Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Can Rochester do something - anything - to deal with its affordable housing problem, one which many people say is more like a crisis?

The City Council was briefed Monday on a study it commissioned last year and was told, in a nutshell, that there are options to explore.

The report recommends the city consider a “stronger, more comprehensive mixed housing policy” that would “create and sustain affordable living options.”

One recommendation is to require developers of rental housing projects who receive certain benefits from the city to offer 10-percent of the units at affordable rates. Another offers developers certain financial incentives if they set aside 10-percent of their for-sale units for affordable housing customers.

Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann told the council Rochester has not ignored the affordable housing problem. He says the city has approved tax increment financing housing projects since 1999 that have produced nearly 1,600 affordable units. And more are being planned.

Neumann and other staff members will consider these and other proposals and report back to the council in July.

One area that may be looked at is the fee structure developers face. Developers and home builders have complained about the fees for years, saying they are added to the price of a home. But a reduction in the fees would likely put those costs on the tax bill of other property owners.


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