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Edina Looking to Increase Rentals, Affordable Housing Near Light-Rail Stations

The Edina city council held a work session on housing options Tuesday.

Credit: Southwest Light-Rail.
Credit: Southwest Light-Rail.

Last March the Southwest Light-Rail project released results for a study it commissioned on housing options offered by the southwest suburbs.

While Minneapolis and St. Louis Park offered more than 17 programs—such as land trusts, fix-up funds, rental ordinances and foreclosure prevention—Edina was found to offer “very few.”

Neighborhoods in Edina’s north and west are within a mile of six proposed light-rail stations, and about 9 percent of the city’s workforce are employed within a half mile of proposed stations.

Though the Southwest line is still hotly contested, Edina officials are taking a second look at the city’s housing policies with an eye toward offering more rentals and affordable housing near the Southwest corridor.

Senior planner Joyce Repya presented an update on the light-rail corridor housing strategy to the Edina city council on Tuesday.

“They would like to adopt a policy to encourage more affordable housing in the community,” she said.

Edina does have at least four rental units in the Southwest corridor—two general occupancy and two reserved for seniors—plus a number of affordable condos in the area.

“It isn’t anything that’s subsidized or Section 8 or anything like that—it’s just naturally occurring affordability,” Royce said.

And Edina has a number of multi-unit rental buildings, though they’re mostly situated near Fairview, out of the Southwest corridor.

But when it comes to Federal funding guidelines, which call for “a mix of housing options for existing and future residents,” Edina falls short.

Royce said that she didn’t know the precise percentage of Edina housing considered affordable, but that she suspected changes would need to be made to meet when the guidelines go into effect in May/June of 2014.

“In order to access federal funding, you’ll need to be providing a minimum of 20 percent affordable housing,” she said.
Mike B. December 04, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Well, the liberal Met Council-type do-gooders are at it again! They are trying to force rental housing down out throats. Edina has heretofore been a safe city. The liberals don't care about current Edina residents. They just want to bring the inner-city problems to the suburbs.
lindsey s December 05, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Maybe they could take a look at all the affordable housing being bought up by the developers then torn down and replaced with mcmansions.
David F December 05, 2013 at 09:30 AM
If the SWLRT is built it will drive up land values in the area but I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for SWLRT. There is enough opposition to the route of the line that I doubt it will ever be built. Talk of taking out park land and a tunnel will kill the project.
Mike B. December 05, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Property values decline and crime increases with light rail. A perfect example is LaMesa, California, east of San Diego. As soon as they extended the trolley to LaMesa from San Diego, crime has skyrocketed in once-peaceful LaMesa, as the San Diego gangs have extended their turf.
David F December 05, 2013 at 09:22 PM
According to the LaMesa police chief property crimes went up 13% from 2011 to 2012. How do you define skyrocketing? I have lived in San Diego and its proximity to Mexico creates some unique issues. BART in SF is an example of a system that works relatively well and has had a positive impact on property values.

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