• Background

Two Harbors, a community of 3,700 people located along Agate and Burlington Bays on Minnesota’s Lake Superior, is the Lake County seat and the gateway to the North Shore.

Two Harbors administers its own land use ordinances including zoning, subdivision, building, and sign codes. The City contracts with ARDC to assist with its planning and zoning activities. The City Planner performs the duties of the Zoning Administrator.

Planning Initiatives in Two Harbors

2015 Comprehensive Plan Update  The Two Harbors Planning Commission recommended the City Council to approve the 2015 Two Harbors Comprehensive Plan Update in June of 2015. The council passed a resolution adopting the plan on June 23, 2015. The 2015 plan is the result of a public planning process which began in December 2014, and expands and replaces the 2011 plan.

The Comprehensive Plan set a vision for the future of Two Harbors, noting that: “Two Harbors is a true small town gateway that showcases Lake Superior and the recreational opportunities that exist in the area, which also thrives in and of itself with quality housing, jobs, and services. The City’s high quality of life and modern infrastructure attracts residents, visitors, and business and industry.”

Download the Comprehensive Plan here: Two Harbors Comprehensive Plan

Or find the Interactive Comprehensive Plan here: Two Harbors Interactive Comprehensive Plan

The 2015 Comprehensive Plan was funded in part by the Iron Range Rehabilitation and Resources Board.

2017 Two Harbors Trail System Plan Update:  The Two Harbors Trails Plan was published in 2005 and has proved an effective document guiding trail development in the City for the last decade. Changes in the community, and in funding opportunities, call for the document to be updated in a comprehensive “Master Plan” format. This Master Plan will use input from City leaders, residents, public land administrators, trail enthusiasts, and other stakeholders to describe the potential trail system and to develop a statement of overall objectives, goals, and actions. The Plan will serve as a “Master Plan” in compliance with the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, a primary potential funding partner.

Zoning Information

In the list of links below, please find references for current zoning ordinances and related zoning materials for the City of Two Harbors. A significant portion of the the lakeside area of Two Harbors (on the southern side) lies in the Shoreland Overlay Zone, which has additional zone requirements.

Maps Codes/Ordinances
Zoning Map Chapter 11: Zoning Code
Interactive Zoning Map Sign Ordinance
Off-Street Parking Ordinance
Chapter 12: Subdivision Regulations
Applications                                         Plans/Related Materials
Preliminary Plat Application Trails Plan
Conditional Use Permit Application Guide Walkability Report
Conditional Use Permit Application Safe Routes to School Plan
Variance Application Wayfinding Map
Sign Permit Application
Public Market Application
Short Term Rental Application Lodging Tax Report

Planning Commission

The Two Harbors Planning Commission is responsible, along with the City Council, for development and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, zoning code, sign code, and subdivision ordinance. The Planning Commission is charged with reviewing applications for conditional use permits, subdivisions, and planned unit developments. The Planning Commission also reviews planning and zonie issues referred to it by the City Council, City staff, and members of the public.

The Planning Commission is made up of eight citizen members and one City Council Representative. Members are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council for four year terms. Current Planning Commission members are:

Tom Koehler, Chair
Robin Glaser, City Council Representative
Steve Detlefsen
Jeff Neilson
Michelle Anderson
Shannon Kittilson
Jon Chapek
Chris Swanson
Crystal Emerson

The Planning Commission meets at 6 pm on the first Tuesday of the month in the City Council Chambers at 522 First Avenue. 

Members of the public are welcome to attend all meetings to learn about the Planning Commission’s work and to discuss issues.

Planning Commission Meeting Materials

Agendas, minutes, and reports from recent meetings will be posted below.

September 3rd, 2019

August 6th, 2019

Public Hearing information:

July 23rd, 2019

July 2nd, 2019

June 4th, 2019

May 7th, 2019

April 2nd, 2019

March 5th, 2019

  • The March Planning Commission Meeting was held jointly with the Transportation plan meeting.  More information can be found at this link.

February 5th, 2019

A public hearing was held at 7 p.m. on February 5th in the City Council Chambers to discuss the variance. Information regarding the variance is available for download below.

January 8th, 2019

December 11th, 2018

November  7th, 2018

October 9th, 2018

September 4th, 2018- No Meeting

More Information

Planning and zoning questions should be directed to Justin Otsea, City Planner. Justin works out of City Hall one day per week, usually on Tuesdays. Two Harbors City Hall is located at 522 First Avenue, Two Harbors, MN 55616.

Phone: 218-834-8833
Email: jotsea@ardc.org

Click HERE to visit the City of Two Harbors’ website