Archive | Land use

One Block, 32 Apartments Too Many

Inspired by the New York Times‘ recent analysis of Manhattan buildings that would not be legal under current zoning, I undertook a far less ambitious analysis of one block of the Wedge neighborhood in Minneapolis. By today’s zoning standards, on this one block, there are 32 apartments too many. Seven out of 23 buildings have too many […]

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Minneapolis’ Zoning Code Continues to Make Housing Unaffordable

There’s an Ethiopian proverb that goes something like, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” When it comes to housing, Minneapolitans may have it better than those in Seattle, San Francisco, D.C., and Brooklyn, but a larger and wider slice of Minneapolis is feeling the pinch of fast-rising rents. For some, this even means […]

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City Considers Consolidating Businesses into Distribution Districts

On April 1, the Saint Paul City Council will consider a proposal to divide the city into corporate distribution districts in order to reduce wear and tear on city streets.  The first phase of the program assigns food distributors to specific neighborhoods of Saint Paul. The resolution, if passed, would give exclusive access of a […]

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Growing Selby Avenue Between Lexington and Snelling

  Selby Avenue in Saint Paul is known for the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, with its restaurants and mix of businesses, flats, and houses centered around Western Ave. Down the street west of Lexington, Selby is quieter, but it’s the backbone of the Lexington-Hamline neighborhood. Back in the streetcar days, this was an ideal suburban neighborhood, […]

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Map Monday: Minneapolis Residential Zoning

Minneapolis has eight zones dedicated to residential uses, R1 through R6, plus R1A and R2B. A full half of those, R1, R1A, R2, and R2B, are dedicated to the preservation of the single family character of neighborhoods by allowing only single family homes or duplexes (1 & 2 Unit Residential). The other four, R3-R6, permit larger […]

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More Livable Streets at Snelling Midway

I want express my excitement surrounding the site plan for the Snelling-Midway Redevelopment. The density, return of the street grid, and mixed-use will be an asset to St. Paul for years to come. However, I need to express some concerns about the right-of-way widths at the proposed development. As shown above, the proposed rights-of-way for internal […]

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A History of Downzoning

The year is 1995. A landlord is renovating his triplex when a concerned neighbor appeals to the neighborhood association for help. The organization comes to the rescue, deciding¹ that “because the building has been vacant for over a year, the nonconforming use expires and the building should revert to a duplex.” The neighborhood was Lowry […]

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