Sunday Summary – August 27, 2017

The Great Minnesota Get-Together is now in full swing (and still time to get there for my favorite Stock Dog Trials tomorrow starting at 9), it is back to school time, and early voting for Minneapolis and Saint Paul elections starts in only a few weeks. Here’s the week on

Join us

You’re Invited to Ride the Red Line with on Friday, September 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm to board the 6:43 Red Line bus south to Apple Valley, talk about bus rapid transit, consider land use patterns, think about the new transit stations, visit Dakota County, learn about the Red Line, experience the Mall of America transit stations, see the southern suburbs, and have a beer with fun folks. The event is free except for your transit fare, but contributions to will be encouraged.

Red Line bus


In Minneapolis, Anton Schieffer works at Unpacking Raymond Dehn’s Housing Platform“Minneapolis mayoral candidate Raymond Dehn recently released a position paper on affordable housing. It’s by far the most detailed housing policy paper any mayoral candidate has released to date. From a high level perspective, here are a few of the key points including increasing funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, reforming the exclusionary zoning barriers, rent control and other renter protections. Read the comments for some input from small landlords with concerns about rent control and related issues.

From Saint Paul, the latest addition to the Voter Guide – Saint Paul Mayoral Candidate Sharon Anderson who joined the race recently (the filing deadline was August 15).  Check the 2017 Voter Guide for all’s Minneapolis and Saint Paul election information including questionnaires, podcasts and election-related posts (Unpacking Raymond Dehn’s Housing Platform above).

Redlining was used to keep cities segregated until the passage of the Fair Housing Act. It’s the foundation of “modern” institutionalized zoning.

Big ideas & particular projects

Scott Shaffer has A Plan for Tearing Down Exclusionary Zoning Walls.  “American land-use regulation has a huge effect on who can live where, and how much they pay. In many cities, including Minneapolis and Saint Paul, boring laws about minimum lot sizes, parking requirements, maximum floor-area ratios, shoreland overlay districts, and locally-designated historic resources reinforce dramatic social problems like the urban housing shortage and economic and racial segregation. Basically, the problem is that we have laws prohibiting the construction of less-expensive housing in certain areas, and this leads to exclusive government-enforced country club districts.” The plan (inspired by YIMBY Town 2017) considers state-level zoning reform in neighborhoods with exclusionary zoning identified by a high ratio of land value to homes indicating zoning requires large minimum lots sizes or limits development to single-family homes. The many, lengthy comments are a substantive conversation among a handful of readers about the proposed plan with more data, links to maps, transit, history, and thinking about particular parts of Minneapolis,

Land Value per Home

Melissa Wenzel makes A Case for Stillwater Avenue:  “Recently, St Paul city council members received an update on a bike infrastructure improvement proposal for Stillwater Ave, a residential road on the city of St Paul’s east side. They voted 3 for and 3 against (1 absent), which halts support for moving forward on putting bike lanes on Stillwater Ave. The stretch is located 5 miles northeast of downtown St Paul, and was proposed as an addition to an upcoming mill-and-overlay project from Hazel Street to McKnight Road, if approved.” The post details conditions on Stillwater, nearby land uses (3M, for one), and some of the rationale for the stalemate provided by Saint Paul Councilmember Jane Prince in whose ward the project falls; this post is also a call to action for Saint Paul residents to speak up and try to move the bike lane part of this projects along.

Quick looks and long walks

Look: Relevant to other posts about exclusionary zoning and reform is Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Homeownership by Race

Walk: Max Hailperin keeps walking around Minneapolis neighborhoods. Continuing his exploration of the Como neighborhood takes us for A Walk in Central Como.

Como Logos on Trashcan at 20th Ave SE and Fairmount St SE



Betsey Buckheit

About Betsey Buckheit

Betsey rides her pretty blue city bike, walks her energetic black dogs, and agitates for more thoughtful, long-range decision-making in Northfield, MN. You can follow her blog at