Reverse the Construction Moratorium in Mpls. Ward 13

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Ms Palmisano -

We are writing you to voice our disagreement with the moratorium against new construction in Ward 13 that you engineered through the city council on Friday, March 7th.

As a threshold matter, we want to make sure you understand that the process by which this matter was passed and communicated was inappropriate. There was no notice this was being considered to your constituents. Your job as our representative is to provide notice and engage in dialogue with all constituents who feel they will be impacted by actions like this before they are taken. You represent all of your constituents, not just those with whom you associate regularly or who write to complain about something. Rather than follow a proper process, you engaged in no dialogue with parties who would be harmed by your actions. You then went to the March 7th city council meeting and moved to add the moratorium into the agenda in real time. Again, no warning and no notice. It was then passed with no discussion, the other council members whose Wards are not tied to the moratorium having no reason to oppose your request.

No one takes issue with the fact construction processes can be improved. A moratorium isn't needed to make those improvements. The rules people are following in construction processes were put in place by the city. So any problems with the structure and enforcement of those rules are primarily of the city's own making. The city is positioned to change those rules or enhance its own enforcement in ways that will enhance processes for impacted parties without putting a moratorium in place. That is best done through real dialogue with residents, builders and other businesses who engage in construction projects. Other cities in our area have managed to improve their processes without halting building. A recent Star Tribune article highlights the experience of Edina. And we'd be wise to take a cue from their process.

The moratorium causes great damage to our Ward. Your own announcement of the moratorium stated that builders cannot be isolated in the improvement process. Yet we already are aware of builders who are examining whether to bring a law suit against you and the city over the moratorium. Why? Because you have alienated them and threatened their livelihoods. And it isn't just builders who are harmed by the moratorium. It's families stuck in the cue who are out their investment in the city's process. It's seniors who may have an old home that a young family would only buy if they could renovate or rebuild. It's subcontractors to builders like plumbers, electricians, landscapers, driveway and concrete firms and all of their employees. It's interior decorators. It's architects. It's bankers, insurance companies and lawyers who rely on real estate transactions. It's retailers who sell everything from hardware supplies to coffee that workers will drink. The list goes on and on.

The moratorium causes damage to the city as a whole as well. You have sent a chilling message about our desire to attract investment to the most vital parts of the city. Ward 13 is the city's greatest residential tax base. And by putting this moratorium in place you are telling people their investment isn't welcome. You may claim it is just temporary. That isn't how it will be perceived. The perception will be that Minneapolis can change the rules at any time for any reason and is a risky place to invest. The impact on the city's revenues will be significant. New construction and remodeling raises new tax revenues. And that lost revenue will be felt in our basic services, in our schools and elsewhere. It ultimately may well put added pressure on the city to raise property taxes - something the general population does not want nor can really afford.

We urge you to do the right and just thing. Reverse the moratorium and engage in meaningful dialogue on how the city can address improving construction process rules in a manner that does not alienate important contributors to that discussion.


The Below Signed Constituents of Ward 13, Other Residents of Minneapolis and Parties Who Engage In Business in Ward 13

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