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Temporary dwellings seek permanent law after passing House

Temporary health care dwellings are a signature away from being more widely used my families to house loved ones with an illness. Sponsored by Rep. Roz Peterson (R-Lakeville) and Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), HF2497/ SF2555* would regulate the zoning and requirements of temporary dwellings and establish a permitting system.

Passed 113-17 by the House Wednesday, the bill now goes to the governor. It was passed 50-15 by the Senate May 5.

“Seniors don’t always have the options available that they need,” Peterson said. “This addresses the currently underserved needs of immediate and affordable short-term housing options.”

Although favorable of its intent, concerns arose over the power of local governments to control the use, location and renewals of temporary dwellings.

“What happens if a family has used this option and for whatever reason the city doesn’t want to renew a permit?” said Rep. Barb Yarusso (DFL-Shoreview). “I’m concerned that in practice this is going to be extremely difficult to accomplish in some situations.”

Only one temporary dwelling would be permitted per property, under the guidance of a caregiver over the age of 18 who is either a relative, legal guardian or health care agent.

The temporary dwellings visually resemble an RV, but are required to mimic the qualifications of a home. At no more than 300 square feet with both heating and air conditioning, they also include access to both electric and water, a septic tank, and full kitchen, bathroom and bedroom designed to comply with American Disabilities Act guidelines. The outside is constructed of exterior materials comparable to those used in residential construction.

Dwellings are not be attached to a permanent foundation and must be able to be installed, removed and transported by a 1-ton pickup truck.

“This is a win-win for both families and the communities that oversee these types of permits,” Peterson said.

To apply for a permit, one would be required to file with the county includng signatures of the caregiver, patient and property owner, written certification that the disabled person requires assistance (limited to one occupant), a notice for neighbors, and a general site map to show the location of the dwelling and service hookups.

A permit would allow the dwelling to be established for a six-month period and could be extended for up to a year.

A temporary dwelling that meets the requirements cannot be prohibited by a local ordinance regulating RV parking or storage. However, a county may revoke the permit if the permit holder violates any requirement. Cities and counties also have the opportunity to opt out of the legislation.

If the county revokes a permit, the holder has 60 days from the date of revocation to remove the dwelling.

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