Focus on New Laws: Interim Ordinances Related to ‘Housing Proposals’

Cities need to provide notice and receive public input for residential housing development-related interim ordinances.
(Published Jul 31, 2017)

Cities now need to provide a public hearing and notice to certain individuals before acting on interim ordinances (also known as moratoriums) related to “housing proposals.” The new law (Chapter 94, article 11, section 3, which amends Minnesota Statutes, section 462.355, subdivision 4) contains new requirements for interim ordinances that regulate, restrict, or prohibit housing proposals.

Definition of housing proposals
The new law explicitly defines “housing proposals” as written requests for projects primarily intended to provide residential dwellings and involve either (1) the subdivision or development of land, or (2) the demolition, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, or occupancy of residential dwellings.

  • What this includes: The language “occupancy of residential dwellings” was intended to include any moratoriums on rental housing. If a city considers such an interim ordinance, it should provide a public hearing and notice.
  • What this doesn’t include: The language “primarily intended to provide residential dwellings” excludes projects that may incidentally affect residential dwellings from the hearing and notice requirements.

Notice requirements
Notice needs to provided at least three days before the public hearing in a particular manner and to certain people:

  • Website notice: If the city has an official website, it must provide notice on it.
  • Notice to certain individuals: Cities also must provide written notice to any person who:
    • Has submitted a housing proposal.
    • Has a pending housing proposal.
    • Has provided a written request to be notified of this type of interim ordinances.
    Public hearing required
    After providing notice, the public hearing must be held at the next regularly scheduled meeting (at least three days after the notice) or within 10 days of the notice.

Voting requirement
While previous versions of this bill included a two-thirds supermajority voting requirement, the new law only requires approval of the interim ordinance by a majority of all city councilmembers.

Requirements for builders
The new law requires that any activities that would be restricted by this type of interim ordinance cannot be undertaken before the public hearing.

Effective date
The new law only applies to interim ordinances proposed on or after Aug. 1, 2017.

Legislative background
Given that some version of this bill was introduced multiple times over the years, and the League knew it likely would pass this year, the League worked with the proponents and was neutral on the bill. Gov. Dayton initially vetoed the proposal as a standalone bill because it contained a two-thirds supermajority voting requirement, but said he would reconsider it if a later bill would require only a majority vote.

The proponents changed the voting requirement and included this bill in the omnibus jobs bill, which the governor signed into law.

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