Can the City slow or stop development?
The short answer is no. Private property owners have the right to develop their property and the right to sell their property to developers so long as the project fits within the criteria of the zoning and/or land use for their property. The City cannot force private property owners to keep their property undeveloped however development must meet the regulations put forth by multiple agencies including the City, State, local watershed, DNR, etc.
Why has Blaine seen so much apartment construction lately?
Apartment construction is not unique to Blaine and is occurring throughout the entire Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan area. Demand for apartments across the metro has increased over the last three to five years for a variety of reasons including the rising cost of purchasing a home, amenities provided by apartment complexes, the desire of older residents to downsize to a lower-maintenance housing option, flexibility for young working professionals, and most recently rising interest rates. The rental market is considered balanced between the number of units available and the number of renters when vacancy rates are around 5 percent. “Rising mortgage rates increase demand for apartments in the Twin Cities” an article that appeared in the Star Tribune in November of 2022 cited the City of Blaine as having one of the lowest vacancy rates in the metro at less than 2 percent, meaning despite rising rents demand for rental units in Blaine is high. Currently, only 10 percent of Blaine’s housing stock consists of apartments. Meanwhile, other suburban and suburban edge communities across the metro have housing stocks averaging 22 percent apartment units.
Why doesn’t the City of Blaine prevent developers from clearing trees?
Unfortunately, erecting buildings often means clearing trees therefore it is challenging to prevent developers from cutting trees, including those that are healthy and mature. However, Blaine’s City Code outlines criteria for tree preservation within the City. Some of the methods Blaine is using for tree preservation and replacement are as follows:
- On lots without a construction or grading permit, trees removed from privately owned lands must be limited to two significant trees per year, unless an approved Forest Management Plan has been obtained. Trees removed because they are an obstruction to traffic or power lines, or trees removed because they pose a hazard to structures or sewer systems are excluded from these requirements.
- Forest Management Plans, which are required for the removal of more than two significant trees per year as outlined may require tree replacement as part of the plan.
- All building construction in most of Blaine’s zoning districts require a detailed landscape plan. City Ordinance requires tree replacement based on lot size, building size, zoning district and number of trees preserved. Tree preservation and tree replacement are required components of the landscape plan that is reviewed prior to obtaining approval by the Blaine City Council.
What is the Comprehensive Plan? Why is it important?
A Comprehensive Plan is an economic development and planning tool that serves as a policy document providing a blueprint for future land use and development. It allows municipalities to be proactive about the future of their city and provides guidance for orderly growth, development, and physical appearance of the community. In addition, it provides property owners and current and future residents within a city a road map for short and long term goals and plans for their individual property and their neighborhood. Minnesota state law requires local governments to create and update their comprehensive plan every 10 years. The current plan was adopted by the Blaine City Council in 2018. The Comprehensive Plan provides guidance for Blaine’s land use and development for the next 20 years. This plan will be updated around 2028-2030. For cities that fall within the seven-county metro, the law also requires that the Metropolitan Council reviews each city’s comprehensive plan to ensure it is in alignment with the overall framework provided by the Metropolitan Council’s regional plans.
You can view Blaine’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan at BlaineMN.gov/ComprehensivePlan.
City staff are always available to answer questions regarding development, market trends, and business attraction. The Community Development Department can be reached at 763-785-6180.
Resources and information are also available on the city’s website under Business and Development at BlaineBiz.com or under the Planning sections at BlaineMN.gov/Planning.