Friday, May 18, 2018

Minneapolis 2040: Tree Edition


Minneapolis residents may be wondering who is digging holes in their neighborhoods and dropping little trees in them. It's the Forestry Division of the Minneapolis Park Board.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

This Week: Minneapolis 2040 Open Houses

I've been to quite a few neighborhood association meetings recently. I can tell you a lot of them will be functioning as city-funded advocacy organizations defending exclusionary zoning. They're mobilizing against the draft comprehensive plan right now.

That's why it's important for you to make your voice heard at one of these upcoming comprehensive plan open houses. Slap a few post-it notes up on a board. Jabber at a city planner. Write a long-winded note. Together we can defeat single-family zoning. And keep commenting on the minneapolis2040.com website.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Lisa Goodman, Leader of the Opposition

Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman is rallying opposition to the Minneapolis 2040 draft comprehensive plan (you can comment here!). Goodman wants to defend single-family neighborhoods from fourplexes. She wants to protect drivers from bike lanes. As the most prominent and outspoken critic of the plan, here's a collection of her recent comments on the topic.

(Please note that I resorted to the very extreme measure of attending the annual meeting of the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association to get some of these quotes, so definitely send all your money to the Patreon.)


City Council Enterprise Committee (Coordinator's Update, May 3, 2018) [VIDEO]

Goodman: "The comp plan has proven to be something that has drawn out very strong emotions from myself as one, but many many people, and I feel like we're heading toward something that is not going to be universally accepted, and there are going to be huge winners and losers."
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Goodman, referring to comp plan: "...a plan that could potentially be adopted on a very split vote with a lot of controversy in the community..."
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Heather Worthington (city's director of Long Range Planning): "I'd like to believe that we are in a position where we can work through that and we can produce a document that has, if not unanimity, has strong support."

Goodman: "Okay, I don't believe that. I think that's a very Pollyanna way to look at it. There's huge divisions in where people are at and what's been proposed in this comprehensive plan."
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Goodman: "So if 13 other people, er... it won't be... If 10 other people on the council say too bad, your constituents are going to get this shoved down your throat, then we're just going to go with that? And then we're going to plan the entire city's strategic plan based on that, with all of that division?"
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Goodman: "[The comprehensive plan] has been confrontational pretty much since the minute it was announced."

Heather Worthington: "The comp plan is drafted based on the 14 goals that the city council adopted in April, 2017, and the six value statements that it adopted a year previous to that. So the comp plan underpinnings, the foundation of that document are based on the values that you as a council adopted. And we have had a very broad and transparent community engagement process. [...] I have to reject an assertion that this has not been a transparent process. And I feel that if you have specific concerns we should be discussing those."

Goodman: "I was here for that process and nowhere in those points did we say put a fourplex on every block. Nowhere did we say take single-family homes and turn them into four-story buildings. And that seems to be what you're suggesting: that that was in the 16 points. That people thought through that and said to us please increase density everywhere in the city no matter where it is, and let's eliminate lanes of traffic and put in bike lanes everywhere. That's not what we said in the points that we made with regard to the comp plan. No one told you to do that, that was you being bold, not the public telling us, telling you to be bold. Maybe there were some people who wanted to be bold, but there were plenty of people who wanted to see more incremental change."
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Goodman: "Everywhere I go, every grocery store I go into, people are very upset about what potentially could happen to the neighborhood that they love and that they don't like it."
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Goodman: "I too would say I'm in favor of growth. And I am, and I represent downtown so we've seen our fair share of it. I'm sorry to pound away at the fourplex thing -- it's not my only objection to the comp plan, but it's a good example of, well, if you're opposed to having a fourplex on every block then all of a sudden you're anti-growth."
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Goodman: "So I'm afraid to even say I'm in favor of growth now because of what that might mean. And should I object to it, then I'm objectified as being against growth."
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Z&P Committee Meeting, (Jackson St. NE, May 3, 2018) [VIDEO]

