MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to make a controversial decision official, allowing triplexes citywide.

The vote is part of a larger plan, known as Minneapolis 2040, that has caused stiff debate across the city. The most contentious component is the move to allow triplexes on single-family lots in low-density zoning districts. This could be done either by new construction or by converting homes into three units.

The goal is to increase the supply of affordable housing. Some fear the change will give developers free rein to buy up properties in residential areas and then demolish them in favor of new apartment buildings. 

The two or three-unit properties will have to conform to the same height as single-family homes.

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Friday's vote makes this stage of the plan official, but the city council voted to approve the larger Comprehensive Plan on Oct. 25.

At that time, Mayor Jacob Frey said, "Minneapolis is leading the nation in the fight to create affordable housing and pushing back on intentional segregation in neighborhoods across our city. Our landmark 2040 Comprehensive Plan helps advance those goals by tackling our city’s long history of exclusionary zoning while laying the groundwork for stronger transit, climate, and inclusive development policies,” said Frey. “I commend my colleagues on the City Council for approving the plan and look forward to continuing our good work together.”

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A month before that city council vote, the Metropolitan Council formally approved the plan. The policies have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2020.