Focus on New Laws: Intermediate Care Facilities in Single-Family Residential Areas

July 11, 2022

Cities must allow increased capacity for one year for certain types of residential services permitted as single-family residential use.

A new law requires cities to temporarily allow increased capacity for certain residential care facilities in areas zoned for single-family residential use.

The new requirement was enacted as part of the 2022 omnibus health and human services policy bill (Chapter 98). It amends Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.11, subdivision 2. The requirement is effective from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023.

Requirements of the law

Under the new law, licensed residential care services provided to more than four people with developmental disabilities in a supervised living facility, including in an intermediate care facility for people with developmental disabilities, are allowed as a permitted single-family residential use.

An intermediate care facility for people with developmental disabilities is a residential facility that:

  • Is licensed as a health care institution and certified by the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Provides health or rehabilitative services for people who require active treatment for developmental disabilities.

These providers are now permitted to have a licensed capacity of seven to eight people. Previously, these types of facilities were only allowed a capacity of six people.

However, if a city, town, or county zoning regulation is already in place that prohibits this type of facility as a single-family residential use, then it does not have to permit this use.

Potential local limitations

A city or other zoning authority may require a conditional use or special use permit to assure proper maintenance and operation of the residential program.

Conditions imposed on the residential program must not be more restrictive than those imposed on other conditional uses or special uses of residential property in the same zones. However, conditions may be more restrictive if necessary to protect the health and safety of the people being served by the program.

Legislative intent

The intent of the new law is to allow for more economies of scale in these settings, given the ongoing workforce shortage being faced by disability service providers.

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