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POLL: Do Neighbors Block Good Developments?

MinnPost columnist claims "'Stop' may be Minneapolis’ secret mantra."

In the wake of that left the developer warning that the vote "should be very troubling to all business interests in Minneapolis," one MinnPost columnist contends that Minneapolis' neighborhoods have a culture of "no" when it comes to any kind of change to the built environment.

Marlys Harris, who covers development issues for the online newspaper, writes:

Nobody wants (to substitute ugly hi-rises and freeways for current neighborhoods). But it seems as though right now, we can't even put up a modest apartment building or a store without requiring developers to rejigger plans 17 times and jump through a batch of political hoops only to fall on their faces at the end. The result is that we are choking off our own growth from the inside.

The roadblocks to "getting things done," she claims based on interviews with developers, planners, land use experts, seem to amount to three points:

  1. People approach a new development with a negative attitude from the outset.
  2. Neighborhoods insist on things the economics of development can't support, like low-rise buildings on high-value land.
  3. The Minneapolis zoning code is too rigid, and doesn't reflect "what the city wants built" in an area.

What do you think? After watching Linden Corner, 4525 France, the , and work their way through neighborhood organizations, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council, do you think Harris is right?

Christopher Maddox September 05, 2012 at 05:32 PM
There is some confusion around the 4525 France project. The Minneapolis City Council voted to reject the developer's application to get a waiver to the moratorium - and not to the proposed development itself.
Bry Johnson September 05, 2012 at 08:20 PM
But isn't it also true the Minneapolis City Council voted to reject the developer's application to get a waiver to the moratorium at the urging of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council?
Christopher Maddox September 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM
The moratorium ordinance was enacted by the City Council to provide Linden Hills residents with the time needed to develop a small area plan - without the divisiveness and controversy generated by any project that is outside the bounds of the current zoning. The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council urged the City Council to deny the waiver in order to protect the integrity of the Small Area Planning process and to respect the significant investment and efforts that residents are making to work with the City to complete a Small Area Plan.
Ryan September 06, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Neighbors and neighborhoods have a right to advocate for their best interests and investments as much as developers and business owners. The Council and zoning provide an organized manner in which to negotiate interests. What's the problem here? Easy to judge and take sides when you do not have skin in the game.
Bry Johnson September 06, 2012 at 12:23 PM
The moratorium ordinance was enacted as a result of the urging of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council. The LHiNC cannot escape the blame.
Sara Schumacher September 06, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Blame? The moratorium was enacted by our Council Person Betsy Hodges and the 12 other Council Members who voted for it. The LHiNC Board supports it and so do a majority of the residents of LInden Hills. The LHiNC Board does not tell Betsy Hodges what to do. If you are uncomfortable with the moratorium "Bry", feel free to run for LHiNC board and put the time in. Your blame game does nothing for this neighborhood.
Bry Johnson September 06, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Thanks for the comment "Sara". I will.
Mark September 06, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I agree with the majority of responses. The Mpls City Council seems to very anti-business and bows down to a few over reaching neighborhood councils, specifically LHiNC. Betsy Hodges in particular seems more focused on restricting private property rights (mcmansion rules, LH/Fulton developments, patio rules) than on what should be her role to help make her constituents more successful/neighborhoods more successful. LH is so focused on their own self interest that they are restricting business/building which serve other areas of Mpls/Edina. - (I laugh every time when I see LH claim that they call themselves a "village". You are a neighborhood like dozens of others in Mpls - and we all have a symbiotic relationship with each other. Our residents leave LH and many others come in. They bring with them dollars to spend and taxes to pay. To block both the Linden Corner development several times (thank goodness that developer keeps trying...) and this latest push against the France/44th St area condo development (you can hide behind the MCC vote on the moratorium but that was only in place due to pressure by the LHiNC - Bry is correct). How long does it take to get in place this small area plan? And is the purpose of the plan to restrict development? Linden Corner was a great idea for that area - housing/retail/dining/lots of parking - and the LH blocked it.
guy davidson September 12, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I had a very good experience with the neighborhood councils and the City council when I built my apartment building in the Wedge Neighborhood - granted that neighborhood is more urban than some. I had more trouble with the Plan Review department who at the time was lacking in good ( knowledgeable)staff.
guy davidson September 12, 2012 at 02:34 AM
I lived in the Linden Hills neighorhood for ten years - its really idyllic - I can understand their desire for keeping it small scale over there.

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