Sun Sets on Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

After losing a court battle with environmental groups, the city must revert to the land use regulations in its 2030 plan.

1 minute read

November 7, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Mississippi River, Downtown Minneapolis

Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock

The Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, once hailed by housing reform advocates for its elimination of single-family zoning, has been officially shelved as a court deadline passed last weekend, reports Tommy Wiita for Bring Me the News.

The city now has to revert to its 2030 plan after environmental groups successfully challenged the plan in court under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA), arguing that the land use changes in the plan would harm local ecosystems and pollute waterways.

“Some of the housing developments put forward under the 2040 plan will have to change under the old ordinances, causing some uncertainty for multiple projects,” Wiita adds, noting that, “since [Minneapolis 2040] was implemented three years ago, the city has seen an uptick in construction that has kept housing and rental prices more affordable at a time when inflation in other cities has skyrocketed.” The city says it will lose almost $10 million in funds already invested in affordable housing projects that will no longer be permitted.

According to an article by Susan Du in the Star Tribune, not all environmental groups agree with the ruling. “The Sierra Club, which filed an amicus brief in support of 2040, argued the plan's goals of increasing housing density along transit corridors would reduce carbon emissions by eliminating the need to own a car.”

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