What’s happening: Minneapolis is pushing back against a recent Hennepin County District Court ruling that has temporarily paused the roll-out of the city’s ambitious “Minneapolis 2040” housing plan.
Why it matters: Hennepin County District Court Judge Joseph Klein’s Sept. 5th decision handed a win to two NIMBY groups, indicating concerns that the city’s new zoning provisions could cause “irreparable harm to the environment” such as harm caused by making existing city neighborhoods denser.
- In his ruling, Judge Klein highlighted the scale of the plan: “The 2040 Plan’s provision for nearly 150,000 new residential units is 100 times more than the minimum number of new unattached residential units and 150 times more than that of new attached units requiring a mandatory environmental impact statement (EIS).”
- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey expressed his concerns over the ruling: “This is a big deal for people that need to live in Minneapolis. We’re going to fight this one.”
- The Minneapolis 2040 plan, passed in December 2018, was revolutionary. It was the nation’s first to eradicate single-family zoning that spanned half the city, promoting multi-family units across all areas.
- Since its inception, the plan has reportedly paved the way for 256 affordable housing units that wouldn’t have seen the light under older zoning laws.
What they’re saying:
- Ward 5 Council Member Jeremiah Ellison emphasized the broader implications of the ruling: “Defending 2040 is a racial justice issue as much as it is a housing production and affordable housing issue.”
- NIMBY & Environmentalist David Hartwell lauded the ruling: “It’s about time. The city needs to consider the environmental consequences of this action… They just didn’t think about that from an environmental perspective.”
The other side: While Judge Klein’s decision poses an obstacle for the 2040 plan, it doesn’t entirely shelve it. The ruling allows the plan to resume if the city addresses the “environmental” concerns. Meanwhile, the city has 60 days to revert to its preceding “Minneapolis 2030” zoning regulations.
What’s next: The city has officially filed a notice of appeal, signaling the beginning of a potentially protracted legal battle. Given the stakes — housing affordability, environmental concerns, and city development — all eyes will be on Minneapolis in the coming months.