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GreenStep City Best Practices Land Use

Resilient City Growth
no. 7

Increase financial and environmental sustainability by enabling and encouraging walkable housing and retail land use.
  Best Practice Action 4      [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]       [all actions]

Provide incentives for infill projects, or for life-cycle housing at or near job or retail centers, or for achieving an average net residential density of seven units per acre.

  • One promising planning strategy (from Donald Shoup: 2008) to encourage voluntary land assembly of large enough sites to redevelop at higher densities is graduated density zoning, which allows higher density on larger sites. This strategy can increase the incentive for owners to cooperate in a land assembly that creates higher land values.
  • Attracting Infill Development in Distressed Communities: 30 Strategies (EPA: 2015).
  • Build a Better Burb, the online journal of suburban design, has resources for infill projects in addition to addressing a sense of place, parking and transit, and thinking regionally.
  • Strong towns require age diversity in order to sustain themselves: children, the next generation; working-age adults, the most financially and civically engaged community members; and retirees, a repository of community wisdom and volunter energy. Designing neighborhoods for safe, independent living at all stages of life - which includes providing life-cycle housing - is thus critical for a vibrant city. See Making Room: Housing for a Changing America (AARP: 2019) for a wide menu of housing options.
  • For design resources related to commercial and housing infill development, see implementation tools for the Building Reuse best practice, especially tools under action 5.5
  • See implementation tools for action 7.1
Offer tax-increment financing, land write-downs or other loan/grant tools. Report infill development/design standards and programs under action 5.5
Offer a building permit fee discount or expedited permit review; use direct purchase & demolition.
Enact graduated density zoning; offer at least one incentive tool for life-cycle housing; report a completed project such as a senior care facility.


Date action report first entered:   05/04/2012

Implementation details:
Burnsville utilizes tax-increment financing and tax abatement for projects that include but are not limited to creation or retention of jobs, elimination of blight, neighborhood revitalization and other development and redevelopment goals established by the city (Council Policy 1.136). All land use clearance projects needing city council approval are reviewed in 60 days. Burnsville offers a building permit fee rebate according to the Single Family Permit Rebate (Counicl Policy 2.095), which offers an incentive program for single family, duplex, and townhome property owners that make substantial investment into their homes. Burnsville has a Housing Improvement Area Policy as a life-cycle housing tool. It established the city's position to use Housing Improvement Area financing for private housing improvements (Council Policy 5.306).

            view file

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/05/2019
Date of last report update:   02/05/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
See Ch. 20, Art VIII and Art. XVIII The city has created Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts for affordable and senior housing projects including 35 of 76 zero-lot line homes in the North Bay development, 48 affordable units in Gateway Place, and 35 affordable of 161 units in Sommerwood Senior Housing development.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Additional completed projects that include life-cycle housing at or near job or retails centers include: Southwest Village townhouses at the Park and Ride station, The Venue apartments adjoined to a grocery retailer and next to a transit station and Mission Hills Senior Housing near transit and retail.

Descriptive links: www.ci.chanhassen.mn.us/city code

For more information contact:
Jill Sinclair (City staff)   |   jsinclair@ci.chanhassen.mn.us   |   952-227-1133

View All Chanhassen Actions

Eden Prairie

Date action report first entered:   01/16/2014

Implementation details:
Since TIF was authorized by the State in 1979, the City of Eden Prairie has established 21 TIF District project areas. The funds gathered from these districts go into the Tax Increment Development Fund, which is part of the Capital Project Funds, which the City has used for projects such as transportation improvements and rent reduction to create affordable housing units.

Descriptive links: http://www.edenprairie.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=388

For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff)   |   tmahtani@edenprairie.org   |   952-949-8413

View All Eden Prairie Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/18/2014
Date of last report update:   09/18/2014

Implementation details:
The city utilizes TIF financing to provide incentives for infill development. The city will also pursue grant funding to further facilitate infill projects. A successful example of this was the TIF financing and grant funds utilized to make the Tartan Crossing project a reality. The city received DEED Redevelopment and Met Council Livable Communities Demonstration grant funds to cover some of the costs of the demolition and public infrastructure portion of the project. TIF is also being utilized.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The mixed use site now features a 92 unit senior facility, a 90,738 SF grocery store, a 4,083 convenience store, and a future retail component.

