Advocacy Update 8-9-2021 Tags: Government Affairs

Minneapolis City Council Update — ‘Government Structure’ Temporarily on Hold, Two Rent Control Proposals Advance

The City of Minneapolis Policy and Government Oversight Committee met on Wednesday, August 4 at 1:30 PM. They considered ballot questions on 1) ‘Government Structure’ and 2) Rent Control. The ‘Government Structure’ question did not make it out of committee. The committee decided to wait a week before proceeding. This is because the ‘Government Structure’ question has been challenged with a lawsuit and a preliminary hearing is to take place on Monday, August 9, 2021. The basis of the challenge is whether or not ‘Explanatory Notes’ regarding the ballot question itself is even legal and whether the text of the notes is misleading since some concepts are current practice and other practices would be new. The city is hoping they will have direction on that issue and can take action next week.

In the same meeting, both Rent Control provisions were passed. The committee voted to proceed with both the ‘citizen-led initiative’ and the ‘rent control by council ordinance’ ballot questions with explanatory notes. There was some additional conversation and confusion about explanatory notes but ultimately did pass both Rent Control ballot questions out of committee and onto the full council. The vote on the ‘rent control by council ordinance’ was 11-1 in favor. The vote on the ‘citizen-led initiative’ was 7-4 with 1 abstention or 7-4-1.  The city council is aware of a potential for a Mayoral Veto on either one or both rent control provisions and they seem to be leaving themselves time for a potential ‘veto-override,’ if necessary.

A note about the Minneapolis City Council and key August deadlines. The Minneapolis full city council is set to meet both on August 6 and August 18.  The final day to file for public office is August 10. The deadline to report all ballot questions from the city to the county clerk is August 20. After that point, state law prohibits the ability to add anything else to the official ballot. We do anticipate the Minneapolis City Council to convene their Friday, August 6 meeting to conduct some business but instead of adjourning, they will likely recess that meeting with the intent of picking that meeting back up on Tuesday, August 11.


Update on Minneapolis TOPA Campaign

Minneapolis Area REALTORS® has officially concluded our TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act) campaign in the city of Minneapolis. The city was originally set to publish a draft ordinance on July 1, 2021, and as of yet, has not done so. We timed our campaign to have that date occur inside the campaign period. This allowed us to frame the issue on our terms rather than have the issue framed against us. The campaign analytics returned exceedingly positive results with a majority of Minneapolis residents favoring our position and expressing concern about the TOPA concept. We have been advised by a person with knowledge that the city council will now not likely take up this issue this year and certainly not before the election. Minneapolis Realtor® members and staff are taking this delay as a win! There are many thanks for this effort not the least of which is our partner on the campaign the Minnesota Realtors®. Thank you!


Brooklyn Park Special Election for Mayor

Minneapolis Area REALTORS® Government Affairs Committee staff and members are looking ahead to special election results for Mayor in Brooklyn Park. The general election is next week on Tuesday, August 10. The seat was vacated by REALTORS® Party Champion Mayor Jeff Lunde having won a seat on Hennepin County Commissioners District 1. The MNRPAC endorsed candidate is Hollies Winston and more can be learned about Hollies here.


The City of Hopkins will be reinstating its Rental Inspection Program (RIP)

The City of Hopkins will be reinstating their Rental Inspection Program (RIP) at the end of 2021 after making updates to the program. Industry leaders and community members have been consulted to revise Hopkins RIP to make their inspection process more efficient and equitable. With simplified guidelines and fewer inspections for top-performing housing providers, the revised Hopkins RIP is a marked improvement on the previous policy which was paused due to last year’s public health emergency.

Last week the Hopkins City Council heard public comment regarding the planned unit development agreement for the intersection of Blake Road South and Excelsior Boulevard. This rezoning plan is expected to create 770 residential units as well as commercial spaces adjacent to the anticipated light rail station. Concerns for the welfare of small businesses currently occupying this space were raised in contrast to the ever-growing need for increased residential inventory development. Hopkins City Council will review the second reading of this proposal on Monday, August 17 at 7:00 PM.


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