Loring Park Neighborhood

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
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woofner
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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby woofner » September 12th, 2013, 1:36 pm

MNdible wrote:Twincitizen is ready to go to the barracks over a minor piece of the plan. As was noted, the plan is first of all, merely advisory, and second, is accepting of taller towers, and third, it attempts to move towards the holy grail of form based zoning code that everybody here is always so hot and bothered about.
I seem to remember that you've made some pro-democracy statements in the past. Are you opposed to the part of democracy that allows people to testify to public officials about policies they disagree with?

The plan is not, in fact, merely advisory. If adopted by the council it will be official city policy. The ramification is that it will be more difficult to rezone from the OR3 that currently mostly exists there to B4N, which would allow taller buildings as of right, as well as eliminate parking minimums and encourage mixed-use and good urban design principles.

The fact that it claims to be accepting of taller towers is another weakness of the plan, since it conflicts with the height proscriptions. This will lead to conflicts similar to those that came up with the Opus Development, where the Marcy Homes plan said both that heights should be "what zoning allows" and four stories in Dinkytown. The effect will be that policymakers will do whatever they want.

Personally I'm not much of a fan of form-based zoning, but I think that getting specific about form can be useful for concentrated, form-defined districts. I'm don't think that the Loring Hill district is consistent enough in form to merit this treatment.
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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby MNdible » September 12th, 2013, 2:12 pm

Yes, go Democracy! I very much doubt that my little note will stop anybody from doing whatever democratic activities they're inclined to do.

I'm all for showing up at the Planning Commission in high dudgeon, too. I would note that regularly showing up at the Planning Commission and testifying to plans that you have no direct engagement with may result in decreasing effectiveness over time -- but your results may vary.
woofner wrote:This will lead to conflicts similar to those that came up with the Opus Development, where the Marcy Homes plan said both that heights should be "what zoning allows" and four stories in Dinkytown. The effect will be that policymakers will do whatever they want.
On this, we are agreed. But, I'm not sure that it's an all bad thing -- on one hand, I like predictability. On the other hand, a little discretion may be the kick that developers need to step up their game a little bit. Policymakers (and Loring Park neighbors) are more likely to accept a tall, svelte tower than an overstuffed turd.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby John » September 12th, 2013, 3:10 pm

Question MnDibble, if a development proposal came along in the master plan area that did not conform to the zoning code or guidelines, wouldn't the developer be able to ask for a variance? I think under certain circumstances, the neighborhood and city council member might evaluate a project as being very positive for the community and allow it to happen. I can't imagine this document is as set in stone as the ten commandments!

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby FISHMANPET » September 12th, 2013, 3:20 pm

NIMBYs like to use a document like this as the ten commandments though. But I don't know much of that there is in Loring Park.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby MNdible » September 12th, 2013, 3:32 pm

Yes, that's what I think both Woofner and I were getting at above. Inevitably, there is a fair amount of discretion in the approval process for projects that don't fit the mold.

I think the interesting question is, "Is that discretion a good thing?" Also, "Who, exactly, gets to exercise that discretion?"

It seems to me that this plan is really saying, "This area is appropriate for a generally dense, compact, six-story urban form that is punctuated by taller towers, but we don't feel comfortable giving blanket approval for towers because they could be very bulky or badly designed or in a bad location, and we'd like to take a closer look at projects like that."

Reserving that discretion makes a lot of sense if you trust your neighbors and politicians to make wise, rational, and forward-looking decisions. I know that people love to bash the process in Minneapolis, but I'd argue that, with a few notable exceptions, the city usually does a good job in navigating tricky waters. Much better than any other city in the metro area, to those who suggest that the suburbs (or St. Paul) are somehow better in this regard.

The only way to avoid this discretion, as I see it, is to write a very prescriptive code and grant no variances whatsoever, or write a code that is so pervasive that nobody ever has to request a variance. I'm not convinced that either of those options is better.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby John » September 12th, 2013, 4:50 pm

One aspect of the plan that I really agree with is the strong emphasis and value placed on street level retail frontage on the major corridors. This has not been a strong "given" in Minneapolis since the end of the streetcar era. This is a very positive change in how our community envisions its future urban character.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby min-chi-cbus » September 12th, 2013, 6:08 pm

But don't variances cost time and money to approve? Why would that be beneficial if we add more barriers to development? Just forego the 10 story maximum and make that area limitless and/or create a code that states that a certain % of an existing building's views can't be blocked by new development.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby twincitizen » September 13th, 2013, 10:16 am

As I stated in the MPLS Planning Commission thread, I'm not going to speak on this item, since I will for sure comment on the North Loop 8th Ave connection and likely on the Crooked Pint (4000 Lyndale) parking variance as well. I'll defer to those of you who actually live in Loring, downtown, Stevens Square, etc. to speak on this item.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby min-chi-cbus » September 13th, 2013, 10:59 am

Please?!

