In August 2019, the Minneapolis City Council adopted an ordinance banning new drive-through windows in the city. With the adoption of the new Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, beginning in January of 2020, all gas stations will soon be prohibited, as well. These policy changes are part of the City’s aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas

Politics can be loud. With all the national media and punditry focused on the 2020 presidential primary, it would be easy to miss the significant local races on the ballot this November. However, with economic markers pointing towards a potential slowdown or recession, having a strong understanding of the local political landscape is essential for

The fact that Minnesota, and especially the metropolitan region of St. Paul/Minneapolis, is experiencing a severe affordable housing crisis is not disputed.  The Metropolitan Council recently released data documenting that the metro region of Minnesota is growing substantially but that the supply of new housing, affordable across a broad range of housing types, is lagging. 

Last week the City of Bloomington adopted an expansive “inclusionary zoning” ordinance for the purpose of compelling developers of single and multifamily housing to include a portion of their new housing as affordable based on prescribed income standards.  “Inclusionary zoning” refers to a policy that compels developers to include some land use component desired by

In the realm of local land use there are few development proposals that have the tendency to evoke neighborhood resistance than a new group home. The response is particularly vehement when the home is intended to serve those with chemical dependency and especially controversial in a low-density neighborhood. While most people acknowledge a need for

Cities throughout Minnesota are busy updating their comprehensive plans, a process that typically occurs every 10 years or so. As a reminder, comprehensive plans serve as the visionary roadmap for a city’s intended long-term growth; the implementing tools are the zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance and similar policies. Of course, cities have the discretion to amend

Those of us who advise business clients, including real estate development clients, about state and local regulatory matters are pretty comfortable working under the long-standing division of authority between cities and state or federal regulators. We understand, for example, that local units of government are creatures of the state legislature, with powers limited to the

Forgive developer Martin Harstad if he thought he was in Potterville and not Woodbury when the city told him he had to pay nearly $1.4 million in “road assessments” as a condition of approval for his “Bailey Park” residential development. Harstad sued Woodbury to challenge its authority to demand the road assessments and won