House passes scaled-back land use bill

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The House passed a dramatically scaled-back version of a bill that addresses land use disputes between local governments and developers.

The amended version of HF389*/ SF270, sponsored by Rep. Mike Beard (R-Shakopee), would require local governments to give greater public notice before adopting interim ordinances that can halt developments for one to two years.

Earlier versions of the bill proposed much tighter restrictions on adoption of the ordinances, which are also known as “land use moratoria.” Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park) successfully amended the bill, with Beard’s support, to remove a number of provisions that were opposed by counties and townships.

Under the new language, the local elected body would have to provide a 10-day notice before holding a public hearing at which an interim ordinance could be adopted. Beard said the proposal represents a compromise that he and the bill’s proponents worked out with representatives of local governments. He called it “about as good a consensus as we can find on this bill.”

The House passed the bill 76-53. It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Ray Vandeveer (R-Forest Lake) is the sponsor.

Supporters claim interim ordinances can be misused in order to arbitrarily delay development projects and wear the developers down financially. Opponents say they provide local officials with a tool to protect their communities from potentially harmful new kinds of land uses.

The issue has recently gained publicity because interim ordinances have been used to halt a number of proposed frac sand mining operations in southeastern Minnesota.

The bill would also prohibit municipalities from requiring land dedication or fees in development contracts that are not authorized by statute or mutually agreed upon by all parties to the development.