For more information contact:
Jen Hassebroek (City staff)   |   jen.hassebroek@ci.oakdale.mn.us   |   651-730-2723

MN Department of Employment and Economic Development; Metropolitan Council

View All Oakdale Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/18/2011

Implementation details:
The City of Hoffman sold lots on 8th street for $1.00 and took off all the assessments to encourage Hoffman residents to build. The Hoffman Economic Development Authority changed their covenants to let town houses be built on 8th Street.

For more information contact:
Patricia Lawson (City staff)   |   hoffmn@runestone.net   |   320-986-2448

View All Hoffman Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   02/04/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City 's Housing and Redevelopment Authority uses tax increment financing, land write downs, and the City's loan and grant programs for developments consistent with its Comprehensive Plan.

For more information contact:
John Stark (City staff)   |   jstark@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619775

View All Richfield Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/06/2012

Implementation details:
The City currently offers expedited permit review for higher density housing, as well as reduced sewer and water fees for multi-family developments.

For more information contact:
Mike Bauer (City staff)   |   mbauer@ci.rogers.mn.us   |   763-428-0974

View All Rogers Actions


Date action report first entered:   07/17/2015
Date of last report update:   07/17/2015

Implementation details:
The city's HRA Strategic Plan and zoning code state that the city should maintain and encourage a mix of housing types in each neighborhood by directly purchasing available properties for demolition and supporting new home construction.

View All Roseville Actions

Apple Valley

Date action report first entered:   03/19/2012

Implementation details:
Apple Valley has provided a variety of incentives for various projects on a case-by-case review. Examples include Founders Circle, with reduced setbacks, shared parking, and higher intensity land uses, as well as financial incentives from various funding sources for planning and park amenities; and Cobblestone Lake, with smaller lot sizes, reduced setbacks, and funding of workforce and senior housing.

For more information contact:
Charless Grawe (City staff)   |   CGrawe@ci.apple-valley.mn.us   |   952-953-2508

View All Apple Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/03/2012

Implementation details:
Community block grants and TIF or revolving fund loans

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

Craig Hoium; HRA

View All Austin Actions

Coon Rapids

Date action report first entered:   01/03/2015
Date of last report update:   01/03/2015

Implementation details:
Coon Rapids provides financial incentives, including redevelopment and housing TIF districts and a revolving loan fund, for infill housing projects near commercial and employment areas. The City has also used land assembly to incentivize infill housing development.

For more information contact:
Matt Brown (City staff)   |   mbrown@coonrapidsmn.gov   |   763-767-6422

View All Coon Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
Tax Increment Financing available within the Downtown to incentivize redevelopment.

For more information contact:
John Hinzman (City staff)   |   jhinzman@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-2378

View All Hastings Actions

New Brighton

Date action report first entered:   05/03/2016
Date of last report update:   05/03/2016

Implementation details:
New Brighton utilizes Tax Increment Financing for projects that include, but are not limited to, the creation or retention of jobs, to overcome brownfield site challenges and prepare them for redevelopment, to achieve housing and/or commercial/industrial uses that are desired and/or lacking within the community, reduction of blight, neighborhood revitalization, and redevelopment goals that are recognized within the Comprehensive Plan. Since establishment of TIF by the Minnesota Legislature, New Brighton has created 33 TIF districts.

For more information contact:
Craig Schlichting (City staff)   |   craig.schlichting@newbrightonmn.gov   |   651-638-2056

View All New Brighton Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   04/01/2015
Date of last report update:   11/19/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The city used TIF financing for the redevelopment of a K-mart in the City Center district. The project includes a Hy-Vee grocery store, gas station, and a separate office/retail building.

