The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby min-chi-cbus » November 23rd, 2015, 8:57 pm

Are those even viable arguments that a planning council can use to make a decision?

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby FISHMANPET » November 23rd, 2015, 9:16 pm

As a member of my neighborhood's land use group, I can say without doubt or hesitation that neighborhood's imagined stranglehold of the development pipeline absolutely needs to end.

But lol convincing any group of people that they need to cede control.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby MNdible » November 23rd, 2015, 9:56 pm

I know, right? It's been like 5 years or something since the last project got approved! Stupid stranglehold.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby FISHMANPET » November 23rd, 2015, 10:30 pm

Stranglehold is probably not the right word, but neighborhood groups have no official power in this process, yet view themselves as defacto gate keepers, usually adding no value in the process.

I'll point out that the vast majority of projects being built are mega block bro-partments, because those are what's easiest to build. It's hard to build something less (like this) and part of that is because it gets built next to existing residents with an overinflated sense of say over what happens next door to them on property they don't own.

I mean, I get it, you loooooove the status quo, and especially hate radical change. But to argue against any change whatsoever basically means you're saying everything is perfect the way it is, right? I'd like to think you're smarter than that, smart enough to see that business as usual on all fronts is not a positive way forward from a financial, environmental, or social perspective.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby Sacrelicio » November 24th, 2015, 9:43 am

Silophant wrote:Doesn't seem very Minnesota Nice to accuse someone who is building a building to personally live in of planning to allow and encourage drug deals on his front stoop.
lol oookkkayyy neighborhood people.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby MNdible » November 24th, 2015, 9:47 am

There are certainly improvements that could be made to the neighborhood process.

But neighborhood groups are an embarrassingly easy target to kick at -- ha ha old people living in houses don't get it. You know, NIMBYs, amiright?

And you're certainly smart enough to know that almost all of the projects are getting built, some of it with constructive feedback from neighborhood groups and some of it in spite of their objections.

I'm not anti-change. It may seem like that because I don't blindly endorse every proposal that comes down the pipe. I try to look at things critically, based on my understanding of the conditions on the ground.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby FISHMANPET » November 24th, 2015, 9:53 am

Neighborhood groups are an active impediment to the kind of small scale development that people claim to want. At best neighborhood groups are just a speed bump. At worst they actually stop good project or prevent them from being proposed in the first place.

You can't look at the field of proposed projects and say "this is fine because most of them get built" because it totally ignores the good projects that never get brought forward because the risk to a small developer is too great.

Do you think that a neighborhood group complaining about an owner allowing drug dealing on his front stoop and thinking 17 units will bring 80 cars really cares about improving the project? Are they acting to make sure the project is as good as it possibly can be?

The point is, the process is broken. There are "worse" problems in the world, but that doesn't mean that neighborhood group's undue influence over development isn't one of them. Every time you come out in defense of this status quo you're defending a broken process for. Do you think the current process helps bring the best projects forward?

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby MNdible » November 24th, 2015, 10:07 am

Developing projects is tough. If going in front of a neighborhood group and listening to a few neighbors complain is really that big of a problem, then you should maybe find another line of work. It's frankly a pretty low hurdle to have to clear.

Every time I drive by Le Paris on Lyndale and see it stripped of all of its siding with mold everywhere, I think that maybe we make it too easy for amateur developers, not too hard.

I think that, on the whole, the benefits of having groups of neighbors get together and be invested in their neighborhoods is a benefit that's worth a little discomfort for some developers. Do I wish there were fewer crazies? Yes. Are there things that the city and the neighborhoods could do to improve the quality of the discourse? Yes.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby twincitizen » November 24th, 2015, 10:44 am

I guess I side more with MNdible on this, but with a huge caveat - I think Minneapolis is kind of an exception right now, because we have a City Council (and Planning Commission appointees) that are pretty supportive of development, some of them extremely supportive of development.

BUT, that has not always been the case and is clearly not the case in many other cities. I think most of Peter's comments generally ring true, except in the case of right here, right now in Minneapolis. It's a good time to be a developer. If you [small developer] can't make it through the neighborhood group meetings, because you don't know enough about the current political environment to know that neighborhood opposition is largely meaningless, then yeah I don't know that I have a lot of pity for that developer.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby FISHMANPET » November 24th, 2015, 10:57 am

If you get a group of people that want to work together to create a positive outcome, then that's good. If you provide a forum for anyone to express any kind of zany idea, however little relation it has to reality, then boy I don't know. Maybe this will just be a pointless speed bump that doesn't hurt anything, but then what's the point of this implied neighborhood review process if it doesn't make projects better? And I don't think having people with mustard on their shirts complain to you should be some kind of shibboleth for being a developer, because what does that have to do with building a building? It's not some kind of "wah wah wah he hurt my feelings" thing, it's just pointless.

