Codes and Ordinances

Climate Action Playbook for Local Governments

Climate Action KC has produced a Climate Action Playbook that translates climate pollution reduction strategies into actions and policies that can be taken by local governments.

Complete Streets Ordinances

This document contains complete streets policies adopted in De Soto, Herculaneum, Pevely, Festus, and Crystal City. In addition, the City of FergusonCity of ClaytonUniversity CityFlorissantSt. Louis County, and City of St. Louis have all passed Complete Streets ordinances. Crystal City's ordinance was ranked among the highest in the nation by a National Complete Streets Coalition analysis.

Composting Ordinances

This table serves as a quick reference for composting ordinances in the St. Louis region. This content was made possible by funding provided by the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

NRDC and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) produced a Model Municipal Zoning Ordinance on Community Composting, a template ordinance intended to advance community composting by establishing it as a permissible land use under a municipality’s zoning code.

The Institute for Local Government  has prepared Model Goals, Policies, Zoning and Development Standards for Composting and Remanufacturing Facilities. The sample goals and policies in this report are intended to provide guidance for city and county planners who are updating their general plans and want to address composting, anaerobic digestion, recycled content product manufacturing (RCP) and intermediate processing operations.

Dark Skies Ordinances

The City of Clayton passed Resolution 2022-24 in support of the Lights Out Heartland Campaign. Each spring and fall, the city reminds the community of five recommended practices to reduce light pollution and save birds. 

Electric Vehicle (EV) Ordinances

EV-Ready Ordinances: St. Louis City and St. Louis County have ordinances requiring certain types of new construction and major renovation projects to include electric infrastructure that would allow an electric vehicle charger to be easily installed. This approach makes EV infrastructure more affordable, because it can be up to 75% cheaper to run electricity to a parking space for an electric vehicle charger during the initial construction, rather than trying to add it afterwards. Click here to view St. Louis City's EV Ready Ordinance and Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment OrdinanceBrentwood and Richmond Heights have passed ordinances requiring this type of electric infrastucture in new homes. To learn more about EV Ready Ordinances, click here

Public Use of City-Owned EV Charging Stations: The City of St. Charles lays out policy for public use of EV charging stations on city-owned parking lots in Chapter 350.050 of their municipal code. The rates and fees for use of city-owned EV charging stations are established in Chapter 150.030

Form-Based Codes

Form-based codes can be used to promote a compact development pattern that reduces automobile reliance in favor of walking or public transportation, resulting in greenhouse gas reductions and benefits to public health. Two examples of form-based code in the St. Louis region are the Central West End Form-Based District (find the ordinance here) and the Forest Park Southeast Form-Based District (find the ordinance here). 

Green Dining Ordinances

Maplewood is home to the nation's first Green Dining District. The city supports restaurants that get recertified by the Green Dining Alliance (GDA) by paying $100 of the $200 recertification fee. The City of Brentwood also offers restaurants in the city a $100 rebate toward the Green Dining Alliance membership fee. Brentwood's resolution for this policy is available here. To participate in the GDA program, restaurants must stop using Styrofoam, implement single-stream recycling, and set waste reduction and diversion goals, among other requirements. In 2022, GDA certified restaurants helped divert over 6,000 tons of waste from landfills. 

Native Plant Ordinances

In 2024, St. Louis County passed an ordinance revising their noxious weed ordinance to allow native plants. 

In 2023, the City of Carbondale passed an ordinance to encourage pollinator-supportive landscaping across the city. The new code defines three different classifications of pollinator-supportive landscape: pollinator gardens, bee lawns, and native planting areas. 

The City of Collinsville updated its tree ordinance in 2022 to promote native species and prohibit the use of invasive species.

Chapter 220 of the Municipal Code of the City of Creve Coeur promotes the use of native plants on private land. Native plants are exempt from the vegetation height restriction but must not impede the vision of motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians and must be greater than five feet from the property line. Creve Coeur also offers a list of recommended plantings for residents, many of which are Missouri native plants. 

