Frequently Asked Questions

What does the City of Buffalo have to offer for recreation?

We have nearly 30 parks in Buffalo, miles of walking , a skate park, the Parkshore Pavilion, Concerts in the Park and more. For more information, please visit the City of Buffalo’s website.

All recreational programming in the City of Buffalo is coordinated through Buffalo’s Community Education. Playing field use is also scheduled through the Recreation Coordinator, Todd Lunning. For more information regarding any youth or adult activities, please contact Todd at (763) 682-8429, tlunning@buffalo.k12.mn.us, or visit the Community Education web page at www.buffalok12.mn.us

Does the City require a business license?

The city does not require a business license. However, when deciding on the location for your business, be sure the zoning allows for the use in the district it will be located. Check out our zoning maps and City Code online.

If your business will be run out of your home, a business license is not required for that either. However, please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 with the type of business and the address. The City allows home businesses; however, there may be zoning issues as well as a Home Occupation Permit required. 

Additionally, in some cases a home business requires review through the Buffalo Planning Commission.

What Park facilities can I reserve for the enjoyment of my family and friends?

We have park shelters in the large parks that can be reserved for picnics, reunions, weddings, parties, etc. We also reserve the Bandshell in Sturges Park for events such as performances, weddings, church events, etc. Please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 to see if the desired date is available and to obtain the reservation form

Playing fields, such as football, soccer, and ball fields are reserved by Todd Lunning, Recreation Coordinator for Buffalo/Hanover/Montrose Community Education. (763) 682-8429, tlunning@buffalo.k12.mn.us.

What is at the Buffalo Skate Park?

The Skate Park is a recreational facility that consists of an area for in-line skating and skateboarding. There is a half-pipe, ramps, and other obstacles for the enjoyment of extreme skaters. (Sorry, scooters and bikes are not permitted in the Skate Park.) 

The Skate Park is free of charge. All ages are welcome. While we do not require safety equipment, we highly recommend skaters wear protection: Helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards. This park area is not supervised. 

The Skate Park is located in beautiful Sturges Park, in the heart of Buffalo. You may access the park off Park View Lane from Montrose Blvd. The skate park opens in April and closes in October. Hours are approximately 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

Click here for more information about the Skate Park.

Where can I get fingerprints taken?

Wright County Sheriff’s Office Court Holding Division handles fingerprints for the public. The number to call is 763-684-2384.  You can get your fingerprints taken Monday-Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm and the cost is $5 for Wright County residents.

Where do I renew my driver’s license, obtain a vehicle license and marriage license?

Call Wright County Government Center general phone number 763-682-3900. The receptionist will direct you to the appropriate department.

Looking for a banquet hall in Buffalo to hold a wedding reception?

Wild Marsh Golf Course/The Tavern 763-682-4476.

Huikko’s Bowling & Entertainment Center 763-682-4180.

Buffalo Civic Center 763-682-4132.

Any City Parks. Contact the City Center 763-682-1181.

To whom do I report a street light that is out?

If the street light is near you and you pay your home electric bill comes from Wright Hennepin, you will need to contact them at (763) 477-3000 and they will send someone out.

If the street light is near you and you pay your home electric bill to the City of Buffalo, please utilize our 24 hour on-line Service Request program. It is located on our website Services tab, Service Request. If you do not have access to the internet, please call the City Center at (763) 682-1181 to report it.

Do I need a permit to hold a party at a city park?

A permit is not needed.

What does it cost to rent the Civic Center for a function?

To find out what the rates are for the Civic Center please click here.

How do I make a complaint about the Police Department?

All complaints related to the Police Department are to be initiated through a Police Department supervisor. Forms for filing a complaint may be obtained during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by contacting a supervisor from the Buffalo Police Department through the Communications Center at (763) 682-7600, during non-business hours.

What sports programs are offered by the City of Buffalo?

All recreational programming in the City of Buffalo is coordinated through Buffalo”s Community Education. Playing field use is also scheduled through the Recreation Coordinator, Todd Lunning. For more information regarding any youth or adult activities, please contact Todd at (763) 682-8429, tlunning@buffalo.k12.mn.us, or visit the Community Education web page at www.buffalo.k12.mn.us.

If you are looking to join a team, take a class, or try an activity, please visit the Community Education web page by clicking here.

If you are interested in exploring Buffalo’s Park system, plant a volunteer flower bed or vegetable garden, rent a boat, ice skate, skate board, or play disc golf, please check out the City of Buffalo’s website.

