Everyone likes living in Edina, but it costs too much.
In a survey of more than 500 residents to be discussed at Tuesday's City Council meeting, not a single person rated Edina's quality of life as "poor." In fact, almost everybody — 96 percent — rated it as "good" or "excellent."
But that quality of life comes at a cost, as residents have discovered.
More than half of those surveyed expressed concern about the high cost of living in the city, and two-thirds said that housing is too expensive. Housing — including teardowns and expense — also was the No. 1 choice when residents were asked to name the most serious issue facing the city.
"That's a wonderful thing, to see that people love the quality of life in our community," Mayor James Hovland said Monday. "And we work hard at trying to make it a better place to live all the time."
The city is in the midst of a yearslong teardown boom. Hundreds of older houses have been demolished in recent years and replaced with larger, more expensive homes. It's "a really difficult issue," Hovland said.
"On the one hand, you're pleased that people are willing to invest in your community and build new houses," he said. "But you do want to have a variety of people living in your community, from professionals to teachers to firefighters and dental hygienists.
"You want that kind of makeup to create the broadest experience for your kids growing up. And for adults, to have a neighborhood that's not composed only of folks who can buy a seven-figure house."
The city has sponsored several programs to help make homeownership more affordable. Come Home 2 Edina offers below-market second mortgages that can put a home in reach for a middle-class buyer, said Joyce Repya, a senior city planner who administers the program for the East Edina Housing Foundation.
About 400 homes and condos have been financed through the program since it began about 30 years ago. But such programs can only do so much, she said.
"It's frustrating, particularly with all the teardowns we're seeing," Repya said. "What had been our affordable housing stock is being gobbled up. We don't have a lot of entry-level single-family homes. The free market is out there, and the city can't control that."
Other results of the survey:
• A healthy majority of residents (73 percent) said the city is heading in the right direction. However, that's down sharply from the 94 percent who felt that way in the same survey two years ago.
• Only 45 percent would support an increase in property taxes to maintain city services at their current level. Two years ago, 68 percent said they would support higher taxes.
• The top reason people choose to live in Edina is the schools (52 percent).
• A majority of residents would walk more if there were more sidewalks along city streets (62 percent).
• About two-thirds of residents say that public transportation in the city is "poor" or "fair" (63 percent).
The survey was conducted among randomly selected households by the National Research Center.