Section 410.450.G of the Municipal Code of the City of Weldon Spring promotes the use of native plants in all proposed conservation developments within the city.

The City of Chesterfield passed Ordinance Number 2498 which replaces prior ordinances and establishes criteria for native plants, noxious weeds, and invasive plants. It also permits native plants to be taller than the limit of twelve inches as long as they are free of weeds, do not impair sight lines, and do not constitute a danger to the safety of the public.

Chapter 30 of Lee's Summit Code of Ordinances allows for the use of native plants in planned natural landscapes within the city. The planned natural landscape must be approved prior to development, and a listing of permissible plants is included in the ordinance.

The City of Clayton Trees and Landscaping Regulations require that 33% of new trees be Missouri native trees.

Grow Native! offers a model ordinance to encourage the use of native plants in urban landscape design. 

No Idling Ordinances

Even though they are not moving, idling vehicles still create exhaust, which contributes to the formation of ozone smog and harmful particulate matter and can negatively affect lung growth and development in children. St. Louis City Ordinance 68137 regulates and controls motor vehicle idling. The ordinance lists six exemptions and also states that drivers who violate the ordinance can be punished by a fine of up to $100. Section 612.340 of the Revised Ordinances of St. Louis County prohibits anyone from allowing their vehicle to idle for more than three consecutive minutes unless the engine is being used to operate a loading, unloading, or processing device.

Plastic Bag Fee Ordinances

In October of 2019, the Edwardsville City Council adopted a Single Use Bag Fee Ordinance requiring a 10 cent per bag fee for disposable plastic and paper checkout bags at all retail businesses greater than 7,000 sq. ft.

Reduced Parking Ordinances

In 2024, the City of Richmond Heights right-sized their minimum parking requirements, as a result of the city's comprehensive planning process. You can find their ordinance here and the change in minimums here. The ordinance states, "Richmond Heights is very auto-centric, providing significant parking within comercial developments in the 1960s - early 200s, creating expansive asphalt, negatively impacting the environment and pedestrian safety...during the Comprehensive Plan public process, the community expressed the desire to see less surface parking and creating more shared parking arrangements, freeing valuable real estate for new development."

The City of St. Louis has eliminated parking minimums entirely in its Central Business district, allowing developers to choose the right amount of parking needed for their project.

Renewable Energy Ordinances

Resolution 124 sets an ambitious goal for the City of St. Louis to transition to 100 percent clean energy in the electric sector through energy efficiency, wind and solar by 2035. The Pathways to 100% Clean Energy Report offers recommendations about electricity use for City operations and voluntary efforts within the broader community.

Solar Ready Ordinances

In 2020, the City of St. Louis became the first city in the Midwest to pass a solar ready ordinance covering both commercial and residential construction. For buildings that are five stories or less, the ordinance requires roofs to be sturdy enough to receive solar arrays and requires a conduit to an electric service panel with dedicated space labeled "For Future Solar Electric." 

The City of Clayton passed an ordinance change to streamline the solar installation process.

Sustainability Commission Ordinances

The City of Brentwood established a sustainability commission with Ordinance 4941. The commission was established to foster policies and programs that create energy conservation, environmental improvement and sustainability of resources in the City of Brentwood. The commission recommends policies to the Public Works Committee of the Board of Aldermen.

Tree Ordinances

The City of Collinsville, IL updated its tree ordinance in August of 2022. Updates to the ordinance include promoting native species and prohibiting invasive species and the addition of a Tree Advisory Board. Click here to view the staff report that accompanied the ordinance. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources provides a Sample Tree Ordinance.

Several local communities have ordinances that require tree protection during development (or redevelopment). Ordinances that encourage offsetting the removal of mature trees/wooded tracts with new planting do not realize the economic benefit to preserving mature trees. Good examples of ordinances include the City of Lake Saint Louis (Sec. 425.070), and the City of Webster Groves. The City of Wildwood also has a Tree Preservation and Restoration Ordinance. The City of Crestwood's Landscape Code requires preservation or replacement of trees of protected species of a certain size.