The Deep Dive: Changes to Carlton County Ordinance 27

The proposed updates impact new cemeteries, new and existing cervid farms and new pet kennels throughout the county.

FILE: Carlton County Transportation
The Carlton County Transportation Building.
Izabel Johnson / 2021 file / Pine Journal

THE TOPIC: Proposed changes to Carlton County Zoning Ordinance 27, which include zoning updates for commercial kennels, public cemeteries and cervid farms.

BACKGROUND: The Carlton County Planning Commission has proposed several changes to the zoning ordinance on these three issues because, according to zoning and environmental services administrator Heather Cunningham, they were "either brought up by the public and/or county board."

"The Planning Commission studied the issues and determined that these changes are the best course of action for the county," Cunningham said in an email to the Cloquet Pine Journal.

The board already approved a one-year moratorium on the creation and expansion of any new or existing cervid farms in 2022 on the recommendation of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources due to chronic wasting disease.



  • Cervid farms: New and/or expanding existing cervid farms are now prohibited under all zoning districts. Cunningham said this brings the county in line with neighboring St. Louis County and expands on the existing moratorium.
  • Commercial kennels: New commercial kennel operators now must apply for a conditional/interim use permit application and adhere to several conditions to receive approval. These include a site plan including a waste management plan; and noise management or mitigation plans, including setbacks of 100 feet from all wells, a 100-foot vegetative buffer between the kennel and any protected waters, and an encouraged 600-foot setback from the kennel and the closest residence. Additional setbacks might be imposed on kennel operational areas on a case-by-case basis upon review of the conditional/interim use permit.
  • Public cemeteries:
    • New public cemeteries are prohibited from being built on land that is zoned for industrial, R-2 recreation residential, highway commercial, and commercial use. Previously cemeteries were allowed under R-2 residential lots, but Cunningham explained that the planning commission "felt it was consistent with our comprehensive land use plan to keep these areas for residences. The county does not have a lot of area that is great for one-acre lots. Affordable housing is a county priority."
    • Cemeteries are allowed under conditional or interim use under A-2 agriculture/rural residential and A-1 agriculture/forest management districts.
    • Cemeteries also must adhere to all of the regulations set out in the Minnesota Statute Chapter 307 for private cemeteries.
    • Additionally cemeteries are subject to additional requirements: a parking lot with 50 spaces; primary access on a state or county roadway; the minimum for a newly created cemetery is 20 acres; crematoria are prohibited; and the property must have a setback of no less than 100 feet from any property line.

WHAT'S NEXT: A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, at the Carlton County Transportation Building, 1603 County Road 61 to receive public comments and consider recommendations for the amendments to the zoning ordinance.

The Deep Dive is a monthly feature produced by Cloquet Pine Journal staff. Have an idea for a topic you want us to dive into? Email

Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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