- A Citizen's Guide to Affordable Housing Policy in the Twin Cities
City Snapshot
Type of Community (Metropolitan Council Designation): Developing
1995 Population: 13,752
2005 Population: 29,726
2020 Population: 48,500
Progress Towards LUPA & LCA Affordable Housing Goals*, 2011-2020
New Units Produced (2011) 6
LUPA Goal 2,105
LCA Goal n/a
% Progress Towards LCA Goal n/a
Source: Metropolitan Council.

*Although new affordable housing goals under LUPA (Comp Plan) and LCA (Livable Communities eligibility) cover the same time period for the same kind of units, the Met Council established generally different goals for cities. For most cities, the LCA goal is set at 65% of the LUPA goal. Some larger cities or those with access to more resource have LCA goals closer to or equal to LUPA goals. Unlike pre-2010 goals, the 2011-2020 goals do not create separate sub-goals for rental and ownership housing units. More information at
Progress Toward LCA Affordable Housing Goals Through 2010
Owner Rental Total
New Units Produced 2,719 148 2,867
2010 LCA Goals 4,403 619 5,022
% Progress Towards 2010 Goals 61.8% 23.9% 57.1%
Source: Metropolitan Council.
Metropolitan Council Housing Performance Score:
Out of 100 (100 = highest)
2012: 59
2011: 72
2010 Housing Performance Scores (PDF - 45 KB)
All Metro Communities
2009 Housing Performance Scores (PDF - 27 KB)
All Metro Communities
2008 Housing Performance Scores (PDF - 138 KB)
All Metro Communities
Housing Affordability in 2000
Affordable Units Available Owner Rental Total
Units affordable at 50% or less of Regional Family Median Income 530 796 1,326
Total Housing Units 5,936 1,578 7,514
% Affordable 8.9% 50.4% 17.6%
Low Income Households In Need Owner Rental Total
Households at 50% or less of Regional Median Family Income with Housing Problems 209 512 721
Total Households at 50% or less of Regional Family Median Income 429 677 1,106
% with Problems 48.7% 75.6% 65.2%
Source: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Consolidated Plan/CHAS, 2000.

Note: The median family income for the Twin Cities was $65,800 in 2000 (or $32,900 at 50% of median).

Housing affordability numbers are adjusted by family size. Housing affordability matches the number of persons in a family to units with different numbers of bedrooms (e.g. a 4-person family is matched to 2 bedroom units). Income limits to affordable housing costs are also adjusted higher for larger families (greater than 4 people) and lower for smaller families (less than 4 people).

Housing problems are defined as household cost burden greater than 30% of income and/or overcrowding (more than 1 person per room) and/or without complete kitchen and plumbing facilities.
Survey Results
An interview was conducted with an official from Shakopee's planning or community development department in Spring of 2006, shortly after the Metropolitan Council's calculations for affordable housing need numbers were made public. A summary of key issues addressed in the interview is below:
According to the Met Council's recent report on "Determining Affordable Housing Need in the Twin Cites," Shakopee's affordable housing need number is 2,105 units for 2010-2020. Our source felt that these goals were high and not feasible. Our source identified the following problems and obstacles to meeting these goals: relatively low housing values, a surplus of attached housing, proposed annexation of surrounding townships, and limited sewer capacity. The new affordable housing goals do not make a distinction between affordable rental and affordable for-sale housing, and our source felt that this would not make a difference in the type of housing produced. Our source is not sure of how new goals are Shakopee's LCA goals. Shakopee is not sure if it will use the need number established in the Met Council's report as the affordable housing target in its comprehensive plan update.
Shakopee does not keep a database tracking the supply of low- and moderate-income housing. It has used the following programs to develop and facilitate the development of affordable housing: partnerships with the county HRA. We also asked our source about Shakopee's use of some specific policies and programs. The results are summarized below:
Tools Have Used? Effectiveness Will Use
PUD with smaller lots or density bonus A Few Times Not Effective  
Zoning variances for low-mod housing No   No
Density bonuses No   Yes
Expedited zoning & approval for low-mod No   Yes
Adjusted fees for low-mod housing No   No
Adjusted lot sizes for low-mod housing No   No
Allow accessory apartments A Few Times Effective Yes
Set asides for low-moderate housing (i.e., inclusionary zoning) No   No
Low Income Housing Tax Credits No   Yes
Local tax abatement for low-mod housing No   Yes
Incentives for new construction technologies No   Yes
Manufactured homes No   Yes
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) No   Yes
Mortgage Revenue bonds No   Yes
Shakopee has not solicited proposals from the local HRA or other developers for building low- and moderate-income housing. It has not acted as a proposer or developer of low- and moderate-income housing. Our source indicated that Shakopee has transit-oriented development opportunities, which will make a positive difference in its ability to produce more affordable housing. Our source felt that with additional funding would not be sufficient for Shakopee to accomplish its affordable housing goals.
Obstacles and Challenges
Our source did not identify any zoning ordinances, permit processes or other requirements that discourage or prevent adding to the supply of low-and moderate income housing. We also asked our source about some specific local practices and if they limit the development of low- and moderate-income housing. The results are summarized below:
Challenge Name Assessment
Lot size requirements Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Restricted amount of land zoned for multi-family housing Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Local requirements for building materials Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Subdivision regulations requiring high quality materials or wide street paving Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Permitting processes and fees Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Local limits on the use of manufactured housing (e.g., mobile homes) Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Building codes hat require updated code enforcement with any rehabilitation Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Prohibition on accessory apartment units Does Not Limit Low-Moderate Housing
Our source reported that Shakopee does not have any undeveloped land that is zoned residential and allows ten or more units per acre. Our source felt that in order to meet its affordable housing goals, Shakopee needs the city council to designate acres for use as affordable housing, as well as developer interest in creating affordable housing.
Project Sponsors
Housing Justice Center Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Institute on Race & Poverty The McKnight Foundation