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Proposal halts home demolitions in Southwest Mpls.

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: March 7, 2014 - 3:43 PM

Efforts to tame an onslaught of single-family home redevelopment in Southwest Minneapolis got some teeth Friday with a new moratorium on home demolitions in several neighborhoods.

Council Member Linea Palmisano on Friday proposed the moratorium -- which took effect on an interim basis immediately, pending further council action -- to allow the city to more carefully examine the city's regulations. If approved by the council, the moratorium would last for one year.

A primary concern among neighbors is lack of communication as builders rapidly tear down existing homes and replace them with much larger ones. Palmisano said that in the first week she took office, there were 20 applications pending in different stages of the demolition and rebuild process.

Since the homes often don't need variances, the redevelopments rarely rise to the level of discussion in a public meeting. But they're becoming exponentially more common in Ward 13, as shown in the blue line above.

“They have started tearing down houses and putting up new ones quickly, and they don’t at all look like the neighborhood," said Jim Tincher, president of the Fulton Neighborhood Association.

The moratorium applies to single- and two-family homes in Linden Hills, Fulton, Armatage, Kenny and Lynnhurst neighborhoods.

"The intent is to be able to give us some time to pause on just responding to fire after fire, while being able to study and get really good due process improvements," Palmisano said. "Right now our ability to enforce even our existing laws are disjointed.”

In a letter to neighbors, Palimsano said they need builders to comply with regulations surrounding noise, dumpsters, idling, shoveling and parking. "And we need to bring greater environmental sensitivity to these projects," Palmisano wrote.

The proposed ordinance says the city is interested in studying nuisance and safety issues with new construction, as well as the negative effects on the "urban forest, lakes and shorelands, and on stormwater infrastructure." The city is also studying possible fixes that could be made in the zoning code.

Here is the proposed ordinance:

Demolition Moratorium by eric_roper

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