Bryant Avenue South

I Was Radicalized By Minneapolis 2040

I have a suggestion for anyone doubting the cataclysmic effects Minneapolis 2040 would have on Southwest Minneapolis. Drive down Bryant Avenue from 50th to Lake Street and have a look around. What you see might just open your eyes, change your tune, and flip your port-o-hammock.

I was driving down Bryant Avenue the other day and witnessed a truly tragic scene. I usually don’t take Bryant, but with geniuses at MNDOT organizing their construction on 35W solely to ruin my commute, I decided to take an alternate route from my home in Armatage to my spanioplecture session (shout out to Uptown Whole Life Spanio Lab! Kelly, you’re the best!). Prior to this trip, I was completely indifferent to municipal housing and development plans – I’m comfortable, so why should I care? But as I drove down that street on that warm summer day, I saw things that prolapsed my pores and ultimately made me a part of the #Resistance2040.

Bryant Avenue South

A simple illustration of humanity’s compulsion towards self hatred.

As I drove from 50th to Lake Street I was subjected to the type of pure urban obscenity that occurs when single family houses mix with apartment buildings. There were duplexes, triplexes, plexplexes. They were all just nestled right in among innocent single-family homes. And it was awful. Anyone who has taken Bryant through South Minneapolis knows what I now newly knew: it’s the very definition of urban hellscape. It’s like if Kowloon and Cidade de Deus had a baby and fed it nothing but super-salty pork rinds from Revival so that it was very bloated and full of regret and wondering why this is even an appetizer they’d serve people. This is what happens when developers are allowed to work their evil, corrupt developer magic among that most important and sacred type of property, the single-family home. As this new reality crept into my head I began to weep for the put-upon single-family home owners of Bryant Avenue, some of whom still courageously kept up their gardens while knowing full well that there were renters living nearby, lurking in long shadows cast by two story brick buildings, waiting for the opportunity to spread their foul litter and the stench of a life without real estate equity. How brave. Single family home owners truly are cut from a different cloth.

A house with a Sold sign sits next to a brick multifamily building

These homeowners clearly couldn’t take it any more. I hope they properly disclosed to their buyers the fact that the property is uncomfortably close to multifamily housing.

It was a hot day. But after this realization, I couldn’t stop shivering. Because I knew that if Minneapolis 2040 was allowed to pass without being whittled into nothingness by bitter complaints and hyper-vigilant concerns about important considerations like “Who’s going to pay for new garbage cans?” or “Where will I park my cars that I don’t park in my two car garage because my two car garage is full of boxes?” we’d soon all be forced to live on streets that, aside from having drastically less traffic, would be indistinguishable from a dystopic garbage rut like Bryant Avenue South.


Some trees sit in front of what is obviously a large apartment building

Though these strategically placed trees might suggest otherwise, there is indeed a large, obscene apartment building behind this greenery.

And there were so many children. I nearly crashed four or five times after their joyful summertime noises made me wince so much I couldn’t see the road clearly. Renters are mostly children (and poor people), and if we build more space for them, won’t our already-underfunded schools be driven even further to ruin? My community has already had to lobby MPS to reallocate resources away from the filthy renter kids in other neighborhoods to the important schools in Southwest Minneapolis. I know, I know, it seems like a selfish, and frankly evil, thing to do. Believe me, it took several three-merlot nights before I could look myself in the mirror afterwards.

If there are more children in the city, will I have to spend even more bitter nights at school board meetings advocating for the children in my community over the children in the rest of the city? And if, as clearly outlined in the plan, the city confiscates all of the single-family homes in my neighborhood and gives them to developers to build fourplexes for disgusting renters, won’t my neighborhood be overrun with the children of landless families? How exactly do Mayor Frey and Minneapolis 2040 supporters expect me to explain all of these propertyless families to my children? If my neighborhood is full of renters, it will be much more difficult for my community to siphon off general education funding to correctly allocate it to the children of the most important single-family home owners in the city because any funding we receive as a community will be spread among home owners and renters. I fear it may become essentially impossible to use neighborhood as a proxy for race and socioeconomic status in the targeted dispensation of scarce public resources. Needless to say, this will be especially true once single-family homes become extinct.

A large single family house sits on the far side of a circular driveway

The only correctly zoned house on Bryant Avenue South.

And despite what you may infer from literally everything about how I live my life and make political decisions, I care deeply about equity. Minneapolis 2040 doesn’t do anything to address disparities (I’m assuming. I haven’t read it). Will building fourplexes be more effective than simply doing nothing at solving the intergenerational cycle of poverty and neglect that is the hallmark of Minneapolis’s history of racist housing policy? My neighbors on don’t think so. I agree with their sage wisdom. As someone who cares deeply about equity in housing, I just can’t support a plan that my neighbors claim doesn’t do anything over the status quo, which definitively doesn’t do anything. If we’re going to do nothing, let’s do nothing right.

