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Dinkytown development moratorium fails on tie vote

  • Blog Post by: Eric Roper
  • August 30, 2013 - 1:21 PM

Updated at 1:21 p.m.

A proposal to block development in the University of Minnesota's Dinkytown area failed Friday on a tie vote at the Minneapolis City Council.

Council Member Diane Hofstede introduced the development moratorium for the four-block Dinkytown business district after the council gave the green light to a controversial plan to build a 140-unit mixed use building on 5th Street.

The moratorium would have effectively blocked just one proposed project: A 70-unit apartment complex on 4th Street, Dinkytown's main drag (above).

Hofstede said she pushed for the moratorium because the neighborhood is crafting two plans that will guide future development in the area.

Those plans were spurred by Opus Group's development on 5th Street, which spurred a "Save Dinkytown" movement to preserve the character of the neighborhood.

“The purpose of [the moratorium] is not to protect surface parking lots, I want to make that clear," Hofstede said. "The purpose of it is to protect the planning process."

Council Member Gary Schiff said it was clear that the moratorium was specifically targeting the new project, proposed by developer Kelly Doran.

“I don’t think we should use moratoriums to stop individual developments from coming forward," said Schiff, chair of the city's zoning and planning committee.

The final vote on the moratorium was tied 6-6, which means it automatically failed. The 13th member of the council, Lisa Goodman, was absent on city business.

Voting in favor were Council Members Hofstede, Cam Gordon, Kevin Reich, Sandy Colvin Roy, Meg Tuthill and Barb Johnson. The measure was opposed by council members Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels, Gary Schiff, Robert Lilligren, John Quincy and Elizabeth Glidden.

Development moratoriums are exceedingly rare, but Hofstede has already proposed another one. This one would block development in the Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood.

Hofstede is locked in a tight re-election fight against challenger Jacob Frey. In a statement, Frey noted that the vote was a "big break" from the council's normal practice of guiding votes that specifically affect their home wards.

"Hail Mary moratoriums on all development are rarely a good idea," Frey said. "Here, we were forced to use a sledgehammer when we should have started early and chiseled out a better result."

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