With the deadline looming for public input on the hotly contested Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, planning staff members have been updating City Council members all week on the plan that proposes mass rezoning to allow for more density.
The 100-day public comment period will end July 22, and the city will release an updated draft by late September. In late October, residents will get a chance to weigh in again at a public hearing, and the City Council is expected to adopt the plan by the end of the year.
In the meantime, council members are making a final push to connect with their constituents, both in person at public meetings and online, and to emphasize that the deal isn’t done on a plan that will define the future cityscape of Minneapolis.
Hundreds have already weighed in. Many of the conversations have focused on the proposal to rezone the city to allow for more multifamily housing, up to four units. That would be a significant change from Minneapolis’ current zoning codes, which allow only single-family homes and duplexes in roughly two-thirds of the city. Under the current draft of the Comprehensive Plan, fourplexes up to 2½ stories would be allowed on every residential lot in Minneapolis.
“I am very concerned about the Minneapolis 2040 plans,” wrote one resident, in comments archived on a city website. “My beloved family home is right in the zone to be replaced with commercial/multi-family dwellings. I’m losing sleep and just so upset. We have put our blood, sweat, and tears into our home and the idea that someone would suggest it get tore down in the name of progress is just sickening.”
“Who says density is good?” wrote another. “Are these plans based on some study that says humans and cities are happy the tighter they are packed together? I find that hard to believe. Minneapolis has always been such a ‘livable’ city and this plan puts it on the path to be in the next Chicago.”
Others are concerned that denser neighborhoods will make it harder to park.
“As I age, the idea of not being able to find parking in front of my house or within a block of my house would indeed drive me away,” one resident wrote.
The plan is far from complete. Since being introduced in March, it’s generated much discussion among Minneapolis residents and homeowners, and city planning staff and elected officials have worked to educate the public on the details.
11th Ward Council Member Jeremy Schroeder has hosted 10 informational events on the subject, and he sent an e-mail to his constituents this week attempting to dispel rumors circulating about the plan, including questions about whether it will give the city license to demolish homes to make way for rental units.
“I’m deeply concerned about confusion and misinformation spreading that the City wants to freely tear down single-family homes to build multifamily housing,” he wrote. “I would never support such a broad-sweeping policy. And to be clear, the City cannot do this.”
Council President Lisa Bender was scheduled to host a meeting Wednesday evening in Uptown. Council Member Jeremiah Ellison is scheduled to hold one on July 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Minneapolis North Workforce Center on 800 W. Broadway Av. The city has also set up a website, minneapolis2040.com, that allows for public comment.