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Minneapolis is Ground Zero in the Democrat Push to Abolish the Suburbs

AMAC Exclusive – by Seamus Brennan


Among the policy issues quickly ascending to the forefront of American politics is the systematic effort of Democrats to abolish the suburbs by eliminating single-family zoning. Legislators in California recently enacted laws to eliminate zoning protections for single-family neighborhoods, and progressive-minded liberals in dozens of other cities and states are trying to do the same. The initiative is also being pushed by President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. But the movement to ban single-family zoning didn’t begin in the Golden State. It started in Minneapolis, and its origins there warrant attention so that other jurisdictions can ready themselves for the arguments to abolish single-family zoning—which could soon be coming to your neighborhood.

Minnesota has been particularly hard-hit by high housing costs and the availability of affordable housing—more so than any other state the nation. As Jeff Johnson, former state legislator and Republican candidate for Governor from Minnesota put it, “Nearly everyone acknowledges that the lack of housing available for people of low and middle income is one of the most serious problems facing the Twin Cities.”

Johnson notes that according to a measure used to determine housing affordability, nearly a third of Minneapolis residents in 2017 were “cost-burdened,” or spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses. As a result, 85 percent of Minneapolis residents cannot afford newly constructed homes. On top of this, only 12 percent of “affordable housing” units built in 2017 were actually affordable to low-income residents.

In 2019, in an effort to encourage the construction of more affordable housing units, Minneapolis became the first American city to ban single-family zoning in all of its neighborhoods. The initiative to tackle housing costs was described in its early phases as “a social experiment of epic proportions.”

Supporters of the enterprise generally cite three rationales for pushing this unprecedented policy: increasing affordability, atoning for systemic racism, and addressing concerns about climate change. “In Minneapolis, for now, we have a political coalition that is supportive of adding more housing and demanding a race-equity approach to housing access,” the city council president said. The Atlantic echoed this sentiment, claiming in reference to the city’s zoning plan that “single-family zoning not only segregates people by race and class, but also artificially increases prices and hurts the environment.”

Joe Biden himself has also recently advocated for such so-called zoning reform on the basis of combatting “racial discrimination,” “the racial wealth gap,” and “racial injustice.” Moreover, Biden’s campaign website advocated the use of housing policy to “battle climate change.” In particular, Biden champions “[a]ltering local regulations to eliminate sprawl and allow for denser, more affordable housing near public transit [that] would cut commute times for many of the country’s workers while decreasing their carbon footprint.”

Despite such claims, however, the fact remains that the reasons for the housing crisis in states like Minnesota have little to do with racism or lingering effects from the Jim Crow era; rather, they are largely the result of blue state government regulations and codes. “No amount of spending will solve (or even lessen) this problem,” Jeff Johnson writes, “unless government is willing to do what it hasn’t in the past: reform and actually roll back government mandates, regulations and fees that are contributing considerably to the lack of affordable housing in the Twin Cities.”

As Johnson goes on to observe, Minnesota has “the strictest codes in the Midwest” and “myriad fees and zoning restrictions” that exacerbate high costs of living. Additionally, although racially restrictive covenants did in fact prevent racial minorities from purchasing homes in certain jurisdictions over the course of many decades, such covenants have been banned in Minnesota since 1962. In fact, America’s suburbs are now more diverse than ever before, offering a welcome escape from the crime and poverty that plague Democrat-run inner cities. Today, the majority of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans live in the suburbs.

One of the leading sources of the skyrocketing housing costs in Minneapolis is the state’s Metropolitan Council, a regional planning organization comprised of unelected members charged with mandating arbitrary “growth boundaries” and “urban containment boundaries” to prevent housing development outside of the Twin Cities’ “urban core.” Despite experts’ claims that building beyond urban areas has been “a successful strategy for developers for decades” and that “people drive to affordability,” Lisa Barajas, the Council’s director of community development, said that “the region doesn’t need more single-family homes.” Thus, rather than building more suburbs that extend beyond the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the unaccountable Metropolitan Council has instead opted to break up the existing suburbs—a decision that is, in reality, only further aggravating high housing costs. Real estate developers now have an incentive to bid up the cost of land and turn former single-family lots into multi-family rental apartment buildings.

Efforts to ban single-family zoning are now rapidly spreading throughout the nation and becoming a significant component of the Democrat agenda. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat nominee for Governor of Virginia, has called for “spearheading zoning reform”—for which he was notably attacked in a recent television advertisement. McAuliffe’s campaign website promotes his policy under the banner of “Neighbors for More Neighbors,” a slogan that was—not-so-incidentally—the name of one of the leading coalitions behind abolishing single-family zoning in Minnesota. As Stanley Kurtz recently wrote for National Review, there are reasons to believe “zoning may be on the cusp of emerging as a high-profile political issue.”

