Zoning in Minneapolis

Parks, Minneapolis Public Schools, Density, Zoning, etc.
MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5518
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby MNdible » March 15th, 2017, 2:53 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 2:02 pm
I'm curious what changes to the zoning code most people are proposing that are so crazy?
FISHMANPET wrote:...then what's the harm in upzoning everything to R6?
Yeah, I'm sure voters wouldn't mind that.

VAStationDude
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 782
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:30 am

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby VAStationDude » March 15th, 2017, 2:55 pm

lol

LakeCharles
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 778
Joined: January 16th, 2014, 8:34 am
Location: Kingfield

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby LakeCharles » March 15th, 2017, 3:00 pm

MNdible wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 2:53 pm
RailBaronYarr wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 2:02 pm
I'm curious what changes to the zoning code most people are proposing that are so crazy?
FISHMANPET wrote:...then what's the harm in upzoning everything to R6?
Yeah, I'm sure voters wouldn't mind that.
Excellent point. Just pick out the hyperbolic thing that fishmanpet said and address that and you can ignore everything else talked about.

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4564
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 3:04 pm

MNdible wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 2:53 pm
RailBaronYarr wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 2:02 pm
I'm curious what changes to the zoning code most people are proposing that are so crazy?
FISHMANPET wrote:...then what's the harm in upzoning everything to R6?
Yeah, I'm sure voters wouldn't mind that.
Either there's pent up demand being held back by zoning, or there's not. If you really think that there's no pent up demand then what's the point of R1 zoning?

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4564
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 3:07 pm

If it feels like I'm talking down to you like you're ten, it's because I am:

Twincitizen has postulated that there is no pent up zoning demand, because most rezoning requests are successful. That the reason people aren't asking to go from R1 to R4 isn't because it would never happen, but because nobody wants it. So if we accept that as true then what's the harm in upzoning everything to R6 again in this theoretical situation that Twincitizen has given.

xandrex
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1255
Joined: January 30th, 2013, 11:14 am

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby xandrex » March 15th, 2017, 3:19 pm

^This seems to be, at least in part, taking twincitizen's argument and making it more extreme. A reasonable read of his comment is that he contends market forces and lack of good development sites are the issue. He did not say "IN NO WAY IS ZONING IMPEDING ANYTHING EVERRRRRRR"

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5518
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby MNdible » March 15th, 2017, 3:38 pm

FMP,

Thanks for throwing in the unnecessary insult.

While you may not have been literally suggesting that above, it doesn't take much digging around the forum to find people who are in fact arguing for things very much in the same vein, or for eliminating zoning altogether. You've advocated for such things yourself.

There are lots of spots with R1 zoning where you probably could, in fact, upzone to R6 and it wouldn't make a lick of difference. Nobody would find it worth their while to go through the trouble to assemble enough lots to build a big project in a low demand neighborhood. But what if you're the poor SOB who just happened to have somebody drop a six story apartment building right next to their single family house?

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 15th, 2017, 3:47 pm

I feel like we've gone in this circle a few times. Twincitizen has also posited in the past that there's no demand for commercial businesses in places that aren't historic streetcar commercial buildings. I disagreed pointing out all the single family homes converted to commercial (hair salons, law offices, vet clinic, even restaurants along Hennepin Ave) that would not have been possible without a zoning change (or, they were expansions and uses that happened before our modern zoning and were grandfathered in).

I guess, here's a good thought experiment. Here are things that have happened or are happening right now:
- People being booted out of their apartments for other people who have more money
- Dense development like a sea of attached townhomes or apartments in places that aren't that centrally located or even transit-accessible
- Evidence from the 1970s that downzoning severely limited multifamily housing in many parts of the city, even as suburbia was booming
- House purchase prices in urban neighborhoods are soaring, with little to no inventory of units under $250k in many neighborhoods

How can it be true that our zoning code + whatever minor upzones/variances/CUPs is meeting **exactly** what the market is demanding for housing in Minneapolis?

Nobody is saying that if we upzone to R[insert whatever here] tomorrow that we'll get Paris in a couple years. But the lack of development on a relative paucity of sites across this city zoned R5 and up does not mean that market forces aren't demanding that style of housing. I can guarantee you there are plenty of people living in new Richfield or Edina or Bloomington apartments (or, hell, those Concierge units with a fresh coat of paint) who'd rather be in the Wedge or Powderhorn or Northeast because the location is better and the bus commute to Target is shorter. And we can't be talking about displacement (whatever number of people it is) without acknowledging that there isn't enough housing.