What and where is the Buffalo Parkshore Pavilion?

The Buffalo Parkshore Pavilion is located in Sturges Park on the beautiful Buffalo Lake. It is on Highway 25/Central Avenue, near downtown Buffalo. Nestled on the beach of Buffalo Lake, the Pavilion staff will help you rent boats, purchase concession items, or just answer any questions passers-by may have.

The Parkshore Pavilion offers one pontoon boat, three motorized fishing boats, four seater paddle boats, and three canoes available to rent. (Gas, accessories, and life jackets are included with rental) The pavilion also has miscellaneous park games such as bocce ball, basketballs, etc.for rent and use at Sturges Park.

The Pavilion typically opens on the weekend of Minnesota’s Fishing Opener, which is mid-May. It closes in mid-October. When school is in session, the Pavilion is open only on the weekends, from 8:00 a.m. to dusk. When school is out, the pavilion opens on weekends from 8:00 a.m. to dusk, and weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to dusk. The Pavilion closes if weather consists of rain or high winds.

Only the pontoon boat, canoes, and fishing boat can be reserved. The paddle boats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve, simply stop by the Pavilion or call (763) 682-4590 during hours of operation. For more information, please visit the Parkshore Pavilion page on our Parks and Recreation section.

If you’re looking to reserve a shelter at one of our parks, please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 to see if the desired date is available and to obtain the reservation form.

How do I report graffiti?

You can either contact the City by phone, or submit a graffiti removal request form notifying the City of the graffiti.  You can do this by accessing the Vandalism/Graffiti form on this site. Be sure to report the exact location of the graffiti (i.e., on bench at park, on side of wall, etc.).

Can I run a business out of my home?

Please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 with the type of business and the address.  The City allows home businesses; however, there may be zoning issues as well as a Home Occupation Permit required.

Additionally, in some cases a home business requires review through the Buffalo Planning Commission.

How can I get involved in Buffalo’s Park System?

There are many ways to be involved in Buffalo’s recreational opportunities. If you are interested in coaching, umpiring, refereeing, or participating in an athletic event or other recreational program, please visit the Community Education web page at www.buffalo.k12.mn.us. If you are interested in the Buffalo Skate Park, Buffalo Parkshore Pavilion, volunteering, visiting Buffalo’s parks and trails, please visit the City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation page.

How do I Report an Abandoned Vehicle?

Please either call the City or use the Parking Complaint request form to submit a request to the City for investigation.  After investigating, the City will take appropriate action to either have the vehicle removed or to ensure the vehicle is in compliance with City Code.

Where can I get a building permit application?

Please click here to obtain a building permit application on-line. You may also stop in at the City Center at 212 Central Avenue to obtain one.

Completed building permit applications and any necessary documentation should be submitted to the City Center.

**Please note that building permits take 3-5 business days to process. Please plan your project accordingly.**

Are there ordinances against tall weeds and debris in yards?

Yes there are. Click here to see the City Ordinances.

Specifically Chapter 11: Land Use Regulations (Zoning)

Do I need a license for my cat or dog?

Yes.  Both dogs and cats need to be licensed as soon as they are ready to be vaccinated.  Licenses are issued at the City Center and cost $10.00 every two years.  In order to be issued a license, you must bring proof that the pet has had their rabies vaccination.

The ordinance states that a structure can house:
– no more than three (3) animals (of any combination of cats and/or dogs)

Can my property be annexed into the City?

Yes, if your property is within the Orderly Annexation boundaries and can be served with City services, including sanitary sewer and water.

Click here to check out the City maps online.

How can I help make Buffalo’s parks better?

You can help by being involved. You may also visit a City of Buffalo Parks Advisory Committee meeting to get information, give suggestions, or try to make change.

The Buffalo Parks Advisory Committee meets at the City Center on the 4th Monday of every month.

If you are interested in joining, apply to the City of Buffalo to be appointed to the 9-member Advisory Board.

How do I make a reservation for an event at the Civic Center?

To reserve the Civic Center you need to complete the Rental Agreement, under Parks and Recreation, and contact the Manager Lee Ryan.

Lee Ryan – 763-682-4132 lee.ryan@ci.buffalo.mn.us

Where are the new developments in Buffalo?

Click here to see a list of the new developments in Buffalo.

When is my street swept?