Trauma has a way of shaping how we interact with the world and what we’re willing to fight for. The trauma I endured that afternoon on Bryant has awoken this sleeping giant. No longer will I sit idly by and await the disgusting descent into socialism exemplified by reduced zoning restrictions in low density residential areas. This Southwest Minneapolis resident is reporting for duty in the war on 2040. Sorry I’m late. Where do I get a lawn sign?

90 thoughts on “I Was Radicalized By Minneapolis 2040

  1. Anon

    “Where will I park my cars that I don’t park in my two car garage because my two car garage is full of boxes?”


    This is fantastic.

  2. Christa MChris Moseng

    Your journey has moved me to tears.

    I’m inspired by the courage it took to recognize the plight of the southwest Minneapolis single family homeowners and to stand up for what is disproportionately white (but purely as a matter of both coincidence and pure individual merit) against the real racists and bribes from big developers.

  3. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

    I’m shocked that you were able to drive down Bryant Avenue without being hugely inconvenienced by slow-moving laggard bicyclists “taking the lane.”

  4. Monte Castleman

    And everyone that bought one of those single family houses next to multi-family housing chose to buy them knowing the neighborhood was like that and so were obviously fine with it. The people angry about 2040 are those that were not fine with living next to a hulking 4-plex or towering apartment are now faces with the possibility of having the rug pulled out from under them after having made their investment based on what the zoning was at the time of purchase.

    1. David Schubert

      Uhhhhh, it’s a city, not a time capsule. It’s unreasonable to buy a house and expect every surrounding property to stay the same forever.

      1. Monte Castleman

        So in other words if you value sunlight, privacy, and being able to park your cars someplace on the same block as your house, it serves you right for being stupid enough to believe that city zoning code would protect you and for making your investment in the city instead of Elko?

        1. Matt EckholmMatt Eckholm

          If you valued having a place to park your cars, you should have purchased property with enough space to guarantee yourself parking. It’s not my job to socialize your parking.

          1. Sue

            Many houses were built between 1880 and 1915 or so, that is why so many of the inner-ring neighborhoods do not have off-street parking. We do not, as many assume, all have double garages filled with boxes. The people who live in inner-ring neighborhoods tend to have lower-incomes, work multiple jobs (not the 9 to 5 white-collar jobs). The comments from many posters make a lot of assumptions about how others live and what their needs are. One size does not fit all.

        2. Christa MChris Moseng

          Accepting the premise that housing is an investment (while noting the inherent conflict between housing as investment and housing affordability), rational investors adapt to changing circumstances.

          It also includes not *overreacting* to speculated outcomes like the sun being blotted out or that you will in fact have less privacy than you do now. If you want to flip out about those hypothetical possibilities before they materialize, that’s your choice.

        3. David Schubert

          Monte, I agree with Matt re: cars. In terms of sunlight and privacy: there’s nothing in current zoning that prevents someone from buying a house, tearing it down, and building a larger (more expensive) house. It’s very common in SW Mpls. A fourplex would be held to the same zoning requirements as a SFH in terms of size, setbacks, etc.

          1. Julie KosbabModerator  

            In fact, by making zoning code more flexible in that regard, the resulting properties are more likely to “fit” the neighborhood than the McMansion. Yet, the teardown McMansion actually requires no particular approval under current code, and is easier to execute.

          2. Alex CecchiniAlex Cecchini

            I personally think this line of reasoning is a bad way to convince people the proposal is ok. It assumes that people with 4 exterior walls (and presumably windows), a back yard, etc are more deserving of having fewer privacy and shade impacts than people who live in larger buildings but have smaller units. It presumes people who have the easiest/cheapest path to supplying (likely) enough off-street parking for every driving age resident are the people most justified in complaining about parking impacts on their street.

            It also gives the people who live in a SFH on a corridor (or the block/face adjacent to one) with much higher built form intensity reason to oppose the plan on those very grounds. And there are many, particularly south of Lake St and north of Lowry.

            If we actually do view new neighbors in larger buildings as a burden (for the record, I don’t), whether it’s traffic/parking/shade/character/aesthetics, then we should all equally share the burden of a given built form.

            1. Trent

              While framing it as anti neighbor is one way to try and prejudice the opposition to these large building adds in corridor zones it’s really not about the neighbors it’s about the building. I dont want my backyard overshadowed by 6 stories of affordable housing, or luxury condos, or a warehouse with no residents. This is about replacing trees and sky with brick and cement in a small scale residential neighborhood where such intensity has never been expected and it’s not acceptable.

        4. Morgan Bird

          You can be unhappy about the change but the city shouldn’t value your aesthetic preferences over the ability of other people to be able to afford housing with decent access to opportunity and if you really don’t like it you can sell and take your windfall profits to buy a McMansion in Blaine or wherever.

