House Rejects Zoning Preemption Amendments

April 25, 2022

(Updated April 26, 2022)

The House listened to city concerns and voted down problematic zoning preemption amendments.

Two House floor amendments that would preempt city zoning and land use authority for residential development were unsuccessful on April 25.

The amendments, A13 and A14 (Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia) were posted to the agriculture, housing, and broadband omnibus bill, HF 4366. The House only considered A13, rejecting it 57-75.

These provisions are opposed by the League, other city organizations, and individual cities because zoning and land use for residential development are best addressed locally.

Previously excluded zoning preemptions being considered again

A13 is largely a zoning preemption amendment. Local zoning is an important planning tool that benefits communities economically and socially, improves health and wellness, and helps conserve the environment.

Read more about why zoning is important

Housing is a statewide issue, and the best way to ensure that housing issues in Greater Minnesota and the metro are adequately addressed is to have housing policy that: (1) addresses the full housing spectrum, (2) supports local innovation, (3) provides incentives instead of mandates, and (4) provides community-specific solutions throughout Minnesota.

Read more about state housing policy solutions that work

A13 doesn’t do that. Instead, it preempts city zoning and land use authority. For example, no matter the reason — such as energy efficiency — the bill would prohibit cities from conditioning any approvals of material, design, or other conditions if they are not currently required by the State Building Code (which is only meant to be a minimum safety standard).

Also, the bill would still require automatic approval of building permits when delay is outside of city control, thus endangering the health and safety of residents.

Read about similar concerns expressed about the Senate omnibus housing bill

Other amendment concerning for small cities

A14 generally includes provisions that are current law, but one change could be problematic for small cities.

The amendment requires that if a city has a website, then “a planned unit development agreement must be made available to the public by posting the agreement on the website of the municipality at least seven days prior to the governing body’s review of the agreement.”

Cities with few staff and resources — and simple websites — may find posting additional documents on the city website challenging.

Senate bill contains same language

The language in both the A13 and A14 amendments are included in the Senate version of the agriculture, housing, and broadband omnibus bill, SF 4019, which awaits action on the Senate floor.

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