Projects like Lander's Motiv or the 3535 Grand or any number of Turkeyplexes - simple residential projects with a bit of cheap parking that come brand new with rents meeting 80% AMI affordability levels - I find it hard to believe market forces wouldn't build these by the dozens to meet the (clear, present) demand for housing. Like I've said before, I'm not saying exactly how many net additional units would be built if we upzoned to R[insert whatever here] in many places. But as frustrating as it is to you to hear us say it would help, it's equally frustrating to me to hear all the shitty reasons (lowers neighboring property values! traffic! parking! character!) for why we shouldn't.

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4564
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 4:15 pm

MNdible wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 3:38 pm
FMP,

Thanks for throwing in the unnecessary insult.

While you may not have been literally suggesting that above, it doesn't take much digging around the forum to find people who are in fact arguing for things very much in the same vein, or for eliminating zoning altogether. You've advocated for such things yourself.

There are lots of spots with R1 zoning where you probably could, in fact, upzone to R6 and it wouldn't make a lick of difference. Nobody would find it worth their while to go through the trouble to assemble enough lots to build a big project in a low demand neighborhood. But what if you're the poor SOB who just happened to have somebody drop a six story apartment building right next to their single family house?
Yes, I have unironically advocated for upzoning everything to R6. But I'm refuting a specific argument here. Twincitizen is explicitly stating that there is no widespread pent up demand for upzoning. That's the claim. I'm refuting that specific claim. I'm asking the question, that if there's no demand, what's the harm in upzoning? You're actually saying "I agree with Twincitizen that there's little pent up demand being held back by zoning, but by upzoning you would release pent up demand (that I just said didn't exist)"

I know you are not Twincitizen so I won't say that you believe exactly what Twincitizen believes, but you're actually agreeing with me, that if you upzoned everything to R6, there would in fact be pent up demand and 6 story apartment might spring up places. So you agree with me that there is pent up demand that's being held back by upzoning.

Now, separate to that claim is if we should actually upzone or not. I think that we should, and you probably think something different, but Twincitizen's argument doesn't get that far! He says no demand, end of story, wrap it up. So again, in that hypothetical scenario (I don't understand why you're having such a hard time understanding that I'm talking about this hypothetical scenario) what's the harm in upzoning? If what Twincitizen believes is true, what is the harm in upzoning?

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4564
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 4:16 pm

xandrex wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 3:19 pm
^This seems to be, at least in part, taking twincitizen's argument and making it more extreme. A reasonable read of his comment is that he contends market forces and lack of good development sites are the issue. He did not say "IN NO WAY IS ZONING IMPEDING ANYTHING EVERRRRRRR"
Lack of good development sites that is somehow completely unrelated to lack of properties with permissive zoning.

MNdible
is great.
Posts: 5518
Joined: June 8th, 2012, 8:14 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby MNdible » March 16th, 2017, 6:53 am

I can only imagine how trying it must be when people fail to distinguish between your hypothetical suggestions for wall-to-wall R6 and your sincere suggestions for wall-to-wall R6. I'll try to be more grown up next time and catch the distinction.

Just because somebody might want to build a six story apartment in South Minneapolis Bungalowland doesn't mean we need to let them.

Aside from a general libertarian strong-town faith that the market will somehow get things right, the anti-zoning crowd points to a belief that getting rid of zoning will magically make housing affordable again. It won't. Land costs are a relatively small part of the housing affordability problem, and a change like this won't actually bring housing land costs down very much.

