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Land Use & Zoning

When is a permit required from Land and Resource Management?

Any Structure - Defined as any building or appurtenance, including but not limited to: dwellings, decks, patios, garages (attached and detached), gazebos, houses, play houses, tree houses and sidewalks that are wider than four feet...

A Land Use Permit (commonly referred to as a building permit, or construction site permit) is required on properties located outside of city limits and Alexandria Township if you are:

  • Building a structure,
  • Moving a structure,
  • Adding onto an existing structure,
  • Remodeling or changing the footprint of the original structure,

Structural alteration including but not limited to;

  • Any excavation for footings, 
  • Foundations, 
  • Slabs,
  • Post,
  • Basements, 
  • Walls or 
  • Other parts of a structure including roof line and pitch.

A Permit is NOT required for (in most cases):

  • Re-shingling, 
  • Re-siding or 
  • Replacing windows or doors (outside of floodplain)
  • Remodeling projects that do not affect the exterior footprint.

Permit processing can take a minimum of fifteen (15) business days to be mailed out after it has been reviewed, approved and paid for. 

A land use permit issued under the terms of this ordinance (subpart 4) shall be valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance.
The project must be completed in one (1) year from the date of issuance.
A land use permit may be extended by yearly intervals in instances where reasonable diligent
construction could not complete the proposed structure.
No such time extension shall be granted if occupancy is planned before completion of the
structure unless a County approved sewage treatment system is installed and operating. (Subpart 5 of the ordinance)

Permitting procedures are relatively similar for all projects. For more information on how to obtain a permit, step-by-step instructions and what the estimated cost will be please see the following documents:

  • Procedure for Obtaining Land Use Permits and
  • Current Fee Schedule

Before applying for a land use permit, state law requires that sewers over five (5) years old be inspected or have had a compliance inspection within the past three (3) years.
Please check with our office with any additional questions or to determine if your project requires a permit. Some projects may also require a variance or conditional use permit. If you are in the city limits of Alexandria, or within two miles of the city limits, you will also need to meet the permitting and building code enforcement requirements.
Please contact the City of Alexandria at (320) 763-6678 to see if this applies to you..

How do I get a building permit?

To obtain a permit online click here or apply in person at Douglas County Land and Resource Management. You will need to bring or know:

  • A plan or drawing showing the dimensions of the lot,
  • Location of proposed structure and any other structures located on the property.
  • You will need to know the percentage of impervious coverage of your lot.
  • You will also need a building plan and names of licensed contractors that will be working on the project.
  • For more information on obtaining permits see our handouts listed above.
  • It can take up to 15 business days to issue any building permit.
  • Work may not start until the permit is received on site so please plan accordingly.

Before you start the permit process... have you checked on...?

  • Septic System Compliance
  • Contacting Gopher State One Call prior to doing any digging
  • Getting a driveway access permit for a new driveway off of a County or Township Road
  • Culverts are done through County or Townships
  • Scheduling your electrical Inspection
  • Contacting Douglas County Public Works to have an address issued, or your township for a blue 911 sign
  • Finding a contractor for your building or remodeling project


Permit Types: 

Permits can be applied for online by clicking on the links below (if they are underlined and blue)  or in the office. 

  • Land Use Permit
  • Shoreland Permits
  • Conditional Use Permits
  • Variance
  • Sign Permit
  • Septic (Must be applied for in person, or application can be mailed out)
  • Preliminary Plats
  • Metes and Bounds Subdivision (Must be applied for in person, or application can be emailed out) and
  • Common Property Line Adjustment (Must be applied for in person, or application can be emailed out)