Saint Paul Minnesota logo

Updates on Definition of ‘Family’ in Saint Paul Zoning Code

Until recently, the City of Saint Paul restricted the number of unrelated adults who could live in one residential unit by enforcing an outdated definition of “family” in its Zoning Code, defining family as:

Family. One (1) or two (2) persons or parents, with their direct lineal descendants and adopted or legally cared for children (and including the domestic employees thereof) together with not more than two (2) persons not so related, living together in the whole or part of a dwelling comprising a single housekeeping unit. Every additional group of four (4) or fewer persons living in such housekeeping unit shall be considered a separate family for the purpose of this code.

However, this past fall, the City of Saint Paul considered changing that definition to be more inclusive of modern concepts of family.

Sustain Saint Paul testified to the Planning Commission in favor of changing this outdated and potentially discriminatory language, arguing that doing so would allow Saint Paulites the ability to determine for themselves what family means to them. Such a change would also fit within Sustain Saint Paul’s overall mission of legalizing more types of housing for more types of people.

Thankfully, the Planning Commission agreed with our assessment and recommended to the City Council a new and much simpler definition of “household” instead:

Household.  Six (6) or fewer adults and minor children in their care, living together in a dwelling unit.

This matter is now before the City Council, who must formally approve the change.