Minneapolis City Council to vote on 'Missing Middle' housing pilot program

June 07, 2019 12:23 PM

The City of Minneapolis owns hundreds of empty lots. Most of them are residential, and many are on the north side, now the city has a new plan to fill them.

The Minneapolis City Council will vote on the the pilot program Friday. It's called "Missing Middle."

The program would fill vacant lots with multi-family housing, up to 20 units.

City leaders say the goal is to add more affordable housing for individuals and families to buy or to rent.

The city allocated $500,000 from the 2019 budget for the program, which would give developers up to $95,000 per affordable unit.

Proposals have to be cost effective, meet affordable needs, include equitable work opportunities and design features. But some residents are concerned about the approach the city is taking.

Some residents agreed there is a need for more affordable housing, but disagree with the city's approach.

"As a taxpayer, I find it interesting that we are going to pay developers who seem to have no problem finding properties to develop," said Lisa McDonald.

McDonald, a former city council member, and other concerned residents formed the group "Minneapolis for Everyone."

While the plan prioritizes filling vacant land, the group worries the city will allow developers to tear down existing homes and add large buildings to neighborhoods

"I don't see how this plan provides family housing," said McDonald.

Minneapolis' project coordinator Kevin Knase acknowledged the concerns. He said the goal is to add more housing, and giving developers incentives should ensure there are more affordable options.

Proposals to use city-owned land will be given preference, and Knase said the city plans to sell the lots for fair market value.

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