All residential streets in the City are swept by a vacuum type street sweeper two times per month. Please contact the City using the Street Sweeping request form, and provide your street address in the Location section.  We will contact you with the day of the week and weekly cycle for your address.

When do you have Public Skating and/or Hockey?

Check out the “Open Skating Schedule” on the Civic Centers web page.

You may also visit the Civic Center for posted times.  The Buffalo Civic Center has a limited selection of both hockey and figure skates available for use at the arena for a $2.00 charge.

How do I get to the Buffalo Civic Center?

The Civic Center is located at 1306 County Road 134. Take Highway 55 to County Road 134. The Civic Center is approximately a quarter of a mile on your left.

Can I have a party at the Ice Arena?

You may reserve a party room and skate during a scheduled open skating time.  The fee is based on the number of skaters.

You also may reserve a block of time for your event only.  The fee is determined on what time the event would be held.  Please contact the Arena Staff at (763)682-4132.

Please see the Civic Center page.

How do I purchase ice time for hockey, figure skating, broomball, or a party?

You may request a copy of available ice time by phone at (763) 682-4132 or by email at lee.ryan@ci.buffalo.mn.us.

What time is my skating/hockey lesson?

To view a copy of the Ice Schedules please click here.

Is it legal to drive without shoes on?

This has been a long-held myth.  The fact is that it is legal to drive without shoes in the State of Minnesota.  Keep in mind that laws can vary from state to state.

Doesn’t my child need parental consent to drive a car until they are eighteen years old? What if I want to take that privilege away – what do I do?

In Minnesota a parent can withdraw the driving privileges of a sixteen or seventeen year old.  While the easiest way for a parent to do this is to take the keys away, this will not ensure that the child could not or would not operate a friend’s vehicle.  In order to legally withdraw consent, the parent must complete a form and file it with the Department of Public Safety (DPS You can visit the DPS Web Site through this link).  DPS

Where do I get a gun permit?

You may obtain a permit to purchase a firearm, through the Buffalo Police Department.  If you would like to apply for a permit to purchase, you should visit the Police Department to obtain an application.  Please stop in or call us to receive the application materials you will need. If you wish to obtain a permit to carry a firearm, you will need to make your application through the Wright County Sheriff’s Office at the Courthouse.

Can you park semi’s in Buffalo?

The answer is Yes and No.  Generally you can park a semi for loading and unloading purposes, but you can’t park a semi in a residential neighborhood.  For additional information on this ordinance, you can visit the following link, Truck Parking.

When are officers on duty?

The Buffalo Police Department provides 24-hour service 365 days a year.  However, there is not always an officer inside the police department.  Our office hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  If you come to the police department after business hours and there is nobody here, you should contact the Wright County Sheriff’s Communication Center at (763) 682-7600.  They will dispatch a Buffalo Officer to meet with you.

I called in a complaint but nobody called me back, why is that?

If you call in a general complaint such as speeding, careless driving, suspicion, etc., it is normally presumed that you do not want to be called back.  If you are making a complaint of this nature and you do want to be informed of the outcome or you have information you would like to discuss directly with the officer, you should tell the dispatcher that you want a call from the responding officer.  This will ensure that the officer calls you back.

How can I get a copy of a police report or accident report that I filed?

All requests for copies of police reports must be made in writing.  A request for information release must be completed and submitted.  If it is determined that you are entitled to a copy of the data requested, the data will be collected and prepared for release.  There is an administrative fee for the release of data.  The fees for data release are as follows:

Reports Fees
General Reports $0.25 per page
Accident Reports $0.25 per page
Photos/Statements $1.00/disk and $0.25/image
Driver’s License None for Buffalo Residents
Special Rate Occasionally a person will ask for an extensive amount of data that may take a significant amount of time to collect.  When these instances occur, we charge a staff-rate of $25.00 per hour to collect this data.
Some of my property was stolen and has been recovered by the police, how do I get it back?

Items of stolen property are generally considered evidence and are stored in a secure area within the police department.  Only certain individuals within the police department are authorized to enter the secure area to obtain the property to return to be returned.  Once the case has been completed, these items can usually be returned to the owner.  In some cases, property can actually be returned to the owner prior to the criminal case being resolved.  To get your property returned, call the police department and ask to speak with the officer assigned to your case.  The officer will initiate the paperwork with our Property Technician to  make arrangements for the return of your property.  An appointment is necessary with the Property Technician in order for property return.

