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Edina considers allowing developers to pay to skip affordable housing construction

The Glean

Edinans gonna Edina ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. From John Reinan in the Star Tribune we learn, “… the city is considering adopting an affordable-housing policy with an unusual twist: allowing developers to buy their way out of building affordable housing. … It may sound backward. But the idea is that collecting hefty fees from developers of luxury housing will allow the city to build a pool of cash that it can use to create affordable housing elsewhere in the city, either on its own or in partnership with other developers or nonprofits. The City Council is expected to discuss the idea at its Tuesday meeting. The city currently has no affordable-housing policy.”

Cue complaints of low prices in 5 … 4 … But for now, John Weiss of the Rochester Post- Bulletin reports farmers seem happy: “The soybean harvest is about half done, maybe a bit more, said Todd Stockdale, grain department manager at the All-American Co-op in Stewartville. It might seem that the harvest is early because it’s been a bit warmer than usual, he said. But remember, ‘it’s the first week of October,’ he said. ‘This is about the time we’re harvesting beans.’ … So far, the beans that have come in have looked good, not too wet or dry, he said. … Yields appear to be good. ‘I don’t hear a lot of complaints’ so it must mean they are good,’ Stockdale said.”

A man died in an apparently random shooting in St. Paul last night. The Pioneer Press’ Mara H. Gottfried reports, “ Htoo Baw, 54, was returning to his home in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. He got out of his car and a male approached him, perhaps in an attempt to carjack him, and shot him, according to a law enforcement source. A member of the victim’s church said he had been told the suspect had tried to take a bag Baw was carrying. … One theory police are exploring is whether the suspect in the first shooting was looking for a way to flee the area and tried to take Baw’s car to do so, shooting him in the process, according to the law enforcement source.”

If there’s a silver lining to the emerald ash borer infestation, it’s that it’s taught us a valuable lesson about the dangers of monoculture. Per the Star Tribune’s Beatrice Dupuy, Hennepin County got the message: “Hennepin County will move 500 hardy young trees to county properties as part of its fight to preserve the area’s canopy in the face of spreading emerald ash borer infestations. … The county grew the trees in [a] gravel bed, the cost of which has been about $23,700 so far, to help them develop stronger root systems, said Mike Reinikainen, a Hennepin County tree specialist. The hardy and diverse trees will be used to diversify the canopy and to replace ash trees. The county is now home to about 1 million ash trees.”

In other news…

Cargill: Trans-Pacific Partnership good!

Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition: Trans-Pacific Partnership (probably) bad!

These are gonna look great on the walls of those luxury suites: “Vikings & MSFA Select Nearly 3 Dozen Local Artists For U.S. Bank Stadium Art Collection” [Minesota Vikings]

“The beloved West Bank vagrant known simply as Chester was reportedly found dead on Saturday.” [City Pages]

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/06/2015 - 01:48 pm.

    The dangers of monoculture

    Seriously? We’re only learning that *now*?

    Can anyone say “Dutch Elm Disease”?

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/06/2015 - 03:16 pm.


    Hmmm. “Affordable housing” and “Edina” don’t readily fit together in the same sentence. Even to this relative newcomer, the two seem… well… oxymoronic.

    More to the point, my experience in a pair of municipal governments that used this technique in Colorado was that these kinds of compensatory fees “…in lieu of…“ some desirable community goal (I’m sure there are some in Edina who don’t think this particular goal is desirable at all.) rarely accomplish what those in charge say they will. Either the amount is too small to provide meaningful change – in this case significant numbers of affordable homes (i.e., costing residents no more than 30% of metro area median income) – or, if the dollars really do begin to accumulate, other demands on the municipal budget will nibble away at them until they fall short (see the previous sentence) of what’s needed. Often, the “other demands” are more “wants” than “needs,” but since affordable housing is not likely to be something the City of Edina would adopt by acclamation anyway, else it would have done so by now, most of the powers-that-be will find justifications for spending the money on something else without any great uproar from the more typical Edina residents. In other words, I don’t foresee mass demonstrations by affluent Edina citizens demanding that the City provide affordable housing for Hispanic gardeners and other household personnel, whether seasonal or permanent, or for the retail workers populating the shops at 50th and France and other locations within the City.

  3. Submitted by Moira Heffron on 10/06/2015 - 04:15 pm.

    Affordable housing matters

    Thanks, Ray, for your comment about what would likely turn into a NIMBY policy. And, just to remind us all, affordable housing is not just for gardeners and retail employees but also for the people who teach your children and provide other essential services to the community as well as for a less affluent aging population. The most startling statement in the article, however, was “the city currently has no affordable housing policy.” I would have thought that was a requirement for participation in any number of metro and state programs, initiatives, etc.

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