should be reported to Environmental Management at (612) 673-5897.
Winter Parking Restrictions - "How do I know where to park during Snow Emergencies?"
The City's Public Works and Communications departments communicate to residents in a variety of ways when a Snow Emergency has been declared:
348-SNOW hotline. The recorded message is updated frequently and includes parking information car owners need.
City Website - www.minneapolismn.gov . The website has a number of resources about snow emergencies:
1. Parking Status Icon. On the homepage, throughout the winter, residents will find an icon on the left side of the City homepage which notifies residents about the current status - snow emergency or normal parking. If winter parking restrictions are put into effect - in the event heavy snow fall raises concerns about the ability of emergency vehicles to access residential streets - that will also be posted on the home page.
2. Minneapolis Snow Season Parking Information page . This page on the City website has any information you may want about Minneapolis' snow season including snow emergency regulations, parking status, Snoases, and tips about shoveling and plowing.
3. Email Notification Sign-Up . Sign up here if you would like to receive an email whenever a snow emergency is declared. This page can also be accessed from the Minneapolis Snow Season Parking Information page.
4. "I just heard on the radio that parking around the city has been limited to one side of the street until April. Why?"
Certain years, the snowfall is so heavy and frequent that, even with regular plowing, the piles of snow begin to encroach into parking lanes, and parked cars in turn begin to encroach into driving lanes. When the streets get too narrow as a result of this encroachment, it can be impossible or difficult for emergency vehicles - fire trucks and ambulances - to get down the streets.
As a result, to ensure public safety, the City declares winter parking restrictions. On non-snow emergency routes, parking on the street is restricted to one side. The side where parking is banned changes from year to year and will be announced when the restrictions are declared.
Winter Parking Restrictions are announced through the local radio and television stations. Also, an icon announcing the restrictions will be placed on the left side of the City home page - www.MinneapolisMn.gov.
Television and Radio - when a snow emergency is declared, Twin Cities radio and television stations are notified and announce the declaration.
Snow Emergency Information Brochure - In November, the City will mail all homes in the city a copy of this year's snow emergency regulations.
Please remember, when clearing your sidewalks, yard paths or driveway, don't shovel or blow snow into streets or alleys. In addition to making driving in the road or alley more difficult for your neighbors, it is a violation of City ordinances.
Variances - "The contractor building my new garage says I need a variance before I can build. What is it and how do I get it?"
A variance is an authorization to depart from the general requirements of the City's zoning regulations. For example, zoning regulations govern how large a garage you may build and where on your property it may be located. Variances to these and other types of zoning regulations may be granted where strict adherence would cause undue hardship due to circumstances unique to the property.
Receiving a variance involves completing an application, satisfying applicable legal requirements, and holding a public hearing. For complete information and application procedures, please contact the Zoning Department at (612) 673-5836.
Ward 7 Neighborhoods - "I'd like to get more involved in my neighborhood. How do I contact my neighborhood association?"
Neighborhood associations are always looking for new ideas and volunteers, please consider getting involved with yours.
Ward 7 Neighborhood Associations
Bryn Mawr Neighborhood
404 Thomas Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Cedar Isle Dean Neighborhood
P.O. Box 16270
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood
528 Hennepin Ave Suite 310
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Elliot Park Neighborhood
719 S 10th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404
P.O. Box 300007
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Loring Park Neighborhood
430 Oak Grove St. Suite 117
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Lowery Hill Neighborhood
P.O. Box 300121
Minneapolis, MN 55403
North Loop Neighborhood
P.O. Box 582178
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2178
Who do I contact? Call Solid Waste customer service and they will help correct the problem. Their phone number is (612) 673-2917. See Yard Waste Collection to learn more.
Last updated Apr 28, 2014