There are certainly some areas that should be upzoned, but it doesn't bother me that much for developers who want to build on underzoned sites to be held to a higher level of scrutiny.

amiller92
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1556
Joined: October 31st, 2014, 12:50 pm

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby amiller92 » March 16th, 2017, 7:17 am

MNdible wrote:. Land costs are a relatively small part of the housing affordability problem, and a change like this won't actually bring housing land costs down very much.
.
Sure, but the point of being able to add a lot more units isn't reducing land costs.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 16th, 2017, 8:36 am

Maybe, can we all stop acting like the 6-story, 84' boogeyman is:
1) the most likely outcome for a housing development even if a bunch of parcels were zoned R6 (ex Motiv is 4 stories, zoned R6, as were basically all the parcels in the city that got those 2.5 story shitbox walk-ups in the 60s)
2) that bad of an outcome, even if it did happen (define "bad" - neighboring property values, actual impacts to neighboring health/safety, you name it)
3) incapable of being regulated in different ways to mitigate design issues
4) okay to put next to an apartment building where someone living with only one window gets the shaft but not okay next to that poor fellow who owns a single family home
5) okay to put next to polluted streets and against freeways that wealthier people avoid
6) the maximum developers can build, representing the extreme starting point for zoning negotiation (ie, developers have and could build 15 story towers in residential areas, so 6 stories is already a compromise when talking regulation)
7) even what people are advocating for

As an unimportant aside, I wouldn't lump in Strong Towns with the more market-oriented people, since this (paradoxically orderly but dumb) suggestion is what they've pushed.

And, your snark about some libertarian faith is unappreciated. It's *okay* to believe that sometimes markets are good and doing things and sometimes they're not. It's okay to come to a conclusion after reading tons of literature that the places in this country and across the planet that care less about compatibility and character also tend to get more housing units built per capita and also tend to see less housing inflation (but also, other better outcomes like walking and biking and transit feasibility and all the great stuff that comes with them). I think it's also okay to say that even an ugly or out of scale apartment building is still first and foremost a place where people live and that maybe our zeal to SimCity ourselves a perfect planet has swung just a bit too far on the regulatory side.

But this whole thing comes back to asking what amount of shift in our zoning code is too "crazy" to handle and would cause sweeping voter outrage, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and so on. Advocates are already willing to let "what existing neighbors (really, homeowners) are willing to concede" be an underlying premise of the discussion - literally nobody is calling Lisa Bender and asking her to upzone Kenny to R6 tout suite. So what do we (all) want? Is it allowing duplexes/triplexes in existing homes, 3-story (max) townhomes, and maybe small apartment buildings? Or is it something else? How do we get there from a code perspective? Are there places where we know land costs are too high to allow that form so we may need to shift the discussion a little?

It's the housing advocates who are the ones willing to have long, hard, nuanced discussions and find a balance, and that goes same when talking about policies and funding mechanisms for any other non-libertarian style housing programs. Meanwhile, your average Joe Homeowner only cares about traffic, parking, and if a 6-story apartment building next door will shade his azaleas or cost him a few percent on the sale of his home in 20 years.

David Greene
IDS Center
Posts: 4695
Joined: December 4th, 2012, 11:41 am

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby David Greene » March 16th, 2017, 7:27 pm

I'm immediately skeptical of any argument that ends with, "my side is reasonable and willing to have 'tough' discussions but whoa that other side is all crazies that only cares about themselves and they are ignorant to boot."

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk


mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7541
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby mattaudio » March 17th, 2017, 7:08 am

City zoning discussion framework for a policy change surrounding drive-throughs:
http://minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/pub ... 195796.pdf

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 17th, 2017, 9:27 am

David Greene wrote:
March 16th, 2017, 7:27 pm
I'm immediately skeptical of any argument that ends with, "my side is reasonable and willing to have 'tough' discussions but whoa that other side is all crazies that only cares about themselves and they are ignorant to boot."
It's fine if you're skeptical. I'd just like to point out that not every issue needs to have a "both sides are equal" qualification. I don't think you believe that, either. You (personally) don't give the same weight to people arguing we should close our borders to immigrants/refugees, right? You're willing to admit there is an actually complicated discussion around immigration involving public costs to re-settle people, house them train them, deal with proven first-generation crime rates that are (sometimes, but not always) slightly higher than the general population's, etc. But that also it's morally the right thing to do and in the long-run it's great for our diversity and economy. And, I'm guessing here, but you don't have a lot of compassion or respect for the people who boil down their argument to a few stats or specific impacts to them or their community (or tax rate) because their position lacks, among other things, nuance. I could say the same about energy policy (actual policy work vs "the sun doesn't always shine and the wind isn't always blowing!" arguments), climate change (where some majority of conservatives are using their and their constituents' belief that it **isn't even a real thing** to frame the debate) or any other complicated policy areas where both sides are definitely not equivalent.