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119


View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/07/2012

Implementation details:
Rosemount is a member of the Metropolitan Council's Livable Communities program and uses it's PUD ordinance to encourage infill development and life cycle housing throughout the community.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Rosemount was recently awarded a Livable Communities grant for the Steeple Center Senior Housing project - $440,000 to help redevelop a portion of St. Josephs Church complex into a 70-unit senior housing project and a public senior center to adjoin the newly renovated Steeple Center. The project will integrate multiple uses and strengthen Rosemounts downtown.

Descriptive links: http://tinyurl.com/7d5c9xk

For more information contact:
Anthony Nemcek (City staff)   |   anthony.nemcek@ci.rosemount.mn.us   |   651-322-2090

View All Rosemount Actions

Saint Anthony

Date action report first entered:   05/05/2011

Implementation details:
The City utilizes TIF financing to provide incentives for infill projects.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Increased densities and eliminate underutilized land.

For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff)   |   jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us   |   612-782-3314

View All Saint Anthony Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/05/2013
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
The City offers TIF and other incentives for infill projects within the Central Business District. The City has utilized these incentives to get a local grocery store in town and various other commercial developments.

            view file

For more information contact:
Madison Fox-Christensen (City staff)   |   mfoxchristensen@ci.victoria.mn.us   |   952-443-4219

View All Victoria Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/24/2013

Implementation details:
Council Directive CD-CommDev-3.23, Density Policy, provides a density bonus for assisted living units.

For more information contact:
Mark Huonder (City staff)   |   mhuonder@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3535

View All Woodbury Actions

Eagan pending

Date action report first entered:   01/13/2011

Implementation details:
Not complete

View All Eagan Actions

Morris pending

Date action report first entered:   02/20/2019
Date of last report update:   02/20/2019
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Morris has a long history of approving TIF districts for projects that will improve housing and business development in Morris. A TIF district was established to help in the construction of 32 units (in the form of 4 8-plexes) in Morris. Additionally, another TIF district was approved on 2/12/19 for the construction of 10 memory-care units at Legacy living in Morris.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Multiple TIF districts approved and established for high density housing in Morris, MN: -On 10/9/2018 for the construction of 32 housing units (four 8-plexes on one property). -On 2/12/2019 for the construction of 10 units of memory care.

Descriptive links: https://www.stevenscountytimes.com/news/4487173-hill-says-more-tif-projects-possible

For more information contact:
Blaine Hill (City staff)   |   bhill@ci.morris.mn.us   |   320-589-3141

View All Morris Actions

White Bear Lake pending

Date action report first entered:   01/24/2013

Implementation details:
The City offers tax-increment financing and other loan/grant tools: -The City of White Bear Lake has 28 Tax-Increment Finance Districts. -The City is part of a Revolving Loan Grant Program. The RLGP is aimed at improving the utility and appearance of downtown businesses while encouraging the leveraging of private investment which would otherwise not occur. The program provides front-end financing for small loans at below market interest rates for up to a 10-year term. (See web link). -The City promotes several home loans to increase energy efficiency. The loans are not administered through City funds. (See attachment) Currently, the City does not provide incentive for infill projects, but doing so is a goal of the Comprehensive Plan.

Outcome measures/metrics:
To read more about the Revolving Loan Program, go to White Bear Lake website > Departments Facilities & Services > Community Development/Planning Department > HRA Revolving Loan and Grant Program Guidelines and Regulations Handbook

Descriptive links: http://www.whitebearlake.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={CB874C1F-AC21-4791-A97F-C13CFCB28E9C}             view file

For more information contact:
Connie Taillon (City staff)   |   ctaillon@whitebearlake.org   |   651-429-8564

View All White Bear Lake Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Brian Ross, Senior Communities Program Director, Great Plains Institute: 612/767-7296, bross@gpisd.net, https://www.betterenergy.org/who-we-are/staff-and-consultants/