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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.

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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.

Kevin O'Donovan June 07, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Race should not matter when housing is discussed. Richfield City Government relies too much on funding from government sources. Small businesses and less regulation, will help Richfield grow. The Met Council should not be in the discussion except as an information source. How many years did it take before the City Council approved the plans for 66th and Penn or Menards at Nicolette? Let private developers use their own resources and get out of their way. Demonstrate a simple quick and efficient approval process. Show everyone that Richfield is open for business. One sure way to attract investors is to make it easier for them to invest at a reduced cost and expeditiously. Low property values and low interest rates will not continue forever. The time to open the gates is now. Public housing projects always turn into problem properties with little upside, and are a cancer in their communities.
Kent June 07, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Actually I know a fair number of people who will NOT live in Minneapolis. Richfield has been slowly losing its identity for years by trying to become someone else instead of leveraging its advantages. We are the small town feel within the twin cites. Some call our location between major highways a downside but I see an advantage. Some think we need to become someone else and I think we should become ourselves. Merging with Minneapolis will only subject us to more of the same politics we are already frustrated with. The proposed site for the Pillsbury commons will be on a nice bicycle path in the future with only a couple of businesses up the tracks still utilizing them. Having an excellent North-South bike path is the sort of thing that attracts many young professional families. The land near the path would make a great location for people using the bike path. To look at it today and say its cheap unwanted land (as many are doing including the proposed developer) is not looking at trends and future potential but rather things like immediate income streams for themselves. The reason we have the projected development is because of free money offered for "affordable" housing not because it is best for Richfield. Throwing up an affordable housing development to make a developer lots of money seems wrong. Let's clear the lots and plant grass for now. Or maybe make it a temporary neighborhood garden to improve its looks while we wait to develop it properly.
Richfield Commoners United June 09, 2012 at 12:52 PM
This is an excelant reponse to Mr. Camillo De Santis http://richfield.patch.com/articles/resident-accuses-pillsbury-commons-supporters-of-crying-wolf
jane doe July 27, 2012 at 02:44 AM
does anyone know why they tore down the basketball court in the richfield park and what they are building in its place? It is located next to the library. thanks.
Caitlin Burgess July 27, 2012 at 05:38 AM
The city is putting in a skateboarding park.

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