Resident with short term rental concerns gets personal meeting with mayor and city staff members

Just wondering how many residents in Minnetrista have called the city to complain about their neighbor and had the mayor and several staff members show up to help.

Minnetrista July 15 council meeting
City Administrator announces staff meeting with resident

The city passed an ordinance last year banning short term rentals of less than 30 days duration anywhere in the city. So far there have been no citations for violating the ordinance, however a resident has been complaining about the rental property next door which, so far, appears to be complying with the ordinance.

The mayor and several staff members scheduled a meeting this week with the resident to discuss his “concerns about what’s going on at the home next to him.”

Now that’s what I call service.

Related story: Minnetrista considers short term rental ban


GreenStep Cities Red Flags

GREENSTEP CITIES RED FLAGS: Mayor Whalen invited a representative from the GreenStep Cities program to address the city council last August. Enticed by the lure of recognition and their seemingly benevolent mission, “Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals,” it gained legs with staff and was advocated again at the city council’s strategy meeting in February.

When the GreenStep representative was asked last August about where their funding came from they said it was primarily nonprofits, foundations, and grants. What they failed to disclose is they have two major funders, one of which is the Met Council. And we all know the Met Council’s allegiance to local government autonomy.
GreenStep Met CouncilRed flag number one: Not being transparent when asked a direct question about funding sources.

In conversations over the weekend I learned from one of our state legislators that the GreenStep Cities program is “Repackaged from what was formerly known as Agenda 21 (for the 21st Century) GreenStep appears to be an obfuscated friendlier name for the same thing.”

Those unfamiliar with the United Nations Agenda 21 need only know it didn’t receive a warm welcome in the United States, with states passing resolutions condemning it and one even passed legislation prohibiting government involvement in the program.

Red flag number two: Changing the organization name when it’s reputation is exposed as undermining federal, state, and local autonomy.

The GreenStep Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from several nonprofits that are all climate change evangelists working together with the University of Minnesota, League of MN Cities, and various state agencies.

GreenStep Steering CommitteeRed flag number three: Human caused climate change is a controversial topic and there is no diversity represented on the steering committee.

This is not a program that will benefit the Minnetrista electorate. In fact, the sample ordinances they provide to cities appear to be designed for more government control over building regulations and private property use.

No award from the League of MN Cities is worth this.




May 23, 2018

Very disappointed in the decision Monday night to ban all short term rentals without an exclusion for owner occupied properties or a grandfathering provision for existing vacation rental properties. It is sad we’ve let some very vocal residents trample on the property rights of our entire community. We could have kept new vacation rental properties out of Minnetrista residential areas while protecting those in our community that have been operating responsibly in the past.

Short Term Rentals May 21, 2018

I’m hoping reason and common sense will prevail this evening and the council will realize that everyone has property rights, not just the loud and vocal. The easy, politically expedient path to take on short term rentals is to just ban them without considering future litigation, the hardship caused to responsible owners that have earned a livelihood from their businesses and who will have their investments destroyed by a piece of irresponsible legislation. Let’s address this issue responsibly and comply with Minnesota state law that protects property owners from having the rules changed to deny previously allowed uses. It’s the right thing to do.

We can find a way to prevent future properties intended solely as vacation rentals from locating in Minnetrista’s residential areas without trampling on the property rights of responsible people.

May 17, 2018

MINNETRISTA PROPERTY RIGHTS ARE BEING TARGETED and homeowners that have been able for decades to rent out their homes as vacation rentals will no longer be able to do so if a proposed ordinance passes next week. Despite the fact there are no specific complaints on record relative to any short-term rental usage of any kind on any properties within Minnetrista, the city council seems poised to ban short term rentals of less than 30 days. People that invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a house as a vacation rental business and have been responsible property owners for decades will have their businesses taken away by the city. So far there appears to be no inclination to grandfather these soon to be non-conforming properties as Minnesota state law requires (Minn. Stat. Section 462.357, subd. 1e).

What the city has done in the proposed ordinance is declared all short term rentals a public nuisance (which clearly they all are not as most have been operating responsibly for decades). In Minnesota, state law requires a standard of proof that a city must meet before declaring something a public nuisance, otherwise a local government could just arbitrarily declare anything they wanted to control, or get rid of, a nuisance (lawn mowers, dogs, etc.). That standard requires proof of a number of separate behavioral incidents committed within the previous 12 months. This standard has not been met by the city of Minnetrista and leaves the city wide open for litigation if it chooses not to grandfather these non-conforming properties and to make provisions for them in this ordinance.

The city council is unanimous in the desire to prevent future properties from being purchased in Minnetrista solely as vacation rentals in residentially zoned neighborhoods. There are constitutional issues involved, however, that need to be addressed in this ordinance to avoid taxpayer dollars from being needlessly spent on future litigation that could’ve been foreseen.