19 Aug 2014
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Poll: Does The City Know What It's Doing With Housing?

A planning commissioner recently said he thought the city was "guessing" when it came to housing.

Poll: Does The City Know What It's Doing With Housing?

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Since the approval of the City of Richfield's most recent comprehensive plan, a number of redevelopment projects have come across the desks of city staff and officials—many with housing components.

According to the city's website, the comprehensive plan aims to provide a long-term vision for the city and act as a guide for officials to make decisions regarding land use, parks, transportation and so on. State law requires cities to complete a new plan at least every 10 years.

At for the proposed Pillsbury Commons facility was meant to help commissioners gather input and decide whether the project would adhere to city ordinances as well as match-up with the comprehensive plan.

While resident and commissioner opinions varied, Commissioner Tom Rublein made some interesting comments in order to "address some elephants in the room." With the Metropolitan Council requiring the city to add hundreds of new affordable housing units in the next decade or so, Richfield's short land supply and conflicting reports of how the housing market is doing, Rublein said:

"Where was everybody when the comp plan was put together? This designation [for rezoning to medium- to high-density] has been in the comp plan for quite some time for the city garage. Where have people been? ... People are not paying attention to this stuff. So now we come to this proposal, and Ron Clark has put a lot of work into this, I commend him for that. ... But we really haven't discussed what our housing policy is. We've got a new Stantec report and we're rushing to say. 'Oh gosh, we can justify this rental housing by this .' And I don't really think we're thinking deep enough into this. The concentration of affordable housing alone for me, in this area, ... is something that causes me grave concern, that we're really not sure what we're doing. ... We're guessing."

Now, Pillsbury Commons is one of a three proposed and pending projects ( and ) planning to add to the Richfield housing stock in the next few years. And the city recently commissioned a rental housing study from Stantec to get more information on the city's needs.

Do you feel the city and its officials know what their doing with housing? Cast your vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

A video of the planning commission meeting has been added to this article. Rublein's comments begin at about the 3 hour mark.

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See our " Pillsbury Commons" topic page for more articles on the project.

See our "Richfield Redevelopment" topic page for more redevelopment news.

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