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Linden Corner Approved By Planning Commission

City Council must now act on pocket park on site.

To noises of disgust from many in the standing-room-only crowd, the Minneapolis Planning Commission voted 6-1 Monday night to approve the controversial Linden Corner development.

“The neighborhood group will likely appeal. We will also start lobbying the City Council,” said Jane Prince, a lawyer for opponents of the development. 

The project now moves before the City Counil’s Zoning and Planning Committee for discussion of whether the City will abandon control of the small “pocket park” at the corner of Upton Avenue and 43rd Street. Developer Mark Dwyer has proposed building a replacement park next to the building. If the neighborhood opposition group appeals any of the Planning Commission’s decisions, those appeals will also be heard by the City Council committee.

Individual City Council members have legally not been able to discuss the project yet, but equal numbers of supporters and opponents tugged Monday night at Councilmembers’ heartstrings. Opponents lauded the “grassroots” nature of their opposition, while Linden Hills residents supporting the development said opponents didn't represent the majority of the neighborhood. While 2,000 have signed a petition opposing the development, the neighborhood has roughly 6,000 adult residents.

Every commissioner except City Councilmember Gary Schiff supported the development. Schiff said he was “stunned” that the site’s C1 zoning permitted a large building like this.

“This goes way beyond the intent of the code,” he said, his voice filled with outrage.

“I don’t think 40 units is high density, at all," countered Planning Commission President David Motzenbecker, who is also an architect. He noted he's working on projects six times larger.

“We’ve chosen to live in a city, which is a dense environment,” he said. “Comments were made that a taller building would ‘ruin’ the business node, but there was really no proof given that. There are taller buildings at business nodes all over the city.”

The commission didn’t give Dwyer carte blanche to build his project as designed, though. Commissioners echoed opponents’ concerns about garbage and delivery trucks and asked Dwyer and his architects to come up with a solution that would take trucks off the street.

Paul Gillis February 07, 2012 at 08:37 PM
People like living in the city because it has charm, if Linden Hills is developed like St Louis Park it will lose its charm + originality, drive down housing prices, and ruin the integrity of an awesome neighborhood. Please do everything you can to stop this terrible decision from being made!
corrine February 07, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Density is being used here as a false argument for the developer to create a building that is inappropriate for the space. Anyone with any real knowledge about smartgrowth will tell you that density is appropriate in transit hubs, not along single bus routes with buses that only travel every 20-30 minutes. There is only the 6 bus along that line. This building is car dependent and all of it's 6 retail spaces, restaurant and office will clog your little area with cars, cars, cars. At least Gary Schiff gets it.
Dona February 07, 2012 at 10:23 PM
So sad. I find the argument that this development of non-affordable housing is needed for empty-nesters, retirees and to create density to be both false and disingenuous. If we really needed this type of housing for these reasons, why did The Bancroft fail?
Diana February 08, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I used to work in this neighborhood, and this type of generic development will ruin the charm and unique character of the neighborhood. This type of building will only bring the kind of traffic that will ruin this neighborhood. Contrary to what this planning commission seems to think, THIS city was build around pedestrian neighborhoods, and everyone I know who has moved into Minneapolis proper has done so for this reason. This building will dwarf and shadow this corner and make it look like just another ticky tacky 'new' development all over the country. If you really want to build higher density housing in this space, build to match the neighborhood with Victorian style townhomes fronted by a community garden.
Kathleen Oganovic February 08, 2012 at 02:42 PM
My husband and I think the project is great!. We live in the Fulton heighborhood and have watched the development of the 50th and France area over the past 20 years. The new buildings have just made everything better. On the weekends we do all our errands on foot. We want to down-size to a condo in the next few years and have been looking for a condo near our current home. We are very excited about the Linden Corner project.
mary reed February 08, 2012 at 07:21 PM
This development will not provide affordable housing for the neighborhood--with one BR condos starting at S350,000, it will provide housing for 4o wealthy people. I have lived in my LH home for 25 years and it has a value of $300,00, and that is 3 BR. We do not need another restaurant--especially since there is no place in the design for the delivery and garbage trucks to unload and load. A smaller scale building , designed to blend in with the existing architecture, is what should be developed on that corner. The building proposed is far too large and will not benefit the neighborhood in any way.
John from Minneapolis February 11, 2012 at 02:33 PM
At the Planning Commission hearing, one supporter made what I thought was a very perceptive comment. She said this project isn't perfect, but she couldn't envision there being a project that could possibly satisfy everyone. And having watched this unfold, I agree. How could anyone possibly satisfy everyone with an interest in this site? Suppose there were changes made -- would that take care of all the objections? Or would there still be some group of current opponents that would continue to fight for more changes? And then what changes would it take to satisfy them? I can envision a scenario in which we have 10 more years of a lovely asphalt parking lot on that site while groups continue to fight over the project.
Cedar Phillips February 12, 2012 at 05:26 AM
I know a little about smart growth, don't drive, and I strongly disagree with your premise. Linden Hills is one of the areas of the city that is NOT car-dependent; you can walk to most of what you need (which is part of its great appeal), and the 6, while not as frequent as I'd like, connects you to everything else one would require; it provides easy access to downtown, Uptown, and the Southdale area. The 46 bus (not frequent, but at least it's there) also picks up just a few blocks away. Granted, many Linden Hills residents -- who no doubt like to consider themselves ardent environmentalists -- DO make the majority of their trips via private automobile, but it's most definitely not a given. I think this is a great project, will enhance the neighborhood, and is the responsible thing to do. I'd take this building any day over the surface lot that covers most of the area now. If anything, one could make an argument that the project is not dense ENOUGH. In any case, it's a major stretch to call this location "car dependent", and presumably part of the appeal for potential new residents will be it's incredibly walkable location. And for those who are perhaps older and are downsizing (and thinking ahead), the ability to live here without needing a car and having a bus stop right outside is a major plus. Linden Hills has evolved over the years, and nothing will stop change. I think this project will be a positive for the neighborhood, and I support it 100%.

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