Zoning in Minneapolis

Parks, Minneapolis Public Schools, Density, Zoning, etc.
amiller92
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby amiller92 » January 13th, 2017, 1:00 pm

mattaudio wrote:Speaking of setbacks... There must be something that results in unused front yards on apartment complexes, right? It seems like most new apartment buildings not in a designated commercial corridor have this setback. And it also seems like these setbacks are usually an unused waste of land.
Examples:
https://goo.gl/maps/BgctoUBEuuH2
https://goo.gl/maps/Dryux4BRNT12
https://goo.gl/maps/MUyhvvrHZM62
https://goo.gl/maps/42g5ZjSAJu22
The third one has some patios, but that fourth one, man.

I had the same thought looking at something new the other day too, but I can't remember what it was.

MNdible
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby MNdible » January 13th, 2017, 2:43 pm

And the second example was a remodel of an existing building, right?

Regarding the proposed setback changes, am I understanding correctly that it would allow me to build a residential building up to a sideyard property line, and then require a subsequent development to provide the setback? Because that seems backwards.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 13th, 2017, 3:14 pm

I wouldn't be so quick to call front yards unused, even at apartment buildings. Some of them, yes. But there are many of the "ugly" 50s-70s 2-3 story walkups with a small stoop where I see small families sitting on the step and kids running around on the sidewalk and onto the grass. Additionally, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who wants to throw most of the region's current zoning code out the window, but modest front setbacks (and side-yards on corner lots) don't bother me too much. Hate to be "that guy" but it's nice to have a place for snow to go in the winter, which includes melted snow as it melts and drains off MFH rooftops (and either re-freezes in the winter or needs a place to filter in the spring). I don't like regulating personal taste or outcomes, but it's also not terrible to give people on the first floor of these units a little bit of buffer from the sidewalk. 5-10 feet is enough to meet all those public/private needs, which is less than the current 15' (which is still not awful by national standards tbh). I've said it before, but Minneapolis' zoning districts are mostly good already, we just need more parcels in the city to be in the R3-R5 range.

Re: MNdible's question. If I'm reading this right, yes BUT:
It’s important to note that the building code, for fire safety purposes, regulates window openings near property lines. No new openings are allowed within three feet of a property line. Beyond three feet from a property line, the building code regulates the percentage of a building wall that may include windows based on the distance from the property line, the construction type, and whether the proposed construction has a sprinkler system.
So the building code already would prohibit that within 3' of the lot line. They should amend the proposal to say new residential windows facing a side lot line (facing another C zone) can't be <5' from the lot line so that the owner of the parcel next door doesn't have any larger of a burden to meet the 10' requirement.

mattaudio
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby mattaudio » March 1st, 2017, 1:24 pm

Other than a height issue which still needs to be worked out, it's exciting to see city staff recommending rezoning a parcel from R2B to C1 to allow new, more intense mixed-use infill. http://minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/pub ... 194866.pdf

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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby grant1simons2 » March 14th, 2017, 2:46 pm

Rezone application from R2B to R4 to allow a "triplex" to be used.

http://minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/pub ... 195477.pdf

I'm kind of peeved to find out that Chicago is R2B... What? There are 5 properties that are either at least more than 3 units. Seems like a bad case of swath zoning if that's a thing.

mattaudio
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby mattaudio » March 14th, 2017, 3:01 pm

Saw this too. Looks like this is on consent because the CPC approved it (I think I submitted a written comment in favor of it). But yes, more reason to push a broader look at the cost of our zoning code and the true impacts of non-conforming status over time.

grant1simons2
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby grant1simons2 » March 14th, 2017, 3:16 pm

Heck, looking into the zoning maps more for S. Mpls, I noticed that parts of 38th are R1A! Ha! Okay?!

We need to get our stuff together and makes some critical changes.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 15th, 2017, 9:00 am

Is there such a thing as "zoning reform" that's fairly easy/painless to implement (i.e. does not require a ton of resident approvals)?

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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby mattaudio » March 15th, 2017, 9:29 am

My understanding is that resident approvals are required when a property owner is initiating a rezoning. I have no reason to believe resident approvals would be required for the City Council to undertake a rezoning.

MNdible
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby MNdible » March 15th, 2017, 11:31 am

Except for the fact that City Council members are elected by residents, and there would be a voter revolt if the zoning code were upended in the way some people on this forum propose.

mattaudio
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby mattaudio » March 15th, 2017, 12:45 pm

Isn't that the same sentiment that nominated Hillary and resulted in President Trump?

VAStationDude
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby VAStationDude » March 15th, 2017, 1:41 pm

No, dummy.

A lot of Trump voters supported him because he made wild promises that he possibly couldn't keep. He won't make health care coverage more affordable, manufacturing and mining jobs aren't coming back, and old white people will still hear Spanish language menu options when they call the bank. He's failing wildly unpopular president less than two months into his term.

