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  Property, GIS, & Land Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The Scott County website provides residents with online mapping and zoning district reference information.


FAQ Index:


Property Questions

Zoning Questions


General Questions


Property Questions

  • I haven’t changed anything, why do you have to come in my house?
    State statute requires the assessor to physically review 20% of all property each year. This results in the assessor visiting your neighborhood once every five years. The assessor is verifying that the currently existing information is accurate, and checking for any changes that may have been made to the property. Having accurate property information is critical when valuing and classifying property and contributes to a fair and equitable assessment for everybody.

  • My permit was already closed, why do you need to look at my property again?
    The “building inspector” ensures that everything was completed to code and signs off on permits. The “assessor” must review the property to see if there was an impact to the property value due to the changes that were made. If the assessor determines that there is added value you will see the exact dollar amount on your following valuation notice, which is mailed in or around March each year. The added value is listed under “Value of New Improvements” on that notice.

  • What if I don’t let the assessor inside my house?
    It is your right to decline an interior inspection. The assessor will then make reasonable estimations regarding the property’s interior finish and quality. If you disagree with the resulting valuation the local board of review is not allowed to make any changes in your favor until you allow the assessor to inspect the property.

  • Are Property Estimated Market Valuation increases limited to 15%?
    No. There is not a limit on how much an Estimated Market Value of a property can increase or decrease. There used to be program that restricted how much the Limited Market Value (LMV) or Taxable Market Value (TMV) could increase from the previous year. That program sunset for taxes payable in 2010.

  • Can my Estimated Market Value change even if the assessor has not been inside my property?
    Yes. The assessor keeps records on the physical characteristics of each property in the County. Even thought the assessor may have been unable to go through your property, the Estimated Market Value will still be reviewed based on the existing records and/or sales of similar property.

  • Does the Estimated Market Value increase at the same rate on all properties?
    No, it does not. There are differences between individual properties and between neighborhoods. In one area the sales may indicate a large increase in value in a given year. In another neighborhood there may be very little or no change in value. Different types of property within the same neighborhood may show different value changes. There are numerous factors to be considered in each property, which will cause value changes to differ. Some of the factors that can affect value are location, condition, size, quality of construction, the number of baths, basement finish, garages, and many others.

  • How are my Real Estate taxes determined?
    Taxing jurisdictions such as the county, schools, cities, and townships, adopt their levy after public hearings. The levies are certified to the County Auditor who then calculates the tax rates. The taxes you pay are proportionate to your estimated market value and use classification of your property as observed by the Assessor’s Office.

  • How can I judge the accuracy and fairness of my value and classification?
    The assessor who estimates the value and classifies your property should be your first contact if you have questions or want more information. If you are not sure who your assessor is, you can follow this link: Scott County Assessors. Your assessor can review your parcel records with you, review local sales activity, and general market trends.

  • How do I get my land surveyed?
    Property owners may contact a surveyor by checking the local phone listings. 

  • How is market value ESTIMATED?
    The assessor visits your property to record the existence and character of improvements that contribute to its market value. The assessor collects sales information on all types of property, and studies characteristics such as location, size of the parcel, improvements and amenities that affect what buyers would pay for your property. Local sales will impact local values. The assessor uses actual sales of similar properties in your neighborhood to estimate what buyers would pay for your property. (A single sale does not make a market.)

  • What can I do if I think the Estimated Market Value is too high?
    You are encouraged to first contact your Assessor’s Office and discuss the assessment with the appraiser for your property. You have the right to appeal the estimated market value. The methods of appeal are detailed on the back page of your estimated market valuation notice also known as your Valuation and Classification notice that is mailed to all property owners around March.

  • What factors affect my property taxes?
    There are a number of items that affect your property taxes. The following are those that traditionally have had the largest impacts:
    • Changes to the tax levy (amount of money requested by taxing jurisdictions for operations) made by the city, county, school district or special taxing districts.
    • Changes to the market value estimate of you property.
    • Changes in the market values for the area or a particular type of property.
    • Legislative changes to the property classification rates, state aid formulas and other tax laws.
    • Legislative unfunded mandates (usually seen as an increase in local government tax levy)
    • New taxes approved by referendum.

  • What is a Property Identification Number (PIN)?
    It is a unique number assigned to each piece of real estate. The PIN, also known as Parcel Number or Parcel Identification Number, is printed on the Property Tax Statement, the Valuation Notice, Proposed Tax Statement, and various other documents related to real estate taxation or assessment.