There's a bevy of evidence on the side of zoning reformers around housing prices, climate change, public health, you name it. And, as I said, people who want to make changes a bit more significant than allowing ADUs or duplexes in zones already zoned R2 are already willing to work in the sandbox where the preferences of people in single family homes are given priority (like I said, nobody is proposing R6 everywhere, let alone downtown zoning districts allowing high-rises). That doesn't mean that we/I have to like it, but it also doesn't mean that I need to think the fear of not having a guaranteed on-street parking space out front or claims that renters simply have more garbage than homeowners or any number of other things people say at neighborhood organizations and public hearings carry the same scientific rigor as mine.

Those arguments, their fear, their organizing skills (and, if I'm being honest, their money that can fund political challengers) are what cause council members/etc to fear pushing too hard - the exact revolt MNdible describes. It's what made CMs Gordon and Goodman put forward an Intentional Community ordinance that was far too conservative (way too many regulations) - not because it was rational or backed up by any evidence (or even best for the ICs themselves), but because (and Gordon explicitly said) it was all they could negotiate with existing communities. It is what it is, but I also won't apologize for feeling like the amount of time and effort many people have invested in understanding the economics of housing and how zoning fits into a much broader sustainability agenda and then packaging that into a pre-negotiated package to then compromise with single family homeowners isn't equivalent to the same arguments you hear time and again from people opposed to changes (as small as allowing a lot subdivided into two 39.2' wide lots for two single family homes).

David Greene
IDS Center
Posts: 4695
Joined: December 4th, 2012, 11:41 am

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby David Greene » March 17th, 2017, 9:39 am

RailBaronYarr wrote:
March 17th, 2017, 9:27 am
David Greene wrote:
March 16th, 2017, 7:27 pm
I'm immediately skeptical of any argument that ends with, "my side is reasonable and willing to have 'tough' discussions but whoa that other side is all crazies that only cares about themselves and they are ignorant to boot."
It's fine if you're skeptical. I'd just like to point out that not every issue needs to have a "both sides are equal" qualification. I don't think you believe that, either. You (personally) don't give the same weight to people arguing we should close our borders to immigrants/refugees, right?
What I'm objecting to is your (and others') apparent opinion that almost everyone opposed to your ideas holds that position out of selfishness or ignorance and that things the other side values (yes, character!) should be simply dismissed out of hand.

If you're really willing to have complex conversations you have to allow and consider those viewpoints. Otherwise you're being intellectually dishonest. Just at least try to understand the other side. Sit down for a few rounds of coffee with someone who disagrees with you, even if they seem crazy to you.

kirby96
Union Depot
Posts: 357
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 11:30 am

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby kirby96 » March 17th, 2017, 9:56 am

David Greene wrote:
March 17th, 2017, 9:39 am
What I'm objecting to is your (and others') apparent opinion that almost everyone opposed to your ideas holds that position out of selfishness or ignorance and that things the other side values (yes, character!) should be simply dismissed out of hand.

If you're really willing to have complex conversations you have to allow and consider those viewpoints. Otherwise you're being intellectually dishonest. Just at least try to understand the other side. Sit down for a few rounds of coffee with someone who disagrees with you, even if they seem crazy to you.
Yep. For a quick primer on the effectiveness of the "you're dumb" argument, simply navigate to your favorite news source.

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4564
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 17th, 2017, 10:48 am

David Greene wrote:
March 17th, 2017, 9:39 am
RailBaronYarr wrote:
March 17th, 2017, 9:27 am
David Greene wrote:
March 16th, 2017, 7:27 pm
I'm immediately skeptical of any argument that ends with, "my side is reasonable and willing to have 'tough' discussions but whoa that other side is all crazies that only cares about themselves and they are ignorant to boot."
It's fine if you're skeptical. I'd just like to point out that not every issue needs to have a "both sides are equal" qualification. I don't think you believe that, either. You (personally) don't give the same weight to people arguing we should close our borders to immigrants/refugees, right?
What I'm objecting to is your (and others') apparent opinion that almost everyone opposed to your ideas holds that position out of selfishness or ignorance and that things the other side values (yes, character!) should be simply dismissed out of hand.

