Sunfish Lake news

Sunfish Lake news


Sunfish Lake eNews



Date:     3-18-24

To:        Concerned Parties

From:   Mayor Dan O’Leary

Subj.:   House File #4009 and Senate File #1370 



There is a Bill in the Minnesota House and Senate which would drastically alter our life in Sunfish Lake. It is House File #4009 and Senate File #1370.  It has the potential to substantially reduce all property values in SFL. It does this by means of restricting cities’ zoning codes and substituting the State’s requirements for zoning. See attached House File #4009 and Senate File #1370.


We have an estimated State population in July 2023 of 5,737,915.

We have 67 State Senators.

We have 134 State House of Representatives members.

These 201 congressional representatives are usurping the right of most of the State’s 5,737,915 citizens to decide for themselves in their local communities what type of zoning regulations will be allowed.


As with all laws of this type, it sounds like there is a good motive behind it. To quote from the League of Minnesota Cities regarding a Committee hearing on this Bill:


“During the committee hearing, a broad swath of supporters including Neighbors for More Neighbors, Habitat for Humanity, Housing First Minnesota, Minnesota Realtors, Minnesota Housing Partnership, and other advocates focused on the need for additional density and more housing opportunities.” (Emphasis added.)


All would support the need for additional affordable housing but the government has great resources to accomplish this laudable goal without taking away the rights of all citizens to live in the manner and style of their choosing.


Many cities have adapted a housing style and neighborhood atmosphere commensurate with a substantial majority of their citizens. Isn’t that the very foundation of a democracy? Certainly, we would expect Russia or China or other totalitarian regimes to dictate how their citizens must live with no input from their citizens, but not in America.


For cities like SFL, our way of living would be forever changed. The City would have no control or protection on critical zoning regulations protecting all residents’ property values, which, for many, are a substantial part of their financial security.


As an example, in House File #4009, Subd. 2 states:


A city must authorize at least six types of middle housing other than single-family detached homes to be built on residential lots in the city to achieve the density requirements in this section.” (Emphasis added.)


House File #4009, Subdivision 1. Definitions., subparagraph (m) states:


Middle housing’ means buildings that are single-family detached homes and residential properties that are compatible in scale, form, and character with single-family detached homes. Middle housing includes all of the following housing types: (Emphasis added.)


(1)    duplexes;

(2)    triplexes;

(3)    fourplexes;

(4)    fiveplexes;

(5)    sixplexes;

(6)    townhomes;

(7)    stacked flats;

(8)    courtyard apartments;

(9)    cottage housing; and

(10)    single-family detached homes


Any of these 5 other choices, besides our current zoning requirements for a single-family detached home, would tremendously devalue all the property in SFL. Developers for years have been trying to get some of these alternatives approved in SFL but the vast majority of residents have been against such development, preferring to protect the rural nature of our community.


SFL is classified as a “Fourth Class city” under Minnesota statutes. That means a city having not more than 10,000 inhabitants. Our population, as of the last census is around 520. House File #4009, Subd. 4. Other cities; required residential densities, states:


“(a) A city ot the second, third, or fourth class must permit the development of at least two residential dwelling units on any residential lot that is more than one-half mile from a major transit stop…” (Emphasis added.)


So, no longer would we see the beautiful spaces between our homes and again the nature of our city would be forever altered.


Read the Bills to see many other restrictions as to design and materials used in construction.


The League of Minnesota Cities, which is fighting these Bills, has indicated, along with many other legislative experts, that they expect passage of these bills in April of this year. It apparently has great bipartisan support. Thus, if you wish our way of life to be protected, you must immediately contact our representatives and any other representatives you may be familiar with.

Our District 53A State House of Representatives is Mary Frances Clardy



Our District 53 State Senator Matt Klein


Email: Must go to his website and use a form to submit an email. Click here for link


A City like Sunfish Lake which has expensive wells and septic systems should be exempted from this statute, since affordable housing could not be possible due to the land required for drain fields.

All small cities have found the cost of city sewer and water to be totally cost prohibitive. A city of 540 residents would be assessed potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars per housing unit to suppy such a system, which is beyond the means of many.

Fourth Class cities, or cities under 5,000 or 2,500 population should be exempted from this statute because they would not be a great resource for density or affordable housing when compared to the tremendous loss of the community identity.


Click Below for links for the proposed Bills:


S.F. No. 1370

H.F. No. 4009

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