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Local Housing Production Goals
Minnesota must be fairly unique in that it has two separate statutes that authorize the Met Council to negotiate fair share affordable housing goals with each city in the Twin Cities Metro area.  The Metropolitan Land Use Planning Act (MLUPA) requires cities to plan for their share of the regional housing need when they update comprehensive plans every ten years, while the Livable Communities Act (LCA) authorizes the Met Council to negotiate similar goals for all metro cities who wish to compete for grants under the LCA.

Generally, the Met Council tries to coordinate the goal setting under both laws so that goals are consistent.  (For more background, see articles at www.TCHousingPolicy.org)  This made the Council’s recent update of LCA goals quite surprising—for its lack of consistency.  Between 2008 and 2010, all cities in the Metro area were required to update their comprehensive plans, including updating affordable housing goals under MLUPA.  Meanwhile, 2010 also marks the conclusion of a 15 year goals process under LCA, and a need to create a new set of LCA goals.

Based on past history, observers expected the Met Council to use the just negotiated MLUPA goals for the LCA process as well.  However, reacting to arguments from cities that MLUPA goals were too difficult to meet, the Met Council lowered the bar for almost all cities to requiring that cities meet goals over the next decade equal to 60% of the same goals cities had just negotiated under MLUPA.  

On behalf of a group of advocates, HJC pointed out that such an approach undercut the MLUPA goals before the ink was barely dry on that process.  The real question, HJC argued, was how to use the goal setting process to influence cities to employ the most effective affordable housing policies out there.  While it is true that most cities are behind schedule on meeting their current housing goals, the truth is that more than a handful of cities have figured out how to meet or exceed their goals.  HJC urged an examination of the practices used by the most successful cities and then employ the incentives of a goal-setting process to enable lower level performers to adopt those same practices.  See, Op-Ed column submitted by HJC (then known as HPP) and published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, as well as a response column submitted by Metro Cities.