Not Appreciated: Minneapolis NIMBYites Attack The Affordable Four-Plex

In Minneapolis, some see four-plexes as gateway drugs for low-rise apartments (pictured) and eventually to sun-blotting high-rise towers.

NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that describe opposition in the face of a worldwide affordable housing crisis.

The four-plex fear? Appreciation. Or rather, the lack of it. If four-plexs are allowed in single-housing zoned neighbourhoods, the fear is that nearby single family dwellings will not appreciate. That will be a financial hardship for those who live in the neighbourhood and one day in the future wish to cash out at a profit.

Millions of people live in city neighbourhoods which grew like topsy, progressing from no zoning to patchwork zoning that today results in a mish-mash of individual homes, two or three or four or more-plexs, low rise apartments and high rises, to say nothing of commercial or industrial buildings. The idea of a two story four-plex being a threat to appreciation in such neighbourhoods is worthy of little more than a shrug.

Single family detached houses, however, carry a certain ‘American Suburban Dream’ cachet. That elusive quality presumably exists in the minds of neighbours who live in districts zoned exclusively for single family dwellings and who are desperate to keep it that way.

In Minneapolis, neighborhood NIMBYites are fighting proposals to breech the planning moat that protects their single family dwellings from the thin end of the multiple-family dwelling wedge. Allow affordable four-plexs and then who knows how long it will be before they are joined low rise apartments, even high rises — all bringing  a torrent of unfamiliar classes of people into the neighbourhood.

Feel the Nimby fears in an otherwise sober analysis by Finance & Commerce: Pros and cons of the Minneapolis fourplex plan


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