Minnesota Supreme Court Ruling A Landmark Victory For Housing Affordability

Image for Minnesota Supreme Court Ruling A Landmark Victory For Housing Affordability

Ruling Limits Local Government Fees On New Homes

In a major win for homeowners the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed today the ruling of the Minnesota Court of Appeals that limits local government fees on new homes. BATC-Housing First Minnesota Executive Director David Siegel issued the following statement regarding the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling in the Harstad v. Woodbury case.

“BATC-Housing First Minnesota commends the Minnesota Supreme Court for its ruling that will have a major impact on housing affordability,” said David Siegel. “We need cities to understand that every added fee drives up the cost of a home, pricing thousands of Minnesota families out of the housing market.”

Fees, like the City of Woodbury’s Major Roadway Assessment (MRA) fees at issue in this case, have long had a negative effect on housing affordability. These added fees are in addition to the millions of dollars of infrastructure payed for by developers each year. Home builders and developers do not object to paying for infrastructure, but are concerned that these fees are added unessearily at times at the expense of the homebuyer. In the Court’s decision, Justice G. Barry Anderson wrote:

Put another way, the pearl of great price here is approval of the subdivision agreement. A developer who fails to make a “voluntary” payment in an amount Woodbury finds acceptable faces the prospect of denial of the subdivision application. The infrastructure charge is thus a requirement and Harstad is correct that there is nothing voluntary about it.

Following today’s Supreme Court ruling, BATC-Housing First Minnesota sent a letter to the state’s top 25 cities in terms of new home development, seeking information regarding these cities’ fee structure on new development. BATC-Housing First Minnesota will engage local governments to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court directive, ensuring that fees and affordability are appropriately balanced.

BATC-Housing First Minnesota is the leading voice for home builders and remodelers and all who are dedicated to building safe, durable homes at a price Minnesotans can afford. Housing First Minnesota represents more