League Responds to Development-Related Legislation Announced at Capitol

August 9, 2021

The proposed legislation would undermine local zoning and development authority.

Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL-Bloomington) announced Monday that he will be introducing a package of housing and development related legislation in the September special session.

Elkins made the announcement at a press conference held at the Capitol.

The package will include a number of proposals that have been introduced in the past, and includes legislation that would undermine local zoning and development authority, for example by prohibiting any minimum lot sizes larger than 1/5 of an acre in “newly developing areas of the metro.” Other provisions requiring duplexes be a permitted use for areas zoned single family, limiting the usage of Planned Unit Developments, and prohibiting architectural design standards, would apply to all 854 cities statewide.

The package also includes legislation that would enable cities to establish street improvement districts, and authorization of what Elkins calls a Development Impact Fee, that he says would allow cities to directly assess developers for the cost of infrastructure needed to support new development.

In response to today’s announcement, League of Minnesota Cities Intergovernmental Relations Director Gary Carlson issued the following statement:

“Cities in Minnesota are keenly aware of and focused on solutions to locally identified challenges across the housing spectrum, as well as the legacy of systemic racism in housing policy. Those challenges call for measures that consider the unique needs and circumstances of each city — stretching from Baudette to Bloomington. By applying conclusions drawn from limited data onto all 854 cities in Minnesota, we believe that the proposal announced on Monday by Rep. Steve Elkins severely restricts the flexibility and innovation of city governments. The Elkins proposal, which does not in any way guarantee affordability in the market and only focuses on one aspect of the housing spectrum, repackages previous legislation that inadequately addressed the concerns of cities and their residents. Local decisions should be made by local governments and their residents, and not be driven by state mandated one-size-fits all policies. The League of Minnesota Cities appreciates the bill author’s inclusion of provisions to better address the burden that cities and taxpayers face in supporting necessary infrastructure needed for new development and growth. We are committed to proactively working with the bill author to prioritize the ability of locally elected officials to make the decisions that meet the specific housing needs of their communities.”

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