Yesterday I read a proposal for an amendment to the Minneapolis zoning code that has me deeply concerned. The proposal, by Council Member Lilligren, would decrease the required lot size for duplexes from the current 10,000. For example, you cannot build a duplex on an 8,000 square foot lot now, but you could if this amendment passed, provided that the lot is already inside an R2B zoned district. In other words, in neighborhoods already possessing duplexes, you would be able to build even more duplexes. If I read the text correctly, the intent is to increase rental housing, possibly by as much as 50%, only in those neighborhoods already zoned for duplexes. It implies that the most egregious use could be to tear down two duplexes on 20,000 square feet to replace them with three duplexes. The reason given in the staff report is that Minneapolis needs more housing units to compete for people moving to the metro area in the future.
The ordinance suggests that as new residents arrive in Minneapolis, Lynnhurst and the rest of those communities in Southwest Minneapolis won't have to absorb any new people because those communities are not zoned R2B for duplexes. So, let's compare Lynnhurst to SAENA (St. Anthony East Neighborhood, where I live), and I don't mean to pick on Lynnhurst. I just don't remember the name of another neighborhood at the moment. As people arrive in Minneapolis from North Dakota (this is not intended as a xenophobic diatribe, rather an anti-rental density diatribe) or where ever, the housing stock in Lynnhurst will be stable. Rising demand, stable supply, their housing values will go up radically. In SAENA, zoned for duplexes already, we will potentially increase housing units. Rising demand, rising supply, flat housing prices. This amendment is intended to "increase the amount of land supply available for two-family dwelling, which is a housing type that provides significant opportunities for home ownership while offering a potentially affordable rental housing option in a relatively low density environment." Increasing concentrations of affordable housing can only ghettoize any community. I know from reading the Minneapolis Observer that Como has really struggled with the decrease in owner-occupied housing. I've spoken with lots of people on the North side about their struggles, and it generally starts with too much absentee landlord housing. I don't have to share this concern with anyone in my own neighborhood, SAENA. If this were an amendment intended to apply city-wide to expand such units throughout the city and increase density on a citywide level I would be more supportive. However, looking at the map provided to me, the only communities affected are those already mired in rental housing. I know that Marcy-Holmes is also really struggling with an increase in student housing, and Hawthorne and McKinley have hardly enough homeowners to struggle for the integrity of their communities. Has anybody else read this stuff closely enough to form an opinion? I'm curious if I'm missing something, or if I have a reason to be concerned. I would appreciate any feedback on the list, to correct a misplaced opinion, or confirmation that I should be concerned. At this point I would certainly like to advocate that folks take a close look at the proposed amendments, because public hearings are due on the 20th. I've included the text of one letter on my blog. www.jeremywieland.blogs.com <http://www.jeremywieland.blogs.com/> . I'll see if I can find some of the related materials. Last night I spoke with one landlord who I trust a fair amount, and she agreed that there may be a need to reduce the required lot size, but only in the context of overall neighborhood density. This amendment is asking already dense communities to become more densely populated. Instead, this amendment should be considered only in conjunction with an amendment that opens up duplex housing to more communities, and caps the number of rental households in all communities. What have folks got to say? Jeremy Wieland St. Anthony East www.jeremywieland.blogs.com Circulation Director Utne magazine 1624 Harmon Place Minneapolis, MN 55403 612.338.5040 x326 www.utne.com SUBSCRIBE NOW. CLICK HERE: <http://www.utne.com/subscribe/> http://www.utne.com/subscribe/ Utne is an independent media company. We believe that personal evolution is the key to social change. Our mission is to seek out and illuminate the essential information, people and trends that inspire our audience to take action to make the world kinder and greener. REMINDERS: 1. Be civil! Please read the NEW RULES at http://www.e-democracy.org/rules. If you think a member is in violation, contact the list manager at [EMAIL PROTECTED] before continuing it on the list. 2. Don't feed the troll! Ignore obvious flame-bait. For state and national discussions see: http://e-democracy.org/discuss.html For external forums, see: http://e-democracy.org/mninteract ________________________________ Minneapolis Issues Forum - A Civil City-focused Civic Discussion - Mn E-Democracy Post messages to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribe, Un-subscribe, etc. at: http://e-democracy.org/mpls