Even the New York Times has acknowledged that the elimination of single-family zoning laws would substantially increase housing prices in addition to effectively destroying suburban America as it currently exists. The path to lowering housing costs does not need to include the construction of high-density housing units in single-family neighborhoods, and the source of high housing costs is not “systemic racism”—instead, it’s very often the government imposing costly regulations and other impediments, including those being issued from unaccountable bureaucracies like Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council. Until the American people can fully understand the damage inflicted by government-driven housing mandates and regulations like those in places like Minnesota, the housing affordability crisis will not diminish, but almost certainly worsen. The Democrat plan to abolish single-family zoning will only further compound the problem.

Minneapolis is gradually cementing its status as the birthplace of dangerous left-wing ideas and movements. Is it any surprise that so-called “housing reform” movement emerged from the same city as the “Defund the Police” movement, and that combatting “systemic racism” was cited as a reason for both? Should Democrats win out in their crusade to eliminate single-family zoning, America is in danger of becoming an increasingly feudal country—a nation of permanent renters to corporate landlords.

The city of Minneapolis offers us a dire warning about the rise of alarming left-wing ideas and trends that eventually circulate throughout the entire nation. Every American—and every conservative in particular—should recognize the left’s movement to abolish residential single-family neighborhoods for what it is and do everything in our power to oppose it while we still can.

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1 month ago

This isn’t about housing for people that can’t afford a home. It is about putting more Democrats in a neighborhood by putting high-rise buildings where more Democrat voters can be put into a voting area. The Democrats cater to the low-income and minorities for their base voting and this way they can have higher voting rates in an area.

Remember, Democrats never do anything for people unless it helps them stay in power.

Peter Joseph
1 month ago

A return of mortal kind to the primitive

1 month ago

Fossile fuels and CO2 are a great blessing. They green the Earth, increase food supply, and decrease worthless desert land. The communists–especially the US Democratic Party–and their fraudulent “global climate change” hoax are a devastatingly destructive force and a PLAGUE on Mankind and the Earth that MUST BE THWARTED.

1 month ago

Has the largest number of Muslim & Samoli refugees. And look at who they put into our Congress!

1 month ago
Reply to  Sher

Which was created by Obama when he brought the Muslim refugees into the US. At the time, I couldn’t understand why Obama would place them in an area where it is cold most of the year but now I do. They never tell Muslims to not have so many children, only Americans and Europeans. Therefore, with the Muslim population growing, they will eventually be able to expand into Canada and down into the US for an eventual takeover.

Geraldine McGann
1 month ago

Higher density = higher crime
Let’s see Biden, Harris, Pelosi and Sanders build large affordable apartment blocks on their estates!

1 month ago

Obama sent in a whole bunch of Somali Muslims there to destroy that city!!!

1 month ago

Once upon a time, I always wanted to visit Minneapolis. Not anymore.

1 month ago

Where I live, there are no zoning laws. Instead, neighborhoods – both in the city and in the burbs – establish deed restrictions and covenants, as well as Home Owners Associations – to govern what can be built in that neighborhood and what activities can be carried out.

Deed restrictions usually prohibit commercial and industrial activity, farm animals, and apartment complexes – anything producing more than average noise, traffic, obnoxious smells, hazardous activities, and – excessive density of housing.

There are often patio homes, zero lot line housing, and other homes on smaller lots (higher density). Sometimes duplexes, townhomes, and even small apartment buildings are part of the neighborhood plan, usually at the “edges”. But large apartment complexes and high rise buildings, along with gas stations, banks, strip centers are excluded. These often appear on the perimeters of neighborhoods and suburbs, the major thoroughfares.

The deed restrictions also govern architectural standards – even your choice of landscaping, exterior paint color, and dog breed can be governed by the HOA or the covenants! It can get very restrictive, but the ability to change the restrictions rests with the homeowners of the neighborhood.

Some might prohibit a garage apartment being used as a rental or Air BnB (that would be “multi family” and or “commercial activity”; others allow it. Some might shut down a home day care center while allowing after school piano lessons or tutoring in private homes. Usually businesses run from home are most likely to be an issue where they create a nuisance for the neighbors – if you run a doggy day care or child day care, the noise might be an issue. Extra traffic is also a concern. If you are operating an online business, as long as no one complains, you are probably ok.

