Basics: Affordable Housing &
Rice Creek Commons
What will the Rice Creek Commons development look like?
Ramsey County and the City of Arden Hills are reviewing the master plan that was developed in 2016. They are gathering additional financial, economic development and demographic information to help them make any necessary revisions to the master plan. Alatus, LLC continues to be the master developer.
Who decides if more affordable housing will be built at Rice Creek Commons?
Ultimately it's up to the Joint Development Authority (JDA): the City of Arden Hills and Ramsey County. They have to negotiate the amount of affordable housing that will be built and at what affordability levels. The developer Alatus will guide the overall design and development of site. The Metropolitan Council provides much of the research about housing trends and needs in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Everyone’s goal should be to build a well-designed, diverse, and sustainable development. Arden Hills should finally produce its fair share of affordable housing.
What is the Metropolitan Council?
It is a policy-making board that guides the strategic growth of the entire Twin Cities metro area. The Council's mission is to foster efficient growth for regional prosperity and high quality of life for its residents. Its investments support economic vitality and competitiveness.
How does the Metropolitan Council influence housing decisions in Arden Hills?
It guides housing needs and challenges, primarily through its 2040 region-wide housing plan. Local governments, housing developers, community organizations, and other stakeholders participated in the plan. For more detail, watch a 2-minute video about the Council’s role in affordable housing.
Are there guidelines for determining the amount of affordable housing a community should have?
What is Arden Hills’ share of existing affordable housing in the region?
The Metropolitan Council’s map shows six levels of existing housing units that are affordable to households earning less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). Arden Hills is at the second-lowest level. North Oaks is the only other community in Ramsey County with a lower share of affordable housing units. We can do better!
What is Arden Hills’ ratio of low-wage jobs to residents who work in low-wage jobs, and why does it matter?
What is Arden Hills’ Housing Performance Score?
The Metropolitan Council SCORES metric is on a scale of 0-100. Arden Hills has a score of 10. The score assesses and recognizes local efforts to develop and maintain housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Cities have a wide variety of programs and services they can leverage to help with the development of affordable housing. The 2021 SCORES reflect the policies, activities, and production of cities and townships in 2020. We can do better!
Do we have places to add affordable housing?
Besides the Rice Creek Commons development with its 160 acres devoted to housing, there are a small number of other potential sites. None of them offer anything close to the amount of housing that could be built at Rice Creek Commons.
Why is more housing density a good thing?
Modifying zoning rules to allow denser housing is the most effective way to increase the housing supply and ease our housing shortage. Having more residents means that there are more employees available for employers, and that prospective employers are more confident that the employees they bring will be able to find housing. It also means that there are more customers to support local businesses and attract new businesses. It increases tax revenue for the city. It also would help Arden Hills qualify for public transportation. Without greater density, the city will be at the back of the line for any type of transit.
Are there any City documents related to Rice Creek Commons that support having lower rather than higher housing density in Rice Creek Commons?
Does Arden Hills already have substantial affordable housing?
Most inner-city and first- and second-ring suburbs in the Twin Cities have existing affordable housing, largely older and smaller housing units. Attrition due to renovation or replacement has slowly diminished the number of these units, but some communities have actively sought more new affordable housing in recent years to increase their overall supply.
Will increased density of housing units add infrastructure costs?
Individual housing units are essentially infrastructure “neutral,’ irrespective of size or cost. The same need for public service infrastructure must be met - streets, public safety, and utilities. The only difference might be that a greater density of affordable units could create additional demand for the public services. However, the cost of any additional capacity necessary to meet this demand would be offset by the increased property tax collections and utility revenue associated with more housing units. In fact, the economy of scale may generate higher amounts than those otherwise derived from more expensive, but fewer, large housing units.