My car was impounded, what do I have to do to get it back?

The Buffalo Police Department contracts with Junction Towing (763-682-2033).  If your vehicle is not being held as evidence, or for some other reason, you should be able to have it released by contacting the towing company directly.  If the towing company tells you that your car is subject to a hold, you will need to contact the police department to obtain a release form.  You may come directly to the Buffalo Police Department, or if it is outside of our normal business hours, you can contact Wright County Sheriff’s Communication at 763-682-7600 and request that a Buffalo Police Officer meet you at the police department.

If your vehicle was towed from private property, it is most likely that the police department did not order the impounding.  If the police department was not involved in the towing of your vehicle, you will need to deal directly with the towing agency.

Who do I call if I have information about a crime?

Any time that you have information about a crime, you can call and speak to an officer of the Buffalo Police Department.  In some cases, you may even be eligible for a cash reward.  Unless the crime is in progress or it is an emergency, the best way to contact an officer is to call our office at (763) 682-5976 during regular business hours, or Wright County Sheriff’s Communication at (763) 682-7600.

If I have information about a crime, can I report it to the police and still stay anonymous?

If you are a witness to a crime, you can always ask to remain a confidential anonymous source.  Data privacy laws in Minnesota do allow for the identity of a witness to remain confidential.  However, if the case goes to court, it is often necessary for witnesses to testify, and remaining confidential may not be possible.

While it is possible to remain anonymous, it may mean that we are not able to pursue a criminal case due to lack of evidence or other witnesses.  If you do wish to remain anonymous, make sure to tell the officer or dispatcher about your request.

What is the law about pedestrians trying to cross the street? It seems as though nobody is following the rules.

A new publication from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has started showing up inside envelopes mailed out with your motor vehicle license tab renewal form.  This new publication states in bold red lettering; STOP IT’S THE LAW, and reminds drivers to “Stop For Pedestrians.”

The insert also contains the following information:
“A driver must stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.”
“A crosswalk is an intersection from sidewalk to sidewalk – even if no lines are painted on the street.”
“A pedestrian must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching.”
IT’S THE LAW!
Failure to obey the crosswalk law is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $700 fine, or both.
Based on my conversations with several pedestrians and motorists in recent months, it appears that there is still some confusion about this law and how it applies to them. 
According to a letter to the editor from Senator Randy Kelly and Representative Michael Paymar, the State of Minnesota currently averages 1400 pedestrian injuries and 50 fatalities on an annual basis.  New legislation passed in the year 2000 was aimed at reducing those numbers.  Unfortunately, in the past, some of the pedestrian crossing legislation has caused confusion among drivers – and even with some pedestrians.  The most recent revision to this law became effective on September 1, 2000.  Minnesota Statute 169.21, subdivision 2, now states:
“ (a) Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.  The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped.  No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.” 
Two key pieces of information from the previously mentioned letter to the editor by Senator Kelly and Representative Paymar are worth reprinting.
1.   A driver must stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Failing to do so is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $700 fine, or both.  It is important to note that a driver is not required to stop, and should not stop, if the pedestrian is simply on the curb, despite the fact that the pedestrian may be waiting to enter the crosswalk.  It is not our intent to encourage pedestrians to enter a crosswalk when it is not safe to do so.
2.   A pedestrian must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching.  There is no defined distance that a pedestrian must abide by before entering the crosswalk, but common sense should prevail.
The simple rules are these – you should only try to cross the road when it is safe to do so; and if you’re driving and someone is trying to cross the road, stop and yield the right of way to that individual until it is safe to proceed.  Following these rules will keep all of us safer in the long run.  If you have any questions about this law feel free to contact our department.
How do I report a street maintenance problem?

Maintenance problems on City streets are reported to the Public Works Department at 763-682-1181.  Problems on county roads should be reported to the Wright County Public Works Department, and problems on state and federal roads are reported to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

How do I report a traffic signal problem?

Traffic signal problems should be reported to the Public Works Department at 763-682-1001.  They will determine whether the signal responsibility is that of the state, county, or city and notify the proper agency in order to have the problem corrected. 

How do I report a problem with a street light?

Depending on the ownership, existing street lights are maintained by the City of Buffalo or Wright Hennepin Electric.  The City performs most maintenance on City owned lights.  If you have a problem with a street light in your neighborhood, call Public Works at 763-682-1001.

How do I get a stop sign installed on my street?

