Building, Construction & Demolition Permits

Building permits are required to be applied for in person by 4:00 p.m. with payment required at the time of application. APPLICATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE ON LINE. You may request an application be mailed out to you for simple projects which do not require building plans, such as reroof, reside, and windows. In these instances, we will determine the fee and you can mail in a check with the application.  Call for questions 651-213-8372. We are unable to process credit/debit card payments by phone.

Information required on an application includes, the owner's name and address, contractor's name, address, and license number, type of project (what you are building), phone number, and a site plan if you are planning a project that will impact the setbacks (such as an addition, deck, or garage).  The site plan will be required to be drawn ON THE APPLICATION and should show the distances to property lines and roads.  NOTE - Building permit applications will not be accepted for new splits/plats until the new parcel number for the lot has been created and entered by other departments into the County system.

We process permits for:

  • Townships of:  Amador, Chisago Lake, Fish Lake, Franconia, Lent, Nessel, Rushseba, Shafer, and Sunrise, and
  • Cities of:  Center City, Harris, Lindstrom, Rush City, Shafer, Stacy, and Taylors Falls.

You must apply for permits within the City of Rush City at their office.  

Applications for the City of Chisago City are available on their website and must be submitted to them.

Additional forms required for the following cities:

Center City – zoning approval form required with application – contact Center City.

Harris – zoning approval form required to be submitted for any project which may impact setbacks (deck, garage, additions).

Lindstrom – zoning approval form  required to be submitted for any project which may impact setbacks (deck,garage, additions) – survey required and impervious surface calculations for properties within 1000 feet of lakeshore.

Lent Township - zoning approval form required to be submitted for any project which may impact setbacks (deck, garage, addition). Survey is required.

City of Shafer - zoning approval form required to be submitted for any project which may impact setbacks (deck, garage, addition).  Survey may be required.

City of Stacyzoning approval form required to be submitted for any project which may impact setbacks (deck, garage, addition).  Survey may be required. 

Taylors Falls - zoning approval form required to be submitted for any project which may impact setbacks (deck, garage, additions) survey may be required.

MN Residential Building Code

Office Jurisdiction

Building Permits are required for all new construction and most remodeling, alteration and repair work in Chisago County. Demolition permits are also required. This office enforces the building code in all townships of Chisago County, as well as the cities of: Center City, Chisago City, Harris, Lindstrom, Rush City, and Shafer.

A map showing areas in which Chisago County has jurisdiction (PDF) for building permits and inspections is available for your reference. For all other areas, please call that city or township.

Application Requirements

Most projects require two sets of building plans, and fee payment. The Building Department requires a number of specific items to be submitted with an application for building permit. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. See the New Home Building Permit Checklist page for additional information.

How to Apply

Building permits are not available online. Permits may be secured from the Environmental Services Offices in Center City. Some permits may be applied for through the mail. Rush City and Chisago City residents may apply at their local city office. Due to the fact that applications are in triplicate they will not be faxed or emailed. We are open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on weekends and holidays. For questions regarding a permit please call 651-213-8372.

Building Specifications within Townships

The minimum square footage for a single family dwelling is 960 square feet on the ground floor. The minimum width for a dwelling is 20 feet. Manufactured housing (mobile homes) are allowed in Chisago County provided they meet all the same criteria as any single family dwelling. All dwellings shall be constructed on-site or prefabricated to meet these dimensional criteria. Additions to manufactured houses shall not be allowed in consideration of those dimensional criteria. Residents within city limits should check with their city office and Lent Township residents should check with the Township Clerk.

Electrical Work

The county does not issue electrical permits, or inspect and regulate electrical work. The Minnesota State Board of Electricity should be contacted at 651-284-5064 if you are doing your own wiring. The State Electrical Inspector, Mark Thoma, may be contacted for electrical inspections at 320-309-9483.Find on-line electrical permits for contractors and/or homeowners.

Foundation Requirements

All residential structures must be placed on a permanent foundation at least 42" below grade, forming a complete enclosure under the exterior walls. Manufacturer’s specifications regarding how to set specific prefabricated homes on a permanent perimeter foundation will be required.


The county does not issue permits for, nor regulate wells except for the minimum required separation from a septic system. Further information regarding water and wells may be obtained from the Minnesota Department of Health, Wells and Water Division at 651-201-4600.

Setbacks within Townships

Building setbacks vary between zoning districts except for setbacks on public roads, which are as follows:

  • Township Roads – 73 feet from the centerline of the road.
  • County and State Aid Roads – 135 feet from the centerline of the road, except Highway 8 which requires 150 feet from the right-of-way.

Please call this department at 651-213-8376 with a location of your building site, the number or name of the road, the legal description (i.e. Section, Township and Range numbers, or plat name) if you desire more complete information on specific zoning districts, such as side or rear yard setbacks, or see the Zoning Ordinance.

When property is located within a city, contact that city office for setback and zoning information.


Shoreland areas in Chisago County are classified into different categories, and have differing setbacks, minimum lot sizes, frontage requirements. Call this department for more detailed information or see the Shoreland Ordinance.


General contractors performing work in one of the townships of Chisago County are required to have a State License from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. You may contact them at 651-284-5034 with questions, or visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website. Check with individual cities to determine if a city license is required.