Condo conversion regulations: The City Council voted 7-6 against an ordinance calling for restrictions on converting apartments to condominiums.
Council Member Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) authored the failed ordinance, which was meant to address a recent affordable housing loss and improve protection of condominium buyers.
The ordinance would have required converters to apply for a permit from the city's Department of Regulatory Services and receive city approval before redeveloping a building. The applicant would have to provide descriptions of repairs and improvements as well as current rent, projected selling cost of a converted unit and other details. Some tenants in converted buildings would have been eligible for a relocation payment, according to the ordinance.
Gordon said many tenants have suffered during the condo conversion boom of the last several years, and more than 283 affordable units were lost to such developments between 2001 and 2005.
Council Member Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) called the ordinance a “solution in search of a problem,” arguing that condo conversions provide affordable housing for people who need it most. She said the ordinance was just another hoop for developers to jump through.
Council members also discussed the need for more accurate and up-to-date statistics.
New development: An ordinance to rezone properties at 2833 Lyndale Ave. to permit the construction of a mixed-use building with 109 dwelling units and commercial space was approved.
West Lake Street construction: The Council approved a funding agreement between the city, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County for the reconstruction of West Lake Street. The Council also decided to delay a resolution establishing uniform assessment rates for 2007 street construction and renovation because of a 20 percent jump in assessments for businesses on West Lake Street.
Billboard moratorium: The Council approved a moratorium on electronic billboards. The moratorium was enacted immediately. Council members will evaluate which parts of the city are appropriate for such signs.