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:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Inspections Enforcing Laws That Don't Exist

One of the pieces of literature I handed out during Welcome Week activities last week along with City staff and folks from the U of M was this "Grade Your Living Space" piece, prepared by the Minneapolis Inspections Department.

The last point of this otherwise good piece asserts that open porches can NOT have "couches, lazy-boys (sic), or any type of indoor furniture."

The problem with this is that it's not, well, true.

Such a prohibition was definitely proposed by Council Member Hofstede in 2009.  But as you can see here (scroll to page 328) or here, or here, or here, this ordinance did not pass.  In fact, it failed by a wide margin, with nine Council Members voting against it and only four voting for it.

This isn't the first time I've heard about Inspections using this non-law for enforcement activities.  Earlier this year, a constituent of Council Member Schiff was given a violation order from the City that attempted to require her to remove (and throw away) the sofa on her porch.  My office pointed to the same evidence I've provided here that this ordinance was never passed.

I've sent Inspections staff an email asking them to stop enforcing this nonexistent ordinance, and I understand the flyer has already been changed so it is ready for more accurate future printings, but I figured that since we've been putting this misinformation out into the public I should also correct the record here.


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