Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Monday, January 29, 2007

Condo Conversion Ordinance

The Condominium Conversion ordinance amendments I am sponsoring will be coming for a public hearing on this Wednesday, January 31, at 1 pm at the Public Safety & Regulatory Services committee. This meeting will take place in the Council Chambers, room 317 of City Hall, 350 S 5th St in downtown Minneapolis.

I have been working closely with the Minneapolis Affordable Housing Coalition* on these amendments intended to better protect tenants, prevent the loss of affordable rental housing due to condominium conversions and to protect condominium buyers. The ordinance requires city approval of conversions and a reserve fund study to protect buyers. It strengthens notice requirements that owners must provide to tenants. It also puts in place affordable housing protection, and provides relocation benefits for tenants if the units to be converted are affordable.

If you would like more information about the specific provisions or the full language of the ordinance amendments, please let me know and I would be happy to send them to you. You can also find more information here: http://www.hppinc.org/?q=condos and here on the Committee's agenda:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2007-meetings/20070209/PSRS20070131agenda.asp
under item 16.

The Minneapolis Affordable Housing Coalition's (MAHC) planning committee members include:
HOME Line, Housing Preservation Project (HPP), Jewish Community Action (JCA)
Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH)
Minnesota Tenants Union, Minnesota Senior Federation, Southwest Interfaith Neighborhood Group (SWING)
Minneapolis Urban League

The coalition's partners include:
Community Stabilization Project (CSP)
Family and Children’s Services – Jobs and Affordable Housing Committee
Office for Social Justice Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group

Here are some facts about the state of affordable housing in Minneapolis:

- The Minnesota State Legislature has recognized that a lack of affordable housing in a city is an important concern as it relates to condominium conversions. Therefore, and pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 515B.1-106(c), it authorized a statutory or home rule charter city to pass ordinances establishing standards, applied uniformly in its jurisdiction, that impose reasonable conditions
upon the conversion of buildings to condominiums as long as there exists within the city a significant shortage of suitable rental dwellings available to low and moderate income individuals or families.

- According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and based on the 2000 Census, Minneapolis has 37,847 low income (less than or equal to 50% area median adjusted by size) households that pay more than 30% of their income for rent or live in overcrowded housing or housing lacking basic facilities. Of these, 27,992 were renter households, 35% of all renter
households.

- According to the 2005-2009 Minneapolis Consolidated Plan, Minneapolis has a shortage of 13,499 units of housing affordable to households earning below 30% of Metro Median Income.

- As of January 2007, there are approximately 10,999 households, 5,557 of which are families, on the waiting list for Minneapolis Public Housing Authority affordable housing units.

- According to the CPED report "Minneapolis' Condo Conversion Trend and its Effect on Affordable Housing," at least 283
affordable units were converted between 2001 and 2005, or 23% of the total conversions in that time period. This report
indicates a concentration of condo conversions in certain parts of the City, leading to an increased concentration of affordable
housing in other neighborhoods.

- The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, passed by the Minneapolis City Council on 12/1/06, identifies “shortage of affordable housing” as one of nine “root causes of homelessness.” The report calls for the City to “ensure the preservation of current affordable and supportive housing.”

- The Community Planning and Economic Development Department Housing Policy & Development Division lists as one of its goals “Preservation of currently affordable housing is a top priority for insuring continuing housing affordability in the city.”

- In the City’s latest round of Affordable Housing Trust Fund applications, the average total development cost of a new affordable rental unit was $195,572.

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