To the editor:
Based on the current number of rental licenses issued by the Columbia Heights, 44% of approximately 8,000 addresses in our community are rental units. This is almost double the state average and significantly higher than the 30% the city continues to cite. (I believe the disparity in the City’s figure is the result of counting buildings rather than actual units — a less than transparent approach.) The 44% rental figure does not include the 270 units attached to the Alatus development at 40th/Central, nor the 58 units soon to be approved and slated behind the Safety Building. According to our 2040 Comp Plan we only needed an additional 100 units over the next 10 years, and we will have exceeded with the two projects mentioned above.
Data shows property values are directly impacted by significant imbalances between owner-occupied and rental properties. Many cities have a rental density cap, West St. Paul’s is 10% of residential streets allowed to be a rental property. When rentals are not licensed, the city is impacted by uncollected fees and potentially lower taxes assessed if those properties continue to be taxed at homestead rates. This affects every taxpayer in Columbia Heights.
This is not about renters; it is about renTALS. When choosing to be a landlord, you’re operating a business requiring specific compliance with codes and regulations — many designed to promote health and safety from landlords whose lack of ethics allow him/her to skirt the system. This must change!
Jacobs is running for City Council.