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Fate of Mpls. Trader Joe's may hinge on Thursday vote

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: June 19, 2012 - 1:17 PM

Updated at 1:09 p.m.

Trader Joe's in Minneapolis faces its biggest test Thursday.

The City Council's zoning committee will decide whether a property on 27th and Lyndale Ave. should be rezoned to allow for a Trader Joe's with an attached liquor store. It should be an interesting vote, since the local Council Member, Meg Tuthill, opposes the rezoning.

Trader Joe's needs the property rezoned to move forward with the project, which would be their first in Minneapolis. But the committee's chair, Gary Schiff, said in April that they generally side with the position of the local council member on rezoning questions.

Tuthill has said she opposes the proposal because of her philosophy on zoning.

"I have never felt in my 40-plus years in the city of Minneapolis that it is good policy to change zoning for one business," said Tuthill, who represents the Uptown and Lyn-Lake areas. In late May, Tuthill confirmed in an e-mail that she remains opposed to the rezoning.

In a staff report prepared for Thursday's meeting, city development staff recommend that the rezoning be approved. The report said rezoning could be considered in the interest of one property owner, but also in the "public interest" because it is consistent with policies for commercial corridors.

The local neighborhood group, Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association, has also not officially supported the project. The association's board voted against a measure to support the rezoning.

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