Stop signs are installed at intersections where one street should have priority over the traffic on the other street.  On streets with low traffic volumes, stop signs are not normally installed because the Minnesota Right-of-Way Rule (yield to the vehicle on the right) generally works well.  If you have a question on whether or not your street needs a stop sign, call the Police Department at 763-682-5976. 

Where do I report a concern about traffic visibility? What is my responsibility as a resident to maintain property to ensure visibility?

Overgrown vegetation blocking the view of traffic signs can lead to dangerous situations in our neighborhoods and streets.  If vegetation is blocking a traffic sign or signal adjacent to your property, you are responsible to trim the vegetation to a point where the City deems that the visibility of the sign or signal is adequate. The inability of motorists to see crossing traffic is a leading cause of accidents at intersections.  The City has adopted ordinances, which require corner lots to be clear of structures, plantings, signage, etc. to allow for improved visibility.  If the City is notified of a sight problem on your corner, follow-up will be done to determine whether any action will need to be taken.  The City will send a letter to the homeowner, if it is the homeowner’s responsibility to correct the problem.  If the homeowner fails to remove the obstruction in a timely manner, the City will remove it for you at your expense.   If you have questions regarding traffic visibility you can call the City Center at 763-682-1181. 

What is the city’s policy on snow plowing? How can I find out when my street will be plowed? How do I report a problem with snow plowing?

City’s snow plowing procedure varies depending upon the amount of snow received.  If there is a snowfall of less than approximately two inches, then usually only major streets in the City system are plowed.  Sanding is done at stop signs, hills, and curves on the entire system. If more than two inches of snow falls, then all City streets are plowed curb-to-curb, including the removal of snow from cul-de-sacs.

How does snowplowing affect parking on city streets?

After an accumulating snowfall , parking is prohibited until the street has been plowed curb-to-curb.  Violators may be ticketed, or tagged and towed.   

How do I find out about load limits on roadways?

TRUCK LOADS CAN
INCREASE IN WINTER

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) is reminding truck operators that up to a 10 percent increase in weight can be added to legal load limits on trunk highways during the winter months. 

On nine-ton rated roadways, the increase is not to exceed 80,000 pounds. On ten-ton highways, it is 10 percent across the board, not to exceed 88,000 pounds. 

An overweight permit from Mn/DOT is not required except when hauling on interstate highways. Truckers do not need the permit to use the state highway system, i.e. Minnesota and U.S. highways – but they still must increase the vehicle’s registered weight at a county motor vehicle license bureau office for an additional fee. 

The vehicle’s registered weight must be increased through a license bureau office before obtaining the $60 per truck permit from Mn/DOT to haul on interstate highways. 

The additional load limit became allowable on December 1, 1999 for trunk highways north of and including Highway 10 from Moorhead to Motley; Highway 210 from Motley east to the junction of Interstate 35; and I-35 to Duluth. It became effective on January 1, 2000 for highways south of this boundary in the rest of the state. 

The increase of weight is permitted because of the added strength that roadways gain when frozen. Bridges are not strengthened by cold weather and drivers should be aware of and still honor any posted load limited bridges or sections of roadway on their routes. 

This annual winter weight allowance pertains to all commodities hauled by anyone. It will remain in effect throughout the state until March 7, 2000 or earlier as spring road weight restrictions are implemented in the various zones. 

Mn/DOT permit offices are located at district offices. For more information, contact the Mn/DOT Administrative Truck Center, 1110 Centre Pointe Curve, Mendota Heights, MN 55120, phone (651) 405-6000 or toll free 1-800-657-3959.   

How do I find out about any new road construction or projects in the city?

For information about construction projects you may call Public Works at 763-682-1181.  Construction information is also available at informational public meetings, which are held prior to street reconstruction.  Residents of the affected area are notified about the meetings.  Residents from all of Buffalo are encouraged to attend these public information meetings.  Meetings are posted in several locations (City Center, Wright County Journal Press, Cable Channel 12, and on City website).   

What kinds of maps are available from the city of Buffalo?

The Engineering Department has several kinds of maps available for viewing or purchase at the Buffalo City Center.  Maps giving exact property dimensions and details are available.  Other maps giving less detail of each lot, but giving the entire street layout or utility layout are also available.  These maps come in a range of sizes, depending on the type of map.  For more information, contact the Engineering Department at 763-682-1181.  Some maps are also available on the City website–check out maps online.