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Inclusionary Zoning Text Amendment, Unified Housing Policy Update, and Framework for Permanent Inclusionary Zoning Policy

Background

On February 9, 2018, Council President Bender introduced subject matter to establish an inclusionary zoning (housing) ordinance. Inclusionary housing is intended to promote affordable housing and to fulfill the goals of the city’s housing policies by ensuring that affordable housing is provided in new residential or mixed-use developments.

Since 2003, the City of Minneapolis has implemented housing policy that requires affordable housing units in residential and mixed-use projects with 10 or more units that receives financial assistance from the city. The policy was expanded in 2016 to apply the affordable housing requirement to projects receiving pass-through funding from the city (state or federal funds) for purposes other than environmental remediation. In 2017, the policy was updated to include residential development of 10 or more units proposed on property or a portion of property owned by the city.

The City engaged a consultant, Grounded Solutions Network, to conduct financial feasibility analysis and policy research regarding national best practices to inform recommendations for additional inclusionary housing policy options for the city. Their report included pros and cons of different policy choices, and case studies of three other cities with inclusionary housing policies. This work was supported by a team of City staff from Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) Housing, Development Services, and Long-Range Planning, City Attorney’s Office and Finance Departments. Grounded Solutions Network solicited input from private developers and affordable housing advocates in this process.

The Grounded Solutions Network report was presented to the Housing Policy & Development Committee of the City Council on August 22, 2018. The report was intended to inform a policy framework to be considered by the City Council concurrent with the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, to support the affordable housing goals of the plan. A final policy would require additional analysis and development in 2019.

On December 7, 2018, the City Council approved amendments to the Unified Housing Policy and the Minneapolis Zoning Code to allow for Inclusionary Housing. Further, the City Council directed the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development to develop a comprehensive inclusionary housing policy for adoption in 2019.

The Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance is effective for new land use applications deemed complete after January 1, 2019. The Ordinance language defines projects subject to the affordable housing requirements. The Unified Housing Policy defines the specific affordable housing requirements. 

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Last updated May 8, 2019

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