Ramsey sets up new housing assistance policy

The city of Ramsey now has a scoring system to help it determine which housing projects deserve financial assistance.

The Ramsey City Council adopted a new Housing Assistance Policy to come up with a scoring system that would award points for items such as affordable housing, senior housing and proximity to the Northstar commuter rail station. Pictured above is The Residence, an upscale apartment complex in Ramsey. File photo

The Ramsey City Council adopted a new Housing Assistance Policy to come up with a scoring system that would award points for items such as affordable housing, senior housing and proximity to the Northstar commuter rail station. Pictured above is The Residence, an upscale apartment complex in Ramsey. File photo

The Ramsey City Council March 25 adopted a new Housing Assistance Policy.

Development Services Manager Tim Gladhill said points could be awarded for things such as senior housing, affordable housing, a housing mix that provides some rental opportunities, proximity to the Northstar commuter rail station, employment opportunities and architectural upgrades.

Gladhill said The Residence at The COR scored high because of its architecture, amenities and proximity to rail and employment opportunities. The Seasons of Ramsey townhome development would have scored highly because of it provides affordable housing and is also close to transit and employers. Stoney River, which is still under development, offers a variety of senior housing options and has quality architecture features.

The Residence and The Seasons both received some form of government financial assistance while the Stoney River developers did not seek it, Gladhill said. He did not specify what each could have received under the new scoring system, but said the new policy would provide a quantitative measurement when future requests come in.

“One of the frustrations in the past is people would come and ask us for assistance and we’d have no way to sort of judge the value the city might get from any investment we might make,” Mayor Sarah Strommen said. It was kind of a first-come, first-serve. Now the city has a basis to determine the value.”

Gladhill said this is modeled after programs used by the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. He said the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Ehlers, the city’s financial advisor, also reviewed the policy.

The policy will be reviewed annually.

“We fully expect this will change over time, but it’s time to put it in place as we continue to have requests come through,” Gladhill said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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