Minneapolis vacant building fees could nearly triple in 2024

The cost of owning a vacant building in violation of city codes in Minneapolis could nearly triple next year if approved by the Minneapolis City Council.

An amendment proposed to the city’s vacant building registration ordinance would seek to increase fees on the owners of vacant buildings from around $7,000 a year, up to $24,000.

If approved, the new policy would change the annual $7,087 fee to a monthly one, with monthly inspections beginning at $250 – then doubling until a cap of $2,000 per month if the building remains in violation of city code. If a building remains in violation for the entire year, fees could total up to $24,000.

Proposed by council member Robin Wonsely, the move represents an economic approach to cleaning up vacant storefronts, but one that could also reduce health concerns, according to council members.

There are not enough meetings on the current council calendar to enact the proposal in 2023, leaving the vote on Thursday to be a ceremonious one that, "Signals support for the oncoming council," before passing 13-0. It was referred to the public health and safety committee for further discussion.

Wonsley said she hopes the newly elected council will consider the ordinance change during its upcoming 2024 meetings.