Days before the Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on its controversial long-range plan, an opposition group has asked a court to stop the council from approving it.
The group said the city’s plan “is likely to cause the pollution, impairment, or destruction of the air, water, land or other natural resources located within the state,” according to the lawsuit.
The coalition — Smart Growth Minneapolis, the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis and Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds — said it hired Sunde Engineering, which conducted an environmental evaluation of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan that will guide the city’s development for the next 20 years.
The engineering firm concluded that an environmental evaluation is needed to identify and mitigate any adverse environmental effects.
The group adds that the city of Minneapolis has declined to conduct an environmental review of the effects of the plan.
The City Council will vote on the final plan on Friday.
“The 2040 comprehensive plan is an update mandated by State law. The City’s proposed update is lawful and we will be defending the City accordingly,” City Attorney Susan Segal said in a statement.
The council will likely approve the comprehensive plan, which aims to make Minneapolis a more densely populated city.
Minneapolis long-range planners introduced the first draft of the plan in March. It quickly created a contentious debate among city residents and council members. Much of the debate related to changing zoning restrictions citywide to allow for dwellings with as many as four units, even in neighborhoods now reserved for single-family homes, and up to six-story apartment complexes in other areas.
After several community forums and hundreds of comments from city residents, city planners in late September released a revised version which tamped down zoning changes, downgrading four-unit structures to three-unit ones citywide. The plan will also allow denser development along transit corridors.
The plaintiffs say they are not concerned with the merits of the plan but are against the “massive, citywide upzoning” that will “adversely impact the environment.”
“[I]t’s impossible to overstate the resulting land use changes proposed by the 2040 plan,” the lawsuit said.