Montage (Nye's redevelopment) - 116 E Hennepin Avenue

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 17th, 2015, 9:45 am

If a project violates zoning, historic designation and/or a small area plan, don't people have a right to fight it if they wish? Presumably those things were put in place for a reason and they have a constituency. Otherwise, why do we do zoning and historic designation and small area plans?

I'm just not understanding what y'all are getting so bent out of shape about. If you want the project to happen, fight for it, don't try to muzzle others.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby FISHMANPET » March 17th, 2015, 9:54 am

It's because throwing pot of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks is a common NIMBY tactic, and generally means that they don't actually care about any of the specific issues brought up, but rather are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the development.

And to me, complaints about zoning are often at the top of my "they don't actually care about this" list.

I'll never be able to be 100% sure that some is or isn't genuine (until I perfect my telepathy...) but they're giving off all the signs that they don't want to be a constructive participant in the process. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, probably not a camel.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 17th, 2015, 10:02 am

FISHMANPET wrote:And to me, complaints about zoning are often at the top of my "they don't actually care about this" list.
Err...why? Zoning is one of the most powerful development tools the city has. People care about it.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 17th, 2015, 10:05 am

FISHMANPET wrote:It's because throwing pot of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks is a common NIMBY tactic, and generally means that they don't actually care about any of the specific issues brought up, but rather are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the development.
Rememeber that the church represents its members, whom I'm sure have all kinds of different thoughts and concerns about the project. It's not at all unusual for an organization to have a laundry lists of points and concerns.

And that's not to say an individual couldn't really be concerned about all of those things. The church is historic, sits in a designated historic district with a small area plan and zoning presumably designed to maintain the historic feel of the place. The stability of the church, the small area plan, the zoning and the historic designation are all intimately tied together.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 17th, 2015, 11:01 am

As a member of the church and someone who got married there, I can say that the two towers that clearly violate zoning & historic district guidelines don't affect my love for the structure or area whatsoever. Like many churches (particularly Catholic ones), I'm assuming they're having a hard time gaining/retaining members. There was a time that churches like this served the neighborhood and very few people further away. Fewer people are Christians now (as a share of the population). Catholicism is struggling. Fewer still actively practice (myself being one!). There are less people living in Minneapolis and in many neighborhoods churches like this once served.

The church's stability (I assume David means this in a figurative sense, not structural/literal) is helped by the revitalization of this neighborhood. It's both a blessing and curse that its location (and more urban desires of the population) make it so desirable that 3 major tower projects are all in the pipeline. Instead of focusing on the letter of the historic designation, the church should realize what great lengths the developer has gone to already to keep the meaningful structures, and work on ways to match the first 3-5 floors to the area's look/feel. Materials, design touches, windows, etc. The number of people (and the income ranges) living in a tower like this would do far more to make St Anthony have the street life, transit, etc it did 100 years ago than a 4 story office or condo structure would.

Also, if the church is acting on behalf of its members, they never asked me. They made the statement without a single notification or survey.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 17th, 2015, 11:05 am

If the church didn't ask its members that's clearly a problem.

I like the project and want it to happen. I'm simply saying that the arguments being put forth against it aren't unreasonable or completely without merit. I entirely agree with Alex that more population will be a benefit to the church.

And by "stability" I meant structural integrity.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby Nick » March 17th, 2015, 4:45 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:And to me, complaints about zoning are often at the top of my "they don't actually care about this" list.
Would strongly agree with Peter here. Not that objections about zoning aren't potentially real complaints, but I struggle to imagine someone saying "but the zoning says!" without wearing a giant hat stuffed with subtext.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 17th, 2015, 10:00 pm

Nick wrote:Would strongly agree with Peter here. Not that objections about zoning aren't potentially real complaints, but I struggle to imagine someone saying "but the zoning says!" without wearing a giant hat stuffed with subtext.
What would the subtext say? Or to be more concrete, what do you think it says in this case?

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby FISHMANPET » March 17th, 2015, 11:35 pm

They don't actually respect the zoning code, they're just using it as one more excuse to block development.

There were many people in the MRRDC and probably elsewhere talking out of both sides of their mouth, one side saying the FrankLyn project was too tall because it was higher than zoning and even though variances and CUPs exist zoning is divine law and should be obeyed in all cases, and on the other side saying zoning is an evil tool used by the city to force single family homes to be demolished and the Wedge must be down zoned now! If you're going to be in favor of blanket changing the zoning of an area, you can't use zoning code to support your argument. If the Wedge should be R2 rather than R6 then why shouldn't FrankLyn be C3A rather than C2 or something like that? Zoning is either divine guidance from above or a messy instrument made by man with all the flaws that entails. It can't be divine when you use it to support your argument and flawed when it doesn't.

And zoning arguments seem to typically call out specifically variances and CUPs which are a part of the zoning code so that's certainly not a genuine concern for zoning when they choose to ignore certain parts of the code.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby FISHMANPET » March 18th, 2015, 12:02 am

And one other thing. Minneapolis is a city that's growing. That's a fact that all residents, businesses, and organizations are going to need to accept. At this point trying to put a full stop just isn't going to work out. If you want a sleepy community that's not changing there are suburbs and other metro areas to move to. People that have fallen in love with a particular form of a city are basically doing it wrong. Part of what a city is is that it's always changing, sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways. That doesn't mean that there are no bad developments, but if you're going to come out against development you're still going to have to come out in support of development both in general and usually of the specific site in question. Status quo is not an option in a city.