I’m sharing this because when local government wants to ban your zoning, you have the power as the property owners to collectively establish your own zoning and other standards to preserve your family’s wellbeing, your property values, and your planned community with green spaces and parks, and lots large enough for one story houses (if you are elderly or disabled and can’t manage 4 flights of stairs for a walkup brownstone) —- large enough for a private yard larger than a postage stamp, to accommodate a dog, a vegetable garden, a swing set — or all three (if you are young and want to raise up a family… or even just a puppy and a tomato. :))

That’s because ultimately, the power belongs to the people. So take back your power!

1 month ago

It all started with Obama, America voted fir him believing his lies pulling everyone together, he did the opposite, he set the cornerstone of the destruction of America as we knew it.
Millions of Americans no longer deserve to vote, they vote for the wrong reasons.

1 month ago
Reply to  Justis

No. It started with the communist “Democratic” Party.

1 month ago

The California law ALLOWS second units and local government cannot prevent them by zoning single family only as I understand it. I am not aware of any requireing second unit construction. Neighbors 5-10 acre residential zoned parcels can have a second unit, but our agriculture zoned parcel close to 100 acres had zoning preventing a second unit until this bill. This allows a child to also live on the property. If they can afford to build with all the fees and mandates that literally double the cost of a modest home. So lots of little unpermitted homes in this area.

Bill T
1 month ago

There’s a strategy and reason for supply chain problems and no products to keep our country running., and now a sheet of plywood costs 3 times more than a year ago, fuel prices are spiraling out of control (he used the POISON PEN of his to destroy our energy system and we went from having the most efficient and largest oil reserves in the world to now having to depend onOPEC and Russia to supply our precious energy supplies??? It now costs me$140 to fill my truck and a year ago it was $80 ?? WHY? The green new deal? China is right now building hundreds of dirty COAL FIRED factories while we are tearing our facilities down? This is a nightmare and if we don’t stop this carnage it’s OVER

1 month ago
Reply to  Bill T

Fossile fuels and CO2 are a great blessing. They green the Earth, increase food supply, and decrease worthless desert land. The communists–especially the US Democratic Party–and their fraudulent “global climate change” hoax are a devastatingly destructive force and a PLAGUE on Mankind and the Earth that MUST BE THWARTED.

1 month ago

Ok, so it’s HIGH DENSITY housing only for the lower and middle class minions of the elites (along with compromised health care and who knows maybe BREAD LINES? The American dream is fulfilled with the privilege and honor of owning your own home (Family Structure and pride in your trade is what incentives all of us to succeed and excel in our lives) so let’s build giant housing development’s and destroy the American dream and way of life for ALL AMERICANS of every race and creed because that’s what America is founded on and it’s our way of life. The new administration and basically all of there leftist leaning democrats are determined to turn our country into a socialist nation or even worse ? There evil and none of them are believers of our constitution or the founding of our country . We should build millions of new SINGLE FAMILY HOMES and be proud of it!

1 month ago

Just a consequence of the satanic Left’s bringing in those hordes of leeches from all over the world.
Who do you think is going to pay?
The illegals and fake ‘asylum’ claimants? Or American citizens?
Lay your bets now…….

Dan B.
1 month ago

This policy was infecting the USA under the Obama-nation. Joe and his ilk are just pushing it to the max while they can.

Mario Capparuccini
1 month ago

The Democrat Party is the party of hell. They are trying to bring the rest of us with them to hell. Higher prices, failed foreign policy, open borders, and inflation are just a few of the fruits of hell thrust upon us by Democrats. How long until people wake up and reject their idiocy?

1 month ago

Minneapolis = Ihlan Ohmar’s congressional district. HMMMM?

1 month ago

Single family zoning is not racist!! Gimme a break.

1 month ago
Reply to  Kelli

It has to be defined that way to incorporate all those illegals and asylum leeches…..

Terry K.
1 month ago

I would support this change WHEN……Lake Washington, location of the home of Bill Gates (a 66,000 sq. ft mansion) is rezoned for multiple use.

Linda K
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry K.

Just think how many poor minorities could live in his house. His house could be rezoned mulifamily.

James D
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry K.

It comes down to this there making the super rich and everyone else that’s you and me.

One world Mony, have you heard of pay with correct change/ no change given, they want to control the wealth of the world it makes them richer.

1 month ago

While Biden lives in posh neighborhood and Obama creator of this lives in Martha’s Vineyard.
Bet none of this goes there .
Right !!!-

1 month ago

While Biden

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