Just months after approving an affordable-apartment project opposed by some residents, the affluent exurb of Carver is looking at how it should begin to formally oversee rental housing.
The city currently has only a smattering of other rental housing, mostly in converted single-family homes, so the move by the city appears tied to Carver Crossing, a new 68-unit workforce housing project. The city previously considered establishing rental licensing programs in 2012 and 2013, but decided against the idea.
The City Council unanimously approved Carver Crossing in February at a raucous hourslong meeting packed with residents voicing opposition. At the time, council members said the new complex would be able to police itself.
Construction of the development is due to begin in August, according to City Administrator Brent Mareck.
Last week, Carver announced it was taking applications for a “rental dwelling licensing task force” made up of landlords, renters and residents.
The group will begin meeting with city staff next month and will have a draft rental housing ordinance ready for the council to consider in late September.
“Opposition to Carver Crossing brought a rental licensing program into play,” said Mayor Mike Webb.
He said the council decided to include residents in the task force “to bring as many people to the plate as possible.”
Mareck agreed, adding that the large number of people involved in the debate over Carver Crossing sparked the idea of having citizens on the task force.
“If you have a bunch of folks who are interested in the topic, why not leverage that back into creating something?” Mareck said.
Mareck said the council decided that an ordinance should probably only cover “safety-type issues,” with inspections focusing on areas such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and appliances.
Alan Hebzynski, a Carver resident who had spoken out about the development, said he is disappointed that a new ordinance will be so limited in scope.
“I was hoping they would pattern it after Burnsville,” Hebzynski said.
That city’s rental licensing ordinance includes a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” provision that requires landlords to evict tenants if there are three or more instances of criminal activity or disorderly conduct, including “noisy assemblies.”