If you're really willing to have complex conversations you have to allow and consider those viewpoints. Otherwise you're being intellectually dishonest. Just at least try to understand the other side. Sit down for a few rounds of coffee with someone who disagrees with you, even if they seem crazy to you.
Serious question. Do you "allow and consider" the viewpoints that all non-whites are less than human? Do you "allow and consider" the viewpoint that the sun goes down so solar panels are bad, or that we'll use up all the wind so wind turbines are bad? Do you "allow and consider" the viewpoint that Mexicans are thugs and rapists coming to destroy our country? Do you "allow and consider" the viewpoint that Jews and Muslims are subhuman trash trying to destroy civilization as we know it?

Again, serious question. You can go on an and on about how we need to listen to all sides because all viewpoints are equally valid, but do you really believe that, or do you only believe that when there's a preponderance of evidence that goes against how you feel?

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 17th, 2017, 11:23 am

David Greene wrote:
March 17th, 2017, 9:39 am
If you're really willing to have complex conversations you have to allow and consider those viewpoints. Otherwise you're being intellectually dishonest. Just at least try to understand the other side. Sit down for a few rounds of coffee with someone who disagrees with you, even if they seem crazy to you.
I'm confused. What part of my post indicated to you that the people interested in zoning reform (in the up direction) aren't the ones doing this? That there aren't tons of conversations with family members, friends, strangers, people on city/county/etc boards or committees we sit on, people with differing views on Twitter or Facebook (who ban anyone with different opinions than them), people we encounter from advocacy orgs, etc happening already? The part where I talk about how even though I don't believe things like neighborhood character should outweigh letting more people live in a city/neighborhood/whatever (not that it doesn't exist or should be dismissed out of hand!) but that I recognize there are many different viewpoints and so we come *to the table* with a pretty tame (in the scheme of what's technically possible in 2017 America) proposal like allowing 4 story buildings more (or different) places than we do today.

What part of me being a white single family home owner doesn't give me understanding of the types of wants and desires other people in similar shoes share? I'm not, nor have I ever said, that homeowner desires are solely due to selfishness and ignorance - but it would be crazy to suggest that those things aren't a major contributor to the history of zoning in this country.

We have a system in place that favors single family homeowners who like to drive. It's a complex system involving zoning, transportation planning, and a host of other local/state/federal programs and policies. We can't have a single policy put forward regarding land use without thinking *first* "what would the homeowners think?" These people tend to be whiter, wealthier, and more privileged than the average citizen. And yet, the city has to come to them, to hear their feelings, thoughts, concerns and craft ideas and policies around them. Maybe I'm wrong or arrogant or intellectually dishonest, but I'm not seeing people who like the status quo (or, push for even more restrictions by downzoning) going and having coffee with renters or people who might like to live in Minneapolis but can't or whatever (or, gasp, developers and architects or other people this country has dismissed out of hand for being greedy and ruining our cities). For example, you might think that it's important for a place like the Wedge to maintain a bunch of detached houses for reasons of character or history or whatever - have you gone and asked the 50% of people in this city who rent (the majority of them in apartment buildings) if they feel the same way? Did anyone else? Even the framing of "impact" (colloquially and in policy documents) runs in a certain direction - apartments impact SFHs. We simply don't generally see that bias running the other way around (SFHs contribute less to walkability, transit viability, fewer eyes on the sidewalk, occupants are more likely to drive in the neighborhood and pollute or come up with any number of other impacts). The conversation comes to the homeowners first (explicitly or implicitly by avoiding controversial proposals), and if they see things they don't like, they express their opinion. That's fair for them to react that way.

But I don't agree with a process that lets them set the conversation framework. Even if many of those people aren't the actual crazy ones who go and testify at city hall with tape measures or powerpoint presentations comparing the city to the Empire (I think we can all agree this is crazy behavior, right?) - that putting these peoples' desires first should feel backwards to us (even if it's easier since you know who they are and how/when they gather)? It *feels like* going to a bunch of white people first to ask them how they feel about a policy or funding aimed at minorities, or going to a bunch of people making $100k a year and asking them how they feel about $15/hour, or asking drivers how they feel about a dedicated bus lane without asking the bus riders.


Return to “Minneapolis - General Topics and Citywide Issues”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Nathan and 3 guests