Letter of the Day (March 14): Home teardowns

  • Updated: March 13, 2014 - 6:20 PM

The new homes can be attractive and, in theory, energy-efficient, and a moratorium is an aggressive move.

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Living in an area of Edina where 1950s homes are rapidly being replaced by houses two, three or four times as large, I read with interest the March 12 article “Tensions over teardowns rebuilds in Minneapolis.” Many of these new homes are both beautiful to look at and have architectural plans that make great use of natural light as well as effective and efficient use of space.

At a time when so much housing stock is being rapidly reinvented and at the same time our planet’s carbon capacity is of grave concern, I wonder whether each new home, regardless of size, has a lesser rather than greater carbon footprint than the one it replaces. I am told that modern building technology makes this possible. But is this technology being used? And shouldn’t it be required?

Nancy Peterson, Edina

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The building/teardown moratorium covering most of southwest Minneapolis, hatched in secret and approved by surprise on an interim basis without any public input, is an embarrassment to the city. How can the City Council, especially new members, expect to earn the respect of the community with this type of immature and ill-thought-out action?

Linea Palmisano, the architect of this action, has a newsletter on her City Council website that says on the topic: “Teardowns: Establish focus groups to discuss the problems surrounding new infill housing within the 13th Ward and gather suggestions to improve the development process and outcomes.” This sounds like a great idea. However, days later, without a word of public dialogue, she dove directly into a yearlong moratorium covering not just teardowns but all new construction and some additions. This move is a disaster to many in the community, and the City Council needs to correct the mistake as soon as possible. Whatever the outcome on this topic, it will not make everyone happy, but there needs to be a real process here.

Mike Hess, Minneapolis

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