And I guess one more thing on zoning. I'm just not sure what the point of a zoning based argument is. What is the harm in going against zoning that isn't covered in some other form of complaint? Back to the LynLake example, and specifically the height. One complaint was that it's higher than zoning allows. Ok, so what? Who cares? How does that harm you? If it harms you for reason X then that's fine. So you're reasoning for opposing is reason X, great. But magically you have two reasons, reason X and zoning! You can take any complaint and then link it to zoning and get another complaint. It, to me, doesn't show that you're trying to be an engaged stakeholder in the inevitable growth of the city, it says to me that you're trying to be a disingenuous impediment to that inevitable growth.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 18th, 2015, 12:11 pm

I'd just like to point out that OLoL is having a meeting tomorrow night for parishioners who don't attend often to try to get more support. So they *are* doing outreach, but it's well after they made a very public statement AND sent the mailer out to members reiterating their position.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby seanrichardryan » March 18th, 2015, 12:16 pm

How much influence has the Archidocese had?
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby TroyGBiv » March 18th, 2015, 4:33 pm

Not so much... they are "technically" bankrupt and are selling properties. I think that they love this historic structure but it isn't the Basilica or the Cathedral... and I doubt that they have the funds to wage a legal fight.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby trigonalmayhem » March 19th, 2015, 8:05 am

Is it out of the question to protest the church's event with some French revolution themed signs about the first estate?

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 19th, 2015, 10:01 am

FISHMANPET wrote:One complaint was that it's higher than zoning allows. Ok, so what? Who cares? How does that harm you?
What you say doesn't make sense. If the zoning is law, it should be followed, yes? Does a CUP or variance really apply in this case? It's perfectly rational and consistent for someone to say they want to maintain the zoning in one area and change it in another. Zoning is not set in stone.

Zoning is a tool the city gets to use. Residents get to use it too.

I really don't understand what you're saying here.
Last edited by David Greene on March 19th, 2015, 10:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 19th, 2015, 10:01 am

trigonalmayhem wrote:Is it out of the question to protest the church's event with some French revolution themed signs about the first estate?
Yes.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby FISHMANPET » March 19th, 2015, 10:33 am

David Greene wrote:
FISHMANPET wrote:One complaint was that it's higher than zoning allows. Ok, so what? Who cares? How does that harm you?
What you say doesn't make sense. If the zoning is law, it should be followed, yes? Does a CUP or variance really apply in this case? It's perfectly rational and consistent for someone to say they want to maintain the zoning in one area and change it in another. Zoning is not set in stone.

Zoning is a tool the city gets to use. Residents get to use it too.

I really don't understand what you're saying here.
Without some rational basis or justification, zoning is just a bunch of arbitrary rules. If you like rules for rules sake I guess you could make a genuine appeal to zoning. But otherwise it has to be violating zoning in some specific way that bothers you. You could even go so far as to say "it's too tall, and the zoning agrees!" But if you say "it's too tall and it violates zoning" what you're actually saying is "it's too tall and also it's too tall."

Zoning can be a justification, not a reason in and of itself.

And I agree that zoning is not set in stone, which is part of why a zoning based argument is so silly! A zoning based argument treats the zoning code as some kind of divinely inspired document. Why should I accept that areas zoned R6 need to be down zoned to R2 in one area of the wedge while also believing that the C2 zoning at FranLyn is divinly inspired and should in no way be changed? How do we know that R6 isn't divinely inspired and the C2 designation is what needs to be changed? If I'm to accept at face value an argument that something is bad merely because it disagrees with a particular part of the zoning code that someone has chosen to focus on, why should I also believe that the zoning code is imperfect?

It's the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. Zoning says it so it must be true (except when I don't want it to be true).

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby Brenns » March 19th, 2015, 11:48 am

Zoning can be a justification, not a reason in and of itself.
Like anything legal, yes, zoning has reasoning behind it. People didn't just invent it for fun.

But (back to the topic at hand), whether or not we think the church is justified or their argument is sound, it would be in the developer's best interest to play nice with them (as far as is reasonably possible) if they want to avoid real road blocks. I think it would be a mistake to steamroll the church, perceived as the poor, innocent, historic neighborhood institution in this case. This would likely result in media attention, and pissing off people who normally wouldn't know or even care about the project.

Were I the owner of the church or a similar building, would I trust the good faith assurances of the developer that they would protect my building? Absolutely not. It's a developer. They're going to do as little as they can possibly get away with. There needs to be a very strong legal agreement in place, and it needs to be reviewed by preservationists who are not on the developer's payroll. The developer would also be wise to give (or at least present the illusion of giving) the church some say in the design process. Diplomacy goes a long way in situations like these.

Of course, the church could still put their foot down and oppose any and all development of this scale. But we're not there yet. I think they will realize it's in their best interest to cooperate and maintain some level of influence on the project.

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby EOst » March 19th, 2015, 12:41 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:Zoning can be a justification, not a reason in and of itself.
I think you're getting their argument backward. They don't oppose it because of the zoning; they support the zoning because they oppose tall buildings.

You or I can disagree with them on that, but no-one's saying "the LORD's Commandment states that the Nye block shall stay in C3A, Hallelujah."

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Re: Nye's Redevelopment - 100 block of E Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » March 19th, 2015, 1:34 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:It's the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. Zoning says it so it must be true (except when I don't want it to be true).
Well, you could say the same for any argument based on law. Why was the law passed? I don't like that law. Why can't we just ignore it in this case? Why not change the law? It's not fair to cite the law in an argument in one case and advocate for changes to the law in another. You can't possibly be genuine when appealing to the law because you really don't like the proposal because of this aspect that the law covers. Just talk about that aspect, not the law!

I mean, we're a society of laws. If you want to stop a project for whatever reason in this society, you are going to appeal to the law. That's not dishonest, it's using the tools we have available to us.


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