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Improve Transparency and Efficiency in Government Decision-Making:

Public Notice for Housing Moratorium

Background

Minnesota law allows a municipality to enact a development moratorium that suspends a property owner's right to use property for up to one year.  Enactment of a moratorium does not require public notice or a hearing (unlike other zoning regulations) and can be accomplished by a simple majority vote.

We support the right of a municipality to enact a moratorium to review its comprehensive plan and zoning regulations.  However; the current process of enacting a moratorium does not adequately protect the rights of affected homeowners, landowners, or developers who lose the right to lawfully use their property while the moratorium is in effect.

Issue

Today, there is no due process required for property owners before the use of their property is ‎frozen by a moratorium for up to a year. ‎ Individuals and companies that are involved with housing should be notified of any proposed moratorium to limit the use of their property, and they should be provided an opportunity to raise objections or concerns at a public hearing. 

Some of the challenges faced by home buyers include:

·       Process Timelines – The inter-connected nature of the real estate market requires as much certainty and transparency as possible. When a moratorium occurs without notice, the timeline disruptions impact families and property owners up and down the home buying chain. 

·       Basic Fairness -  We expect our governments to provide timely information that impacts citizens of a community and state. If a local government is considering something as consequential as a moratorium on housing, where property is frozen for up to a year, notice and an opportunity to be heard is a basic and reasonable expectation.

Bill Summary

Key features of HF330-Nash and SF 201-Hall include:

·       Modifying the current statute to require a 10-day notice and a public hearing before enacting a moratorium that would regulate, restrict, or prohibit activities relating to housing.

·       Requiring advance notice and a public hearing before imposing a moratorium that would regulate, restrict, or prohibit activities relating to housing.

·       Align the voting requirement to impose a moratorium to reflect similar major land use decisions (comprehensive plan amendments, zoning changes).

Issue specifics and bill language are subject to change.*