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Linden Hills Small Area Plan Advances

New group to serve as voice of Linden Hills while working with city in writing neighborhood plan.

While about a new proposed development at the corner of 43rd and Upton, the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC) took another small step on Tuesday night toward creating a legally-binding document to shape the character of its business districts.

, the document will outline a long-range vision of typically 15 to 20 years for land use and development in the area. Tuesday night, LHiNC approved a 15-member steering committee to manage the plan's creation.

“We welcome that there are many voices on the committee,” said LHiNC board co-chair Constance Pepin.

If adopted by the Minneapolis City Council, the small area plan would embed neighborhood preferences in the city’s zoning code.

Committee members are charged with sharing their vision for the future of Linden Hills as a representative voice of the neighborhood. However, the committee will not write the plan.

“The role of the steering committee is really to guide the process,” said Brian Schaffer, a principal city planner with the City of Minneapolis who will be working with the steering committee when they begin meeting later in the month.

LHiNC the idea of creating a small area plan in March, voting to allocate $60,000 to the project.

The board initially received 27 steering committee applications. After a selection process, which included interviewing many committee applicants, the board selected 15 steering committee nominees and three alternates.

The goal of the selection process was to nominate a diverse group of neighborhood residents and stakeholders who would accurately represent the various perspectives of the Linden Hills community.

“The idea was to be very transparent,” said board member Russ Cheatham. “I tried to be as objective as possible.”

Steering committee members include homeowners, senior citizens, local business owners, developers, planners and architects. The board had hoped to include a renter on the committee as well, but no Linden Hills renters applied.

LHiNC board co-chairs Constance Pepin and Grant Hawthorne will serve as board liaisons to the committee.

The majority of people in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting were steering committee nominees. Audience feedback regarding the selected committee nominees was minimal and no one in attendance objected to any of the nominees.

“I think the intent of going through this process is really, really valuable,” said Ben Hecker, who is the chief aide for City Councilmember Betsy Hodges (Ward 13). “I’m just really excited.”

The first Small Area Plan Steering Committee meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on July 31 at the . All steering committee meetings will be open to the public.

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