  • What is Classification?
    Classification is a definition of how the property is USED, determined by its ownership and use. Classifications such as residential, seasonal, commercial and agricultural describe the primary use of a property, and affect the amount of property tax paid. By state law, various classes of property are taxed at different rates. For example, two neighboring homes of equal value will be taxed at different rates if one is homestead and one is a non-homestead property. Class rates are created and defined by the Minnesota State Legislature.

  • What is Estimated Market Value (EMV)?
    It is the most probable price, as of a specified date, in cash, or in terms equivalent to cash, or in other precisely revealed terms, for which the specified property rights should sell after a reasonable exposure in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to fair sale, with the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably, and for self-interest, and assuming that neither is under undue duress. In summary, market value is the price that would tend to prevail under typical, normal, competitive open market conditions.

  • What is the responsibility of the Assessor in the property tax system?
    County assessors estimate property market values and classify them according to their use for property tax purposes. Each year the assessor reviews the market valuation of your property to determine if changes in the real estate market require a change in the estimated market value. Minnesota law requires that assessors actually view each parcel of real estate every five years to appraise its market value. In addition, each year the appraiser inspects parcels with new construction, alterations or improvements.

  • What will happen to my Estimated Market Value if I improve my property?
    Generally speaking, improvements that increase the market value of a property will increase the assessor’s Estimated Market Value.

  • Where is the Assessor's Office?
    The Assessor's Office is located within Property and Taxation Services on the main level of the Scott County Government Center at 200 4th Ave W., Shakopee MN 55379.

  • Who determines my property tax?
    There are three entities that have a role in determining your property tax. The State Legislature establishes property classes and class rates, the state determines levels of state aid to local units of government, sets the amount of homestead credit, sets the State Tax Rate and mandates unfunded programs to local government. Local units of government determine their tax levy amount. The county assessor assigns each property a market value estimate and property use classification as provided by state statute. The property tax is the result of actions taken by all three entities (the State Legislature, Local Governments and the County Assessor).

  • How do I apply for the Homestead classification?
    To have the homestead classification applied to your property, all property owners and spouses must fill out a homestead application. You must own and occupy the property on December 1 and the application is due by December 15 to be eligible for the homestead classification for taxes payable in the following year. To learn more about the different homestead classifications and obtain an application click here.
    You may also come into the government center in person to fill out the homestead application. If doing so, make sure all owners and spouses are present to fill out and sign the application.

  • Who Qualifies for Homestead?
    To qualify for the homestead classification you must:
    • occupy the property as your primary residence
    • be one of the owners of the property or a relative
    • be a Minnesota resident

  • Why does the Assessor's office exist?
    In Minnesota, property taxes provide most of the funding for local government services. Each property’s share of the property tax burden is determined according to its VALUE and USE. The Assessor’s Office collects, tabulates and updates property data annually for further county calculations. The dollar amount required to cover operating expenses of local governments is levied by each township, city, school district or county to pay for services required by local citizens. This translates into an annual property tax bill due and payable for each individual property.

  • Why has my value gone up?
    Property values are based on the typical sales prices which fluctuate with general market conditions such as the general economy, property locations, supply and demand, demographic changes, and changes in tax laws. By Minnesota state laws, as property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected in the assessor’s Estimated Market Values.

  • Why is the tax amount for the current year on my tax statement different than what was shown on the Notice of Proposed Taxes that I received in November?
    The Notice of Proposed tax or Truth in Taxation ("TNT") is an estimate. They may differ for any of the following reasons:
    • Referendums could have passed, increasing your tax
    • Property owners may have filed for homestead classification after the Notice of Proposed Taxes were mailed and before the current year taxes were calculated.
    • Taxing jurisdictions may have lowered their tax levy. Although not a tax, special assessments and other charges may be billed on the tax statement. These charges do not appear on the Notice of Proposed Taxes.

  • Will my Estimated Market Value go up if I repair my property?
    Good maintenance will help retain the market value of your property. Generally, your Estimated Market Value will not be increased for individual minor repairs such as those that follow. However, a combination of several of these items could result in an increase in your Estimated Market Value.
    • Repairing or replacing roof
    • Repairing porches or steps
    • Repairing original siding
    • Painting/decorating
    • Replacing plumbing or electrical fixtures

  • What type of payment do you accept?
    Cash or check (no credit or debit cards).

  • How do I find lot sizes/dimensions?
    In the Land Records area, go to Plat/RLS/CIC Search. Enter the first word of the plat. That will give you a list of plats that begin with that word. If the list is long, you may need to scroll down to see the one you need. Click on the red Adobe image icon () in the center to open the map image. Page through to find the map section that has your lot and block. Ust the +/- keys, % key or magnifying glass key to enlarge the map enough to read the measurements along the side of the lot. Once enlarged you may need to scroll over or down to see the section you need.

