Smaller Scale Infill Development

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Nick
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby Nick » March 12th, 2015, 8:48 pm

Alex wrote a v good post about small scale infill development, if you did not see it:

https://streets.mn/2015/03/11/the-barrie ... velopment/

David Greene
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby David Greene » March 12th, 2015, 9:24 pm

Ignoring the polemics against single family homes, it's a good article and I agree we should change our zoning to make these kinds of developments possible. I think a lot of people in the Wedge would welcome small apartment buildings like this. We certainly have lots of dilapidated SFHs and duplexes as candidates for redevelopment. I'd love to see a couple of these on my block. What I don't want to see is half the block become multi-lot apartment buildings.

Simply upzoning to R4 or greater and tweaking those zoning categories to allow this kind of development seems too large a hammer to me. We need some entirely different zoning options. St. Paul has Traditional Neighborhood zoning categories. I have no idea what's in them but it strikes me that Minneapolis should have something like that. Something that basically matches what existing neighborhoods look like, allowing denser development in a form more at scale with the neighborhood.

twincitizen
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby twincitizen » March 13th, 2015, 7:31 am

Upzone to R4/R5, but institute a maximum lot width (of perhaps 80-100') to prevent block-long or half-block-long buildings in the interior of neighborhoods. Larger (bulk) buildings could be limited to certain corridors or more intense zoning districts (C3A, the OR districts, R6, etc.)

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Nathan
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby Nathan » March 13th, 2015, 7:39 am

I feel like these types of projects are really where we'd see some growth in the architectural design of urban housing. The large apartment buildings are difficult to create unique schemes and meet a budget, but the demand for smaller scale buildings would create good competition for renters or owners and they could execute more unique finishes and concepts at a smaller scale more reasonably.

Snelbian
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby Snelbian » March 13th, 2015, 7:52 am

Quick overview of permitted uses for the TN zoning David mentioned: http://www.stpaul.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2387

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 13th, 2015, 8:09 am

twincitizen wrote:Upzone to R4/R5, but institute a maximum lot width (of perhaps 80-100') to prevent block-long or half-block-long buildings in the interior of neighborhoods. Larger (bulk) buildings could be limited to certain corridors or more intense zoning districts (C3A, the OR districts, R6, etc.)
I'd be fine with that, with one caveat. Put a provision that once a neighborhood or contiguous set of blocks reaches 70% coverage (or some sufficiently high number) of these 2-4 story, 40-80' wide lot buildings, you remove that requirement. This sets the pace for redevelopment in neighborhood cores in the short-mid term while keeping an eye to a time where the only type of redevelopment may require larger lots. While 6+ story developments obviously can and have been done on small lots, the built environment wouldn't be nearly as impacted by half block structures near a series of 3 story buildings.

I'd also like to see neighborhood cores that are densifying be a little more lenient to commercial. Germany has the "daily use" test in allowing ground floor retail in residential areas. CARAG has Louie's (discussed in the 36th/Bryant thread) in what is clearly the middle of the neighborhood, and it works perfectly. As places gain more people, it would be weird to not allow some of that to creep inward.

Also, I'm confused on the polemics statement, David. From me? Comment section? I live in a single family home, I just don't happen to think they're the be-all, but I also didn't think I disparaged them as a way of life in the post.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 13th, 2015, 12:31 pm

David Greene wrote:Ignoring the polemics against single family homes, it's a good article and I agree we should change our zoning to make these kinds of developments possible. I think a lot of people in the Wedge would welcome small apartment buildings like this. We certainly have lots of dilapidated SFHs and duplexes as candidates for redevelopment. I'd love to see a couple of these on my block. What I don't want to see is half the block become multi-lot apartment buildings.

Simply upzoning to R4 or greater and tweaking those zoning categories to allow this kind of development seems too large a hammer to me. We need some entirely different zoning options. St. Paul has Traditional Neighborhood zoning categories. I have no idea what's in them but it strikes me that Minneapolis should have something like that. Something that basically matches what existing neighborhoods look like, allowing denser development in a form more at scale with the neighborhood.
Is that a legitimate risk though? To get a multi-lot apartment built you'd have to secure multiple lots right next to one-another, and in a market that's otherwise normal most homeowners aren't going to pack up and go at the first offer a developer throws at them, and therefore finding 2+ connecting parcels seems like more of a one-off situation than the norm. Therefore the most typical form of redevelopment would be on single lots.

The city would be smart to allow for single-lot (maybe up to two-lot) redevelopment in most/all neighborhoods, and especially those within major transit corridors. I believe Chicago has an R-4 zone across much of the city, even though many parts outside of the core aren't built that way. It provides flexibility, and when the market is just right prime spaces will start to be redeveloped, and dilapidated housing can be replaced in a natural, market-driven way (as opposed to demolition or abandonment). I know we're not Chicago but it seems mostly harmless to allow for this level of redevelopment within mostly single-family neighborhoods. Leave it up to the marketplace to decide what gets built, knowing that it will never be a hulking monstrosity.

Perhaps a modified R-4 zone would be best -- limiting how close the edges of the building can be to the edge of the lot, ensuring setbacks over 2.5 floors, etc.?


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