Transit Oriented Development

Preparing for Transit,
Implementing Our Vision

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is meant to create walkable, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use (housing, retail, commercial, office, etc.) communities centered around high-quality bus and train systems. 

When it was first developed, Burnsville's Heart of the City was designed to be a walkable, people-centric neighborhood with transit connections. With Metro Transit Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) coming to the area soon, the City is working on modernizing its zoning rules in the area to create a TOD zoning district.

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Tell us what you think is working and what you'd like to see improved regarding Transit Oriented Development in the Heart of the City.

Transit Oriented Development Survey

Project Goals

The following are goals of TOD zoning in the Heart of the City:

  • Modernize: Update the zoning code to reflect today’s market realities and better support transit
  • Leverage: Build upon the existing success of Heart of the City
  • Community-Supported Vision: Implement the community’s vision and priorities for the future
  • Placemaking: Provide an environment that easily supports people walking, biking and using transit in a unique and inviting place
  • Spur Investment & Development: Set the stage for additional investment and redevelopment of Heart of the City
  • User Friendly: Make the city’s zoning rules easier to understand and administer

Proposed Zoning Code Updates

1. Building and Site Design: Allow for a unique urban design and require high quality materials.

2. Mix of Uses: Support an interesting and healthy mix of residential, retail, office, public space and entertainment.

3. Residential Density: Allow for a higher concentration of people in the district than other parts of the city. 

Current Zoning District Recommended Range Future Transit Oriented Development
21.78-56.92 units per acre 20-60 units per acre 20-80+ units per acre
Ames Center lit at night
Grand Market Square building in the Heart of the City

4. Expand Boundaries of the District: Consider expansion of the original Heart of the City district to include areas north of Highway 13 (around the Burnsville Transit Station) and west of I-35W to allow property owners the ability to explore redevelopment in a transit-oriented manner centered around BRT. 

5. Clarify Roles and Procedures: Explore opportunities to lessen hurdles for development project approval, which may result in projects being approved at a city staff level rather than Planning Commission and City Council. 

6. Implement Plans for the Future: Implement strategies from the City's recently adopted comprehensive plan to ensure a future centered around safety, community enrichment, neighborhoods, development/redevelopment, environment, transportation, city services, and financial management. 

7. Create Guidelines Specific to the Unique Character of the Heart of the City: Explore district-specific regulations that will better meet the needs of Heart of the City and a transit-oriented design including for signage, parking and landscaping.

ASCENT sculpture in Nicollet Commons Park

Other Opportunities for Transit Oriented Development in Burnsville

The long-term vision for Burnsville Center imagines a redeveloped and revitalized urban village. The area could include a BRT transit station as part of a future expansion of the Orange Line. Instead of recreating the wheel, the City may one day extend the new TOD zoning district to include Burnsville Center and other areas of the city.