Mpls development projects resume after 2040 Plan ban temporarily halted

A plan that intends to guide residential development in Minneapolis for the next decade is back in play.

In June, Minneapolis was ordered to cease all action on the 2040 Plan

But on Tuesday, a Hennepin County judge granted a stay allowing the city some temporary relief while they appeal that previous ruling overturning it.

Minneapolis' City Council President Andrea Jenkins said this was the appropriate decision.

"The 2040 Plan is really about trying to create more housing in Minneapolis. We know that we have a housing crisis in the city, and part of addressing that crisis is to build new housing," she said.

The goal of the 2040 Plan is to add duplexes and triplexes, instead of single family homes. Minneapolis officials said under the judge’s stay, development projects that were in limbo will now move forward.

The years-long legal battle began with a lawsuit that was filed by a series of environmental groups, Smart Growth Minneapolis, the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis and Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds. The groups claim the 2040 plan violated the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, and "is likely to cause the pollution, impairment, or destruction of the air, water, land or other natural resources located within the state."

Their lawyer, Jack Perry, said the city can restart those development projects, but they're risking the housing being torn down when the final ruling about the appeal comes.

"It's not just the city. It's also the developers. Do they want to take the risk? And equally important, do the lenders want to take that risk? And we firmly believe that there'll be a lot of lenders who will say, ‘No, we really don't want to loan $1 million, $5 million, $10 million or more for development that the judge on the case proceeding has already said is invalid," Perry said.

Interim City Attorney Peter Ginder told FOX 9 in a statement the city is "pleased" with the ruling Tuesday.

Ginder said in part, "This will allow previously postponed matters to move forward, and allow continued review and approval of building permits, re-zonings, and other matters covered by Minneapolis 2040, pending the outcome of the underlying appeal."

Jenkins told FOX 9 there are four development projects on hold, and the City Council is planning a special meeting on Friday to move forward with them.

The final decision about whether the city can keep the plan in place will be made down the road.