A city council candidate who supported very ambitious upzoning would never be elected. The last few mayoral elections have shown Minneapolis voters like safe, fiscally cautious politicians.
Last edited by VAStationDude on March 15th, 2017, 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 1:52 pm

And these days we have candidates telling the city they can have it all. You can have your affordable housing and your safe walkable neighborhoods, and the tax base to pay for it all, without touching any single family homes!

It's the same con game, except cities have been doing it for decades, and getting away with it. I'm getting the sense that maybe things are starting to shift, that at the very least voters are starting to become willing to at least think critically about how our zoning impacts all the other things we say we care about (social justice, safety, the environment, fiscal health).

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 15th, 2017, 2:02 pm

I'm curious what changes to the zoning code most people are proposing that are so crazy? Aren't the most reformists here pushing for allowing duplexes/triplexes on all SFH zones, at most attached townhouses, with a slightly broader expansion of where 3-story apartments are allowed. Most people, myself excluded, focusing the latter nearest the (busy, loud, unsafe, polluted) transit/commercial corridors?

Here's food for thought. In the last couple years, the city legalized:
- Intentional Communities
- Accessory Dwelling Units (basically making all R1/A zones an R2 zone, and R2/B zones an R3 zone via an added unit inside the house)
- New duplexes in R2/R2B zones by bringing back down the minimum lot size to standard sizes

There was barely a peep. The council voted nearly unanimously on all of them. The IC ordinance was overly conservative to avoid pissing off SFH owners and it got some reasonable changes during council debate and no uproar. ADUs had some dumb limitations nixed since its initial passing, and I really doubt if they went further with removing the owner occupancy requirement we'd get any resistance. Would the other stuff really be different?

I'd like to see some zoning proposals come forward that split the council. That get people heated (on both sides) the way #15Now or paid sick or other issues have. We need an open discussion about the tensions zoning creates.

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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby twincitizen » March 15th, 2017, 2:23 pm

I am sometimes surprised at how seriously you guys buy into this idea that the existing zoning code is what drives (or impedes) redevelopment, and not market forces & available sites. It's a wacky theory that has almost no basis in reality. If someone has a viable project that needs a zoning change (R2B to C1, R2B to R4, etc.), they usually get it. I'm not aware of a bunch of zoning requests being denied.

Yes, there are some easy, obvious changes that should be made:
It is unfortunate how many existing structures (especially triplexes and 4plexes, etc.) are made non-conforming by the current zoning code designating them as R1 or R2, when they have been more intense uses for decades. That's really dumb. Let's change that!

As with many of you, I dislike how pervasive R1A zoning is in general, especially in transit-rich areas and major corridors (like 38th St) and close-in neighborhoods. There should not be any R1A zoning less than 2 blocks from LRT stations. Let's change that! The City would have to re-do the station area plans for 38th, 46th, 50th, etc. but it would be worth the expense if we can upzone at least a half-mile around the stations.

FISHMANPET tweeted an idea yesterday that each individual block should be upzoned to the most intense current use on that block (i.e. if there's a couple random 4-plexes on a block zoned R1A or R2B, consisting of largely SFHs, upzone the whole block) That would represent a major change from the status quo that I would absolutely support.

And to answer the question above, no, property owner approval is not required for city-initiated rezoning. The zoning must match the comprehensive plan, however.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 2:27 pm

People aren't going to ask for R6 in the middle of an R1A district, especially when it's in no way supported by the comp plan. That's a really stupid argument. Developers aren't making zoning requests they know have no chance of making it through.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 2:40 pm

This is textbook surviorship bias, you're focusing only on the zoning requests you can see (the ones that are only made because they're likely to succeed) and assuming that's the full field of all zoning requests, which ignores all the ones that aren't made because they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of happening.

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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby twincitizen » March 15th, 2017, 2:41 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:
March 15th, 2017, 2:40 pm
which ignores all the [rezoning requests] that aren't made because they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of happening.
That is my argument exactly - what you guys think is happening isn't actually happening, even theoretically in some would-be developer's head (mattaudio excepted... :roll: )

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 2:46 pm

Well I can falsify you're argument because our very own Matt Steele would be interested in developing parcels zoned R1A if they were upzoned, but he's not going to spend the tens of thousands of dollars to acquire lots and do designs and request approvals when he knows he's not going to succeed.

E: you edited while I was posting, but why do we exclude Matt? It's very convenient that you can just say "this isn't true, as long as you ignore all the cases where it is true."

I mean, why do you think there's zero demand for increased housing density in places that's not zoned for it? Are $400k bungalows natural? It's clearly a result of an unmet housing demand, one that requires higher density to meet.

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Re: Zoning in Minneapolis

Postby FISHMANPET » March 15th, 2017, 2:50 pm

ALSO, if we accept your argument, that there's actually no pent up demand that is being held back by zoning, then what's the harm in upzoning everything to R6? If there's no want there then it doesn't matter. Why have regulations if they're not needed?


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