Goodman: "I totally respect that there are a lot of people who love to live in neighborhoods that have single family homes and fourplexes and duplexes and 4-story buildings -- I'm not one of them. I chose to live where I live because of the single-family nature."
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Goodman: "I understand that there's an attempt, not by anyone on this dais, to get rid of all the small area plans and upzone the entire city, and this is probably fortuitous of things to come."
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Addressing the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association annual meeting (May 9, 2018)

Goodman: “We had an election, the far left won, and now we should expect more bike lanes and a lot more density. That’s not what I heard when I was knocking on doors.”
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Goodman: “So the question is, there’s lots more density already in the neighborhood that is causing livability impacts in the neighborhood, when does it stop? And I guess what I would say is, when the public says enough is enough.”
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Goodman: “What Mary is saying is, having thousands more people living in the neighborhood potentially is adding to the traffic. She’s saying that’s definitely adding to the traffic, and I would say you’re right.”
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Goodman: “The people who want to see more density are definitely commenting. That’s how we get to this point in time. It’s important for folks to comment.”

Resident 1 (sincere): “When the light rail opens a lot of these problems will go away.” [crowd laughs, groans]

Goodman: “What he said was, when the light rail opens a lot of these problems will go away. What will happen is all of us complaining about them will go away because we won’t want to live here. So I guess that’s probably the better answer is we won’t tolerate it, other people probably will.

Resident 2: “Help me understand why we wouldn’t tolerate it. I’m new to the neighborhood.”

Goodman: “Well I think if you’re someone who wants to get on a train and live near a train, then you have to have a train where there’s a lot of density, and most of the corridor doesn’t really have a lot of density. I think you would even agree that the corridor is pretty much single-family homes from West Lake Street all the way into downtown. And even the projections for Penn Ave station project under 1,000 people will take that train when it’s been established 20 years from now. I really think, and I’ve said it for years, we really have to put trains where people ride them, and that means through West End, potentially through Uptown, down Hennepin, down Nicollet. And you know if this project had been planned now, that likely would have happened. I’m happy to ride the train, and I do, and I live in Bryn Mawr because I like the proximity to downtown, but I think you have to put trains where people ride them. And I also have a very strong concern about having more ethanol and more chemicals riding through the corridor. It’s interesting that one railroad that said we have to have a crash wall for protection from these trains that are carrying chemicals and there’s no going around that area and then you run them right past people’s houses and there is no crash wall and they’re filled with chemicals. So I think there’s been a lot of hypocrisy in this process. [clapping] I just call it as I see it, people voted the way they did, and it is what it is. I’m not going to back off of saying that transit should be where people will ride it.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lisa Goodman: Arbitrary and Capricious

Here's an interesting thing I noticed. Last week, Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman rejected the idea of a variance for the reduction of a front yard setback for a proposed four-story building. It's not a remarkable argument. She's just a stickler on variances, and won't grant them just because someone wants to "build a bigger building."

Friday, May 4, 2018

Live Coverage: All Along the Witch's Tower


This is my third neighborhood meeting in as many days (read the Tuesday and Wednesday editions). Nothing this impressive has been attempted since Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev, and Vladislav Volkov became the first men to successfully die in space back in 1971.

Below is a lightly edited tweet transcript from an almost three hour meeting of the Prospect Park Association (the local neighborhood organization). The object of concern is a proposed 17-story building, which many fear will obscure the beloved Witch's Hat Tower.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Live Coverage: Concern at 36th and Bryant

Here's a lightly edited tweet transcript from last night's meeting of the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association. Residents were presented with plans for a 41-unit apartment building adjacent to the famous pit at 36th and Bryant.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Live Coverage: Lowry Hill, the Comprehensive Plan, and Affordable Housing

Here's a lightly edited tweet transcript from last night's meeting of the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association. Towards the end of the meeting the organization voted to send a letter of support for a 41-unit building at 1930 Hennepin Ave with a combination of supportive housing for young people leaving foster care, and affordable rental apartments.