Policy and Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing Development In Twin Cities Suburban Communities

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Policy and Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing Development In Twin Cities Suburban Communities

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Other reports have examined regulatory and financial barriers to development of suburban affordable housing, though few have approached the topic from the perspective of the community developer. In partnership with the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), this report uses this lens to examine regulatory and financial barriers that currently exist within suburban communities throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. This study will demonstrate the need for greater administrative and procedural flexibility within municipalities, in tandem with community support, in order to make progress on suburban affordable housing development. Case studies were conducted within eight first- and second-ring suburbs within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Of the eight cities in this report, half are considered model cities, which use some combination of regulatory flexibility, financial commitment, and community support to successfully develop affordable housing in their community. The additional four cities are considered support cities, who have a proven record of commitment to affordable housing, but may consider implementing additional tools to increase production in the future. Municipalities were chosen based on which were best equipped to implement best practices, generate political and community support, and feasibly support development, as determined by availability and track-record of a commitment of public resources. Building off the Minnesota Challenge’s Cost Containment Report and a 2009 Center for Urban and Regional Affairs-sponsored student capstone project entitled, “A Vision for the Next Decade: Planning for Affordable Housing in the Twin Cities Metro”, this report attempts to create a framework for understanding the various factors that help or hinder suburban cities’ ability to develop affordable housing. Using this framework, the report documents current regulatory and financial barriers as well as barriers to community support in eight municipalities within the metropolitan area. To summarize the case studies, matrices documenting regulatory, financial, and community support practices of each study city have also been included. In an effort comprehensively understand the climate of suburban affordable housing throughout the region, case studies will reflect Kingdon’s three stream approach by attempting to synthesize the problems and opportunities of each community, while analyzing policies and community support regarding affordable housing. Each case study begins with a brief summary of findings, followed by a more descriptive narrative, and ends with lessons learned and recommendations for further improvement to enhance already ongoing efforts.

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Conducted on behalf of the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers. Supported by the Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program, a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.

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Brown, Erika. (2016). Policy and Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing Development In Twin Cities Suburban Communities. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/178764.

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