  • What hours are you open?
    Regular office hours at the government center are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Customer Service has extended hours Monday and Thursday evenings until 6:00 pm.

  • I have an escrow account. Why do I get the tax statement?
    Tax statements are sent to the taxpayer of record. If an escrow company has requested your parcel information and indicated they will be paying the taxes, you will notice an Escrow ID on the payment stubs.

  • Why isn’t my name showing on the present tax statement?
    Many properties have multiple taxpayers associated to them. The primary taxpayer’s information is what is printed on the tax statement.

  • Who owns a property?
    Scott County does not verify ownership of properties. We will verify who we have as the most current taxpayer.


Zoning Questions

  • What is my property zoned and what are the building setbacks?
    ScottGIS2.0 Mapping Application and Property Information Mapping Application allow users to search for zoning information by owner name, property address, or Parcel Identification Number (PIN).

    Setbacks are listed under District Performance Standards within each Zoning District in County Zoning Ordinance No. 3. Additional setbacks may apply from wetlands, bluffs, lakes, streams, and other natural features.

  • Do I have the ability to further subdivide my property and if so how can this be done?
    The ability to further subdivide property is based upon the density for development listed in each zoning district’s performance standards. Additional factors may place additional limits upon how many parcels can be created during the development process. The subdivision of any parcel that results in a parcel being created under 40 acres in size requires that parcel to be platted. The process for land subdivision is available for Land Development Process site.

  • My lot size is below the minimum allowed by the zoning district performance standards, can I a) build a home on the property or b) increase the size of the existing home.
    Any property that was created and legally existed prior to the applicable dates in each zoning district shall be considered a legal non-conforming lot of record and considered buildable subject to the applicable setbacks and district performance standards. Lots created after the dates listed are considered non-conforming lots.

    A structure that does not meet certain district performance standards, such as setbacks, can be increased in size up to 50% of the total square footage provided such expansion does not conflict with performance standards or further decrease the distance between the structure and applicable property line or ordinary high water level.

  • I own a small business; can I locate and operate the business on my property if it is in a residential zoning district?
    Each zoning district lists uses that are either permitted uses, permitted accessory uses, conditional uses, or interim uses within that zoning district.  Generally, commercial and industrial businesses should be located in the areas zoned for these more land intensive uses, and where they do not create conflict with neighboring residential properties.  However, the Zoning Ordinance does provide avenues for county residents to operate small businesses out of their home or from an accessory building on the property. Chapter 8 of Zoning Ordinance No. 3 provides information and regulations for Home Occupations (Certificate of Compliance) and Home-Extended Businesses (Conditional or Interim Use Permit).

  • What size accessory building am I allowed to put up and what are the setbacks?
    Accessory building size is limited by the gross acreage of the property in question and is a total of all detached accessory buildings located on the property; attached garages are not considered accessory. A chart showing allowable accessory square footage and maximum building height is provided in the performance standards of each zoning district.  Generally, accessory buildings must meet the required principle building setbacks unless otherwise indicated.

  • How many animals can I have on my property?
    Chapter 9 of the Zoning Ordinance No. 3 provides standards for the number of animals a property owner can keep on his/her property. Raising of animals or livestock on a property requires that the parcel meet or exceed the minimum acreage required by the respective zoning district. Animals are measured by animal units, a factor that takes into account the size and weight of each animal, as defined by the table in Chapter 9. The number of animals allowed is one animal unit for the first two productive acres, and subsequently one animal unit per each additional productive acre. Productive acres are defined as acre of land on which crop tilling or pasturing can occur, and excludes areas where buildings, septic locations, lakes, wetlands, streams, woodlands, and other amenities exist.  Animal Unit factsheet can be found here.  Additional information about productive acres and animal units can be obtained from the Scott Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).



Who to call

City Who Phone Email Web page Reason for Call
Belle Plaine David Murphy 952-873-5553 Administrative Subdivisions
Jordan Corrin Hoegen Wendell 952-492-2535 Administrative Subdivisions
Elko New Market Ben Baker 952-461-2777 Administrative Subdivisions
New Prague Ken Ondich 952-758-1136 Administrative Subdivisions
Prior Lake Jeff Matzke 952-447-9814 Administrative Subdivisions
Savage Bryan Tucker 952-882-2692 Administrative Subdivisions
Shakopee Julie Klima 952-233-9347 Administrative Subdivisions
Shakopee Michael Leek 952-233-9346 Administrative Subdivisions




















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