Concerns About Minneapolis Long-Range Affordable Housing Plan

Minneapolis has just released a 20 year draft comprehensive plan affecting all its public policies from health, transportation, parks, jobs land use and housing. State law requires all metro area cities to produce comprehensive plans every ten years in order to achieve orderly and coordinated growth. Citizens have an opportunity to read the plan and then give feedback to the planning department.

League of Women Voters Minneapolis invited Jack Byers, Manager of Long Range Planning for the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan to speak and answer questions at an added mid-month Civic Buzz. He specifically addresses the housing section of the plan.

Minneapolis’ population is expected to grow about 12% by 2040 from immigration, people moving to the city from rural areas and other factors. While that sound large, Minneapolis used to be larger in 1950. But the more people used to live in a single household. Also freeways have taken more land out of the mix. So how do you accommodate growth and make sure people can afford to have a home?

Many question and concerns about the plan

Many of those attending the meeting had concerns about the plan.

Ladan Yusuf of the Defend Glendale and Public Housing Coalition questioned why the plan doesn’t address the needs of poor people and people of color in Minneapolis who are often priced out of the housing market.

Other audience members raised concerns about trying increase housing density as a way to make it more affordable. “It’s disingenuous to use the word affordable,” said one audience member when talking about accessible housing.

Another woman asked if developers would be required to set aside a certain percentage of housing for affordable housing like Edina does. Principal Project Coordinator Brian Schaffer said that is not part of the plan. “That’s what you need to do,” said the woman. “Because developers are making all the money and they’re destroying my neighborhood — I live in the wedge — and I no longer want to drive anywhere because what do I do? I sit in my effing car trying to go six blocks to the grocery store because I need four bags of groceries because I can’t walk there and carry them home.”

One man said the stated goal of everyone in Minneapolis being able to afford and access quality housing sounds good but “unfortunately it seems like the way you all are planning on doing that is displacing all the poor people out of the city so that its a city only for the wealthy people.”

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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