Community Planning & Zoning

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission consists of a seven-member board of citizens appointed by the City Council. Commissioners must be City residents to be appointed and commit to serve three-year rotating terms. Meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 7 pm. If the meeting date falls on a legal holiday, the meetings are moved to the second Tuesday.

Land Use

The City of Buffalo provides for the regulation of land use activities in an effort to create and maintain a high quality of life in our community.
The Planning Commission reviews most initial land use applications.  Once they have formulated a recommendation, it is presented to the City Council at their regular meeting, typically on the third Monday of the month. Council makes the final disposition on any request. 

Land Use Application (PDF) covers many different things including Conditional Use, Variance, Zoning Amendment, and general development items. Development fees are calculated according to the Master Fee Schedule (PDF) on page 4.

Conditional Use Permits (CUP)

A conditional use permit is a document the City issues to allow a conditional use when the applicant meets the general and specific ordinance standards. The permit allows the use ONLY if the applicant addresses the standards set forth in the zoning ordinance. The purpose is to provide the City with a reasonable degree of discretion in determining the suitability of certain designated uses upon the general welfare, public health, and safety of the residents. Generally, the Planning Commission initially considers Conditional Use Permits. In doing so, many factors considered may include the following, but are not limited to: the nature of the adjoining land or buildings; the effect upon traffic into and/or from the premises, or on any adjoining roads; and any other factors. 


A variance is often sought by a land owner when it is desired to vary from ordinance standards. A variance may be approved only in instances where the strict enforcement of the ordinance would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to the individual property under consideration. The City grants such variances only when it is demonstrated that such actions will be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the ordinance.

Special Home Occupation

Special Home Occupation (PDF) Allows for you to operate your home-based business inside your residence.

Planting Requirements in New Subdivisions

There are many new homes in Buffalo and most of them came with the front yards sodded or planted. It is City of Buffalo code and a requirement found in all subdivision development agreements that the lot shall be sodded with suitable lawn grasses from the front curb line to the rear building line on both sides of the structure within one year of the occupancy of the home. Also, two trees meeting minimum city standards must be planted within that one year time period in the front yard unless otherwise specified otherwise within the subdivision development agreement or subdivision landscape plan.

City Code specifies the type and size of trees required. You can also obtain a copy of the development agreement and landscape plan for your subdivision by calling the city offices at 763-682-1181.

Most property owners have already complied with the above requirements. There are others, however, that have not done the required minimum improvements. The City of Buffalo will be actively enforcing the subdivision requirements this summer, and will be notifying those homeowners that fail to meet the minimum requirements. 

Are Tarp Garages Allowed in the City of Buffalo?

The City of Buffalo would like to inform the residents that all tarp garages are considered temporary buildings and do not meet zoning and building code requirements. Therefore, the City would like to notify the residents that the use of tarp garages is prohibited by the City of Buffalo. Often times, these temporary buildings are put up for temporary use, but remain on properties for long periods of time, eventually becoming permanent. The City would like to avoid this situation and that is why we are bringing this to your attention now.

Out of courtesy to neighbors and in the best interest of property values within our community, the City would appreciate your cooperation in this situation to help keep the City of Buffalo looking at its best.

  1. David Kelly

    David Kelly

    Community Planning & Economic Development Director

  2. Brenda Smith

    Planning Assistant
    Phone: 763-682-1181