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby Wedgeguy » September 14th, 2013, 6:51 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:But don't variances cost time and money to approve? Why would that be beneficial if we add more barriers to development? Just forego the 10 story maximum and make that area limitless and/or create a code that states that a certain % of an existing building's views can't be blocked by new development.
There you have a ambiguous % that we say can blocks views, views of what? Downtown, the building would have to be higher on the edge instead of closer to the center of the city so those skyline view will not be affected. We don't want a 10 story wall build like Riverview, but I like slender towers like LPM's that don't totally block out a whole blocks views out their windows. Unless you buy air right you are not entitled to any view just because you had it when you bought.

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Nick
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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby Nick » September 14th, 2013, 7:35 pm

For what it's worth, I can't really think of too many prime building spots in Loring Park to put any hypothetical thirty story tower anyway. You've got the SA, I guess, which is only a fourth of a block, another fourth of a block or so at Spruce and Oak Grove, but other than that most of the empty lots are those lil' slots in between brownstones. I don't think we're at the point where it makes sense to pull down any four story buildings to put up a tower.

Sidebar: Honestly, how is an non-binding plan for a neighborhood of 8,000 people 250 pages long???

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby Wedgeguy » September 14th, 2013, 8:00 pm

The tower sites I can think of are not that close to the lake or park. Yes the SA site. If not there the King and I apartment building site would be ok for a tower. Hopefully they would make some kind of public connection up to the Greenway from LaSalle. The corner of 15th and Nicollet would be great for apartment/condos to help extend the retail corridor down to Eat Street. What is on that section of Nicolette [sic] reminds me of the Old Block E before they torn down those derelict buildings. Who really wants to walk that section of street.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby Anondson » September 14th, 2013, 8:48 pm

I would hope Nicollet between 15th and 94 sees a slender tower or two. The Greenway Gables just seem . . . "wrong" and an inappropriate use of downtown urban space, I still can't believe those happened.

But you are right, the area is pretty filled in by now.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby Wedgeguy » September 14th, 2013, 9:24 pm

There is really little vacate lots that will not create a wall along 15th or Oak Grove where there are current tenant parking. There is a decent sized lot at the corner of Spruce Place and Oak Grove that is a sloping site that would be nice for a 10 to 12 story building with the slope of the site they could get some decent parking into the site with extra spaces for other tenants in the area. It would make for an interesting skyline here.

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby min-chi-cbus » September 15th, 2013, 12:18 pm

Wedgeguy wrote:
min-chi-cbus wrote:But don't variances cost time and money to approve? Why would that be beneficial if we add more barriers to development? Just forego the 10 story maximum and make that area limitless and/or create a code that states that a certain % of an existing building's views can't be blocked by new development.
There you have a ambiguous % that we say can blocks views, views of what? Downtown, the building would have to be higher on the edge instead of closer to the center of the city so those skyline view will not be affected. We don't want a 10 story wall build like Riverview, but I like slender towers like LPM's that don't totally block out a whole blocks views out their windows. Unless you buy air right you are not entitled to any view just because you had it when you bought.
That's a good point....."view of what".

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Re: Loring Park Master Plan

Postby John » September 15th, 2013, 1:01 pm

Nick wrote:For what it's worth, I can't really think of too many prime building spots in Loring Park to put any hypothetical thirty story tower anyway. You've got the SA, I guess, which is only a fourth of a block, another fourth of a block or so at Spruce and Oak Grove, but other than that most of the empty lots are those lil' slots in between brownstones. I don't think we're at the point where it makes sense to pull down any four story buildings to put up a tower.

Sidebar: Honestly, how is an non-binding plan for a neighborhood of 8,000 people 250 pages long???
CLPC is really a social group as much as a community organization. Some of the people are likely retired and have time on their hands. It's a fun 250 page urban studies project, etc...

Yes, Maybe a few spots for a high rise. But truthfully there is not much land to develop in master plan area anymore, other than along Nicollet Ave, and maybe one or two parcels on the norther side. The plan is really much ado about nothing. ;)

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Simple Suggestions for Grant Street

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Re: Loring Park Neighborhood & Small Area Plan

Postby twincitizen » April 29th, 2014, 8:46 am


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Re: Loring Park Neighborhood & Small Area Plan

Postby Aville_37 » May 3rd, 2014, 4:07 pm

Not related to neighborhood plan - but has anyone been to the comic/gaming store on the corner of 15th and LaSalle? What a great little find. Was there today and was pretty busy with the comic convention going on at the convention center. It's stores like this that make a neighborhood unique and interesting. Also noticed that things appear to be coming along for the Nicollet Diner. Now if they could just get that surface parking lot on Nicollet developed.

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Re: Loring Park Neighborhood & Small Area Plan

Postby Wedgeguy » May 3rd, 2014, 4:20 pm

I'm all for getting that half block on the south side of 15th facing Nicollet redeveloped down to the freeway. That block makes walking south of 15th a, not so much want to do. But the land owner wants too much for the current value of the land. Maybe in 10 years, but he'll raise the price in 10 years too. Not sure if this is his lose tax deduction on his taxes. But he can't be cash flowing with it as is unless he owns it outright.


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