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Question: How do you think the market rate housing development of the last several years has impacted Minneapolis?
Most of the development over the last several years has been focused on one of two types, upper-income rental units (primarily downtown or uptown) and large, single family home construction. Both of these are outside the range of affordable housing. While the rental units have added housing supply, most teardowns seen in Ward 13 are a one-to-one replacement and do not do much to address the affordable housing supply shortage.
One doesn’t have to look far to realize there is still a problem that has not been addressed. Rental vacancy rates continue to be at historic lows. Affordable homes for sale (i.e. $150-$250K) continue to be in very short supply and the ones that are hitting the market are selling in record time and above asking price. Many people want to access the City and the means to do it affordably are almost nil.
Question: What policies will you pursue to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing in Minneapolis? Since state financing for affordable housing is limited, what additional funding sources would you seek? What are some alternative policies you’d pursue to remove barriers to housing affordability which would compensate for this lack of funding?
Access to affordable housing across the City is incredibly important. Both the supply of affordable housing and access across the City are problematic. I would work to address these problems in a number of ways:
I support policies that diversify our subsidized housing stock. This includes the support of a section 8 anti-discrimination policy, a landlord damage fund, and exploring project-based vouchers to support housing in areas that have an undersupply of affordable housing. We also need to consider a regional approach to housing and I would work with the Met Council to make sure our suburban neighbors are building their fare share of affordable housing.
I also support changes to the zoning code to allow for more than one type of housing in areas that are currently limited to single family housing, and that may help to increase the supply of housing options for those that want to move into the neighborhood and those that want to age in place. Bryant Avenue in Ward 13 is a great example of this type of opportunity. This area represents a mix of single family, multi-unit housing, and apartment buildings.
I would support inclusionary zoning that mandates units of affordable housing within development projects.
Question: The vast majority of Minneapolis is zoned exclusively for single-family homes, while most of the units we currently build are in large apartment buildings in or near downtown. Single-family homes and large apartment buildings tend to be more expensive per unit than missing middle housing (for example, a fourplex). How do we use the currently ongoing update to the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan to allow a mix of housing types across Minneapolis that are less expensive to rent, own, and build?
Right now, residents in Ward 13 do not have much a choice with their housing. Either someone buys the house and moves in, or they tear down the property and typically build a much bigger house that impact livability for neighbors. I would advocate for increased zoning options to accommodate a greater diversity of the type of housing like middle housing. I know many residents are frustrated with the size of the houses going up and middle housing can provide a different option and footprint over those currently being torn down and built.
Do you think there’s a place for light commercial spaces like small cafes and corner stores in neighborhood interiors? Do you believe there are other areas where restrictive zoning has led to worse outcomes for neighborhoods?
It may depend on the space, the neighborhood, and the businesses themselves.
Are there any other issues related to housing or zoning that you believe are important enough to address as a city council member? What specific policy goals would you pursue in this area?
My vision for Ward 13 is to build a place for everyone. Right now, there are very few places in the Ward that offer housing for low- or middle-income residents. I believe part of making a place for everyone, in addition to allowing everyone to frequent your businesses and to use your parks, is to provide a diversity of housing so those at all income levels can have an opportunity to live in the neighborhood and prosper. In addition, many folks in Ward 13 want to age in place but may be priced out of the market either by cost of housing or property taxes. Providing additional housing options to help with affordability is an important lever in increasing the housing supply and allowing folks to age in place.