I'd think we should find ways to help amateur developers be more successful, not prevent them from acting. I mean, I look at what's going on this city. Vacancy rates are dangerously low, we need more housing desperately, I don't think that's debatable. I look at common sentiment which seems to be that people really don't like the half block six story stick structures on top of 2 or 3 levels of underground parking. And they don't really like the "greedy developers" that build these, even though that's not really the reality of the situation at all. Then I look at a zoning regime that makes these large apartment buildings on vacant industrial lots about the only thing that you can really build. At some point I just have to come to the conclusion that people have no idea what the hell they want, or they're selfish jerks. I mean, if people really think that the city is full and nobody else should move in and we don't have any room for anything new once we fill in our industrial land, then I don't know. In my view that's immoral, but I don't really want to get into that here. But if if there's support for the abstract idea that the city can continue to grow, then I'm interested in working with that idea to figure out how it can be made to happen.

I think my biggest gripe with neighborhood groups is the size of the areas they represent. The smaller the area your unit of "government" represents, the more likely you're going to get outcomes that are only beneficial to that small group of people. This project is in the Lyndale neighborhood, so they're the neighborhood group of record for that area (which for this holds no legal standing, but gives them defacto standing). But one block over is CARAG, do they get a say? 3 blocks north or south you're in Whittier or Kingfield, do they get a say? Lowry Hill East, East Harriet, Phillips West, Central, Bryant, do they get a say? They're all in a ring around Lyndale. I live 2.5 miles away in Corcoran, that's not very far, does Corcoran get a say?

I think this perceived power comes from NRP, which seems to turn into a slush fund for homeowners in most places. But don't worry, I have a solution, or at least an idea or proposal for one. Minneapolis already breaks the city down into 10 communities, which are then made up of multiple neighborhoods. Stop giving the NRP money to these neighborhoods, and give it to the communities instead. That would help diminish the perceived power these local groups have.

A hyper local group of people will be far more likely to be adverse to perceived negative effects, and will ignore positive effects that may not effect them directly. Hell, maybe the direct negative impact on a neighbor is greater than the direct positive to that person, even though the net positive is greater than the net negative over a larger area. But I'm looking for societally beneficial outcomes, not outcomes that are beneficial to an individual person. So I'm unhappy with a process that gives some kind of official or psudeo-official or de-facto official endorsement of people preventing societally beneficial change when it directly impacts them.

And there's the very real chance that there is little to no impact on the final outcome of a decision like this. But if that's the case, I'll echo Project Runway's Tim Gunn and ask "what is the fucking point?!" If this project goes forward and the neighborhood's lack of endorsement has no impact, then the only outcome is disenfranchising local residents who think they have power when they actually don't. Maybe that's the ultimate problem here, a disparity of perceived power, the neighborhood groups think they have far more power than they actually do, which can lead to hurt feelings, which can have very real negative impacts.

tl;dr: Peter doesn't like neighborhood groups, water wet, sky blue, film at 11.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby RailBaronYarr » November 24th, 2015, 12:39 pm

(I thought I submitted this earlier but turns out there was a huge FMP post. I'm doing it before reading his) Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't think of a single example of quoted opposition to a project, either second-hand descriptions of neighborhood meetings or ones I've watched at City Hall, that would have prevented the Le Paris issue. Literally no one is looking at a project proposal and saying they oppose it on grounds of a design that is likely to lead to failure like that (water intrusion in this case). The complaints are always about scale or traffic or sunlight or character, etc. We have building codes for a reason. If they're failing us (or our inspection process), let's address that.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby MNdible » November 24th, 2015, 12:58 pm

Yes, I referenced Le Paris only to point out that amateur developers aren't necessarily a good thing, not to suggest that neighborhood boards should be checking out waterproofing details.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby Blaisdell Greenway » November 25th, 2015, 10:51 am

To bring this back to this project in general, this meeting was as NIMBY as it gets. I understand it's a loaded term, but people literally said at the meeting "this is a great project for elsewhere in Minneapolis, just not here." I assume the developers knew this would happen and can laugh this attitude off, but they have invested a lot of their own money just to get to this point of uncertainty. As someone theoretically interested in doing small scale neighborhood development some day I just want to run away screaming.

Elizabeth Glidden was there to witness the whole thing and explain the next steps. Her first response was along the lines of, Well, other neighborhood groups usually don't recommend to deny something wholesale and/or they at least explain why they take issue with the proposed project. Then she said this vote will be a page appended to the final planning application. In other words, the outcome of this is a vague sheet of paper among many hundreds that will be submitted to the city about this project. She said she forwards all emails about the project to city planners, so please feel free to add your voices of reason to this one.

