HEADS UP: Housing anti-discrimination ordinance turns up for discussion

Heads Up is a weekly column previewing city government meetings in Grand Forks.

After a two-month hiatus, a proposed city law that would prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation is back on the agenda of a City Council committee.

In a nutshell, that law would prohibit denying the sale, purchase, lease or rental of any housing unit based on that type of discrimination.

There are exceptions to the rule. These include rooms for rent in single-family homes occupied by the owners, multi-unit housing containing no more than four households if the owner uses one of the units as a primary living space, government (federal or state) housing, and religious institutions, churches and religious-based housing.

The law will be discussed during the Finance/Development Committee’s Monday meeting. It was originally set to appear back on June 24, but that meeting was cancelled. There was no sign of it on other meeting agendas up until Aug. 12.

It was supposed to be discussed two weeks ago but the now infamous Grand Forks Public Schools’ public hearing on property tax increases was scheduled on the same night. That led to committee chairman Dana Sande cancelling the meeting.

“I don’t believe attending the school’s budget meeting is more important than the housing ordinance. However, I don’t believe they will move their meeting to suit us and I do believe attending their meeting is very important for all of us.” Sande wrote in an email published on a public Facebook event page.

The event page was created to urge residents to attend the Aug. 12 meeting and show support for the proposed law.

The vote granting or denying preliminary approval to the law will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber of City Hall. If passed, the law will need final approval from the entire council before Mayor Mike Brown can sign it into the books.

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