A panel of Minneapolis City Council members Thursday rejected an appeal by some area residents trying to block plans to build a 12,100-square-foot mixed office and retail building in the Linden Hills neighborhood.

The council's Zoning and Planning Committee unanimously denied the appeal brought by a group calling itself Residents Protecting the Shoreland Overlay. It claims to have attracted more than 100 signers for an online petition against the project.

The shoreland ordinance presents a set of additional zoning requirements for developments proposed within 1,000 feet of waters, in this case, Lake Harriet. The residents argued that the proposed building's height of just over 50 feet violates the ordinance.

Nearby resident Kris Schweizer said the height approved by the Planning Commission under a conditional-use permit sets a bad precedent for lakes-area development.

But Council Member Lisa Goodman noted that the height limit in the zoning and shoreland ordinances of 2½ stories or 35 feet, whichever is lower, applies only to what a property owner may build as a matter of right. The council has the discretion to exceed that limit by attaching conditions to the development.

Much of the height that would exceed the ordinary limit is for mechanical systems, an elevator serving a rooftop deck for tenants and a staircase protrusion.

About half a dozen residents spoke for the appeal, some mentioning that their view of Harriet would be blocked.

The project is being developed on land owned by the owners of Sebastian Joe's ice cream shop at the corner of W. 44th Street and Upton Avenue S. Co-owner Michael Pellizzer said the business considered many proposals and settled on one that would offer small retail specialty spaces, as well as small offices conducive to start-up businesses. He said he delayed moving ahead until a Linden Hills zoning study was adopted.

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