In sampling the mood afterwords, it seemed a lot of the neighborhood folks there that hadn't followed the process over the summer or attended previous meetings were really confused as to why they were being asked to vote against recommending the zoning change, variances and CUPs, and weren't satisfied with the responses they got at the meeting. I bet many just voted with the neighborhood because they were asked to do so and why not. I don't know the final numbers but it wasn't that lopsided, from what I saw.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby Blaisdell Greenway » January 5th, 2016, 7:38 pm

This goes before the planning commission Monday, January 11 at 4:30, City Hall room 317. They are proposing 4 units and a coworking space in the existing building, and a detached three car/12 bike garage facing the alley on the north half of the lot. One 1-bedroom, two 2-bedroom lofts, and one 2+ bedroom loft that they will be living in. Coworking space on the corner facing Painter Park.

They are requesting a zoning change from R2B to OR1, a CUP to put a greenhouse on the roof, a front yard variance to build a semi-public open deck on the corner facing the park, and a side yard variance to build out space for circulation to the units and roof access.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. The lol @ neighborhood groups have gotten organized and will show up to this meeting. Here is part of the form letter being circulated to council members from agitated neighbors:
This project is not consistent with the residential character of the block, which is currently zoned for single family houses and duplexes. This change would damage the quality of life and property values of Lyndale residents.

The project is also inconsistent with the Minneapolis density plan, as Garfield is a residential street. The proposed zoning would only be appropriate for a commercial node or a commercial corridor.

The proposal that a….. housing development will only have 3 parking spaces is unrealistic and will significantly increase the traffic and parking problems for the neighborhood, and increases safety concerns due to the proximity of Painter Park.
I will be at the meeting to argue that:
  • a residence is more consistent with the residential character of the block than an abandoned electrical substation;
  • building a residence in an already dense urban neighborhood (there are 12! multifamily properties on the block, including a giant apartment complex directly across Garfield) on a residential street quite exactly achieves the kind of density that Minneapolis wants;
  • 3 parking spaces is 3 more than the city requires for a project in an area like this; and
  • activity related to this building will reduce the safety concerns and nuisances that come with an abandoned space
In other words it's a slam dunk. But, you guys, people really hate this thing!

Come if you can or email your support to Councilmembers Elizabeth Glidden and CPC Chair Lisa Bender and copy City Planner Lisa Steiner supporting this project. Their email addresses are:
Elizabeth.Glidden@minneapolismn.gov
lisapbender@gmail.com
Lisa.Steiner@minneapolismn.gov

Drawings are here: https://imgur.com/a/PEQJm/ Can somebody help me embed them into the forum?

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby twincitizen » January 6th, 2016, 11:44 am

Those drawings seem to show only the Amp House and not the separate multi-unit building that was being proposed.
It looks like they're proposing to renovate the substation and add a 3-car garage. I struggle to see a scenario in which that wouldn't meet unanimous approval. I'd be far less concerned about NIMBY opposition if they are no longer proposing the additional multi-unit building.

Or am I missing something?

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby BoredAgain » January 6th, 2016, 12:32 pm

twincitizen wrote:Those drawings seem to show only the Amp House and not the separate multi-unit building that was being proposed.
It looks like they're proposing to renovate the substation and add a 3-car garage. I struggle to see a scenario in which that wouldn't meet unanimous approval. I'd be far less concerned about NIMBY opposition if they are no longer proposing the additional multi-unit building.

Or am I missing something?
In the neighborhood meeting meeting I attended, there was strong resistance to the rezoning required. It is currently zoned as R2b. It would need to be at least R3 or R4 to put the four dwelling units they want into the building. It would need to be C1 in order to include the "shared community working space".

The strong resistance was related to the C1 zoning, for fear that this development would fall through and something else would happen. Someone in the meeting actually said that a pawn shop could move in (which is not true).

As someone who lives a few blocks away, I'm actually disappointed that they removed the separate building with the additional apartments, though I understand why it happened. On the plus side, this new plan leaves the lot wide open and that building could be added in the future.

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby Blaisdell Greenway » January 7th, 2016, 8:40 am

You're not missing anything - right now they're only proposing the renovation of the existing building and adding the garage. I don't think that precludes building the new building at some point in the future but it does make the immediate necessary zoning change easier to pass muster with the neighborhood.

The staff report recommends approval of the zoning change and CUP for the greenhouse, and recommends to deny the front and side yard variances (because they're short sighted?)

http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups ... 171770.pdf

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby Silophant » January 11th, 2016, 11:04 pm

I was hoping to make it to the meeting, but got stuck at work. What ended up happening?

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby grant1simons2 » January 11th, 2016, 11:18 pm

The goods are on Youtube now. I still haven't finished watching. Did you make it Blaisdell Greenway?

Video: https://youtu.be/f3i1LQhGbu8?t=3h8m35s

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Re: The Amp House (3255 Garfield)

Postby Silophant » January 12th, 2016, 8:00 am

Sheesh, four hours? I guess I could have made it.

Looks like the rezoning, CUP, and both yard variances passed, with extra landscaping conditions on the variances. Cool.


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