Showdown Over 62-Unit Linden Hills Building Set
Project seeking waiver from development moratorium.
The first major test of a one-year moratorium on large developments in Linden Hills will take place Thursday, Aug. 23 at 9:30 a.m.
That's when the Minneapolis City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee will take up an application from developer Scott Carlston to get an exception from the moratorium for his proposed 62-unit development on the corner of West 46th Street and France Avenue South. Carlston and his spokesperson, Jim Erickson, contend that the project should get the nod.
"It's very simple. We filed before the moratorium was put in place, and we withdrew our application in order to follow the waiver process rather than file an appeal" of the Planning Commission's decision, Erickson told Patch in an interview last month. "We were not the cause of the moratorium or the small area plan process."
Carlston's project was already being discussed in the neighborhood by the time the moratorium was proposed. The area covered by the moratorium fully includes the building's site, even though only the northern-most portion of the site sits in the city-defined "neighborhood commercial node."
Carlston's request also has the backing of city planning staff. As a planning staff's recommendation to the Zoning Planning reads:
[T]he applicant notes that the developer has incurred substantial costs to assemble the land, to design the initial project and the proposed project as well as the associated architectural, legal, and consultant costs to proceed through City processes over the past 10 months. In addition, the applicant cites holding and management costs as a hardship. The applicant also states that the project is generally within the zoning height limitations allowed as of right on each of the existing zoning lots and that under the moratorium, the developer is prohibited from developing any economically viable multi-family residential project on any of the lots either individually or collectively because of the 1.7 (Floor Area Ratio) limitation despite their belief that it is consistent with the Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth and the Zoning Code.
The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC) voted Thursday night to oppose Carlston's waiver request in order to protect the community's efforts to develop a small area plan to guide future developments.
"A lot of work has gone into the small area plan process," said LHiNC co-chair Constance Pepin. "A lot more hours will go into it."