A proposed building at the corner of 46th and France is poised to get a waiver fron the Minneapolis City Council that would let it skip a moratorium on large-scale developments in Linden Hills, and the local neighborhood group is not happy.
After the City Council shot down the Linden Corner development proposal in March, it voted to establish a moratorium on "large-scale" developments—those exceeding what is allowed by current zoning—in Linden Hills' three business districts. The moratorium expires in March 2013. Developer Scott Carlston asked the city council for a waiver earlier this summer to let him build a 60-unit apartment building on part of the 4500 block of France Avenue South. The Council's Zoning and Planning committee voted last week to grant Carlston the waiver, but its decision must be approved by the full council this Friday.
A waiver, members of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC) told Patch on Wednesday, could hurt local efforts to develop a planning document called a "small area plan" that would set guidelines for future developers. Granting a waiver to the France Avenue project, said LHiNC co-chair Grant Hawthorn, would draw off community energies from the planning process just as it's about to get fully underway.
"Members of the committee have limited time, adding another controversy now will split some of those members between their jobs working toward the small area plan" and their interest in halting the 4525 France project, said Larry LaVercombe, head of LHiNC's Zoning Committee.
After months of planning, LHiNC is planning to begin seeking community input on a potential plan in September, and select a consultant to help draft the plan by January 2013, Hawthorn said. The process, he and other board members said, required a lot of volunteer energy.
"We’re not for or against project, we’re for the process" that would "protect" the small area plan's development, said Constance Pepin, Hawthorn's counterpart.
"This isn't a statement for or against (Carlston's) project," she added.
Carlston and his team argue that their proposal is given "grandfather" rights, as its proposed predecessor was submitted to city staff before the moratorium took effect. He also argues that a six-month delay would be financially harmful.