voting for lower house sizes

When you think of trend-changing places, does the middle of Minnesota come to mind? The Brainerd City Council, representing its 13,590 citizens, will vote on June 2nd about lowering their minimum house sizes from 750 to 400 sq. ft.

Planning Commission member Sarah Hayden says there are 465 vacant lots which “can’t be built on while meeting current city codes, or would leave a small yard.”  Adjusting minimum builds could help solve this problem.

Brainerd, MN began when Northern Pacific Railroad selected its location fora Mississippi River crossing. By 1871, the undeveloped land had been platted. (City of Brainerd)

Brainerd, MN began when Northern Pacific Railroad Company selected its location for a Mississippi River Crossing. By 1871, the undeveloped land had been platted. (City of Brainerd)

Changing the code for primary dwelling units is no slam dunk. City Council member Gary Scheeler declared, “I would like to see this tried somewhere else and see what it does to the community.” Several officials voiced concerns about the impact of smaller homes on other property values.

Will home values in Brainerd decline if new smaller houses are built? This 1940 built home is one of the larger listings for sale, at $124,900. (Realtor.com)

Will home values in Brainerd decline if smaller houses can be built? This 1940 built home is one of the larger listings for sale, at $124,900. (Realtor.com)

The Brainerd Dispatch posted an online poll asking if the city should approve houses as small as 400 sq. ft., to be built. With 1,170 votes cast, 55 percent said yes, 39 percent said no, and five percent were undecided.

It’s something that municipal leaders with unoccupied lots should consider, so we’ll give kudos to these Minnesotans. Stay tuned for the City Council vote next month, to see if they ended up permitting 400+ sq. ft houses.

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