Earlier this year the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that would allow for the placement of temporary health care dwellings on private property.
The idea is that if you have a relative who needs some living assistance you could put a temporary structure (think trailer home) in your yard and have them live near you while they recover.
The League of MN Cities has a good recap of the law here.
Unfortunately, though the law was well-intentioned, the implementation of the law as written would be problematic in a fully developed and dense suburban city like Crystal. For example, the setback requirements in the law would exclude the majority of lots in Crystal from ever hosting a temporary dwelling.
The way the law is structured, cities have the option to “opt-out” of the law entirely, or to accept the law in its entirety. There isn’t an option to partially adopt or modify the law. We do, however, retain the right to regulate land use through our regular zoning and planning authority.
After discussion at the council work session this week, it is very likely Crystal will vote to opt-out of the law at our next meeting. Many of our neighboring cities will likely do the same.
The City’s Code Review Task Force, which was created by the council last year and is reviewing our City Code chapter by chapter, recently discussed the topic of land use for similar types of structures.
The recommendation from the task force was that the council should have a more in-depth conversation about how temporary or permanent small dwellings could or should work in Crystal.
Although we will be opting-out of the state law on temporary health care dwellings, the Council is committed to discussing this topic in a comprehensive manner and coming up with policies that make sense for Crystal.
An important part of that process will be seeking feedback from you. If you have any thoughts about the topic, please let me know.