          1. GlowBoy

            When you buy property, you buy that piece of property. You are not buying your neighbors’ property, and you are not buying the right to freeze your neighbors’ properties in time. Cities change.

            No one is talking about allowing high-rises, or even 4-story apartment buildings, among single family homes, just duplexes to fourplexes. They are already scattered all over the city, and fit in just fine. There are ZERO residential neighborhoods in Minneapolis where this housing type is unsuitable.

            Also, it’s the *Minneapolis* 2040 plan. If you live in a suburb, this plan will not affect your neighborhood.

            1. Monte Castleman

              So I’m incorrect in that my understanding that there are areas where the plan would allow six story apartment towers on all four sides of single family homes?

              And yes, it only affects the city. That’s why I’m not down at city hall up in arms in opposition to it; no one is going to build a 4-plex or an apartment tower on all four sides of my house. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on it, just like some people from the city seem to have a lot of opinions on suburban land use policies.

              1. GlowBoy

                I don’t know. I suppose it’s possible that a house sitting on a busy street in Uptown could end up with apartments on three sides (probably not four, since almost all houses are open to the street). But that’s not going to happen in Linden Hills, or Kenwood, or most of the other places where people are up in arms about the 2040 Plan. What people are freaking out about is the idea of fourplexes being allowed everywhere (which is NOT the same as them being built everywhere).

            2. Mike

              Your assertion is wrong.

              There are many many streets tagged corridor 4 or 6 where single family homes could become surrounded by 6 story or higher buildings.

              Multi lot, larger buildings are allowed.

              These are largely residential streets with
              Mostly single family or “small scale residential” as the plan says? Where these streets have some bus service.

              The plan exempts corridor 4 and corridor 6 from hard limits on building height. So anything (the city likes) goes?

    2. Ben

      -WHAT DO WE WANT????


      -WHEN DO WE WANT IT????


    3. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      “made their investment based on what the zoning was at the time of purchase.”

      I did not look up the zoning before buying a house. I’d be shocked if any more than a tiny fraction of buyers do.

      Also, the “hulking fourplex” is supposed to be no more hulking than what’s already allowed.

      1. Julie KosbabModerator  

        Also, most people invest in many things based on conditions and outlook – both personal, but also social and economic – at the time of purchase. However, they do change, and you can’t always predict how. Someone might start a trade war, or the CEO of a stock you own might call a rescue diver names, causing stock sell-off.

        If you want to treat housing as an “investment,” it needs to be treated fully as one. Most mutual funds and similar carry disclaimers, like “Past performance does not guarantee future returns.”

    4. Adam Wysopal

      Considering zoning has changed multiple times throughout Minneapolis history, people should’ve been aware it could change again. If you bought decades ago, I could see it being difficult to foresee we would be where we are today. While I have some sympathy for these folks (who reasonably believed their neighborhood would never change in significant ways), it’s tempered by the reality that if you bought decades ago, you had an opportunity that nobody has today. There are people all over south Minneapolis who bought homes in the 70s and 80s for well under $100k, and now these homes are often in the $500k+ category. Their investment is going to be just fine. If you bought in the last couple years thinking nothing would change … well, I’d say your expectation for status quo was not reasonable.

    5. Mr FreyBurger

      Stuff changes, get over it. You bought that lot, you dont own the city or the neighborhood.

  5. Daniel HartigDaniel Hartig

    When will people understand that sarcasm is a net negative as a political tool?

    All those people who said that liberal media won the election for Trump….they are right! How many times have I been sent a sarcastic, mean-spirited liberal article by my right leaning friends; forwarded as a ‘look at this crap’ gesture, to mobilize hostility against whatever wacky liberals wrote it?

    Lets count two things. How many Minneapolis residents who are currently on the fence about 2040 would be persuaded to support it by this article? Now, how many residents of South Minneapolis who previously didn’t care to follow local news and know little of 2040, would be convinced by this article in their facebook feed to oppose 2040?

    It’s an outrage driven world (see: Trump is president; also: every anti-Trump protest). This article feeds outrage only on one side: the side you don’t support!

    Please be wise, not sarcastic.

    1. Matt EckholmMatt Eckholm

      Seriously, put to rest the “liberals won the election for Trump” meme. 70,000 more people voted for Trump in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. That’s who won the election for Trump.

      The idea that sarcasm can’t be employed to lampoon ridiculous lines of thinking in the same world where speaking out your fears stream-of-consciousness style is considered “commentary” is laughable.

      Ridicule of bad ideas is part of democracy. There’s a reason autocrats ban it and their supporters hate it.

      1. Eric Wojchik

        I couldn’t agree more with you Matt. The Trump baby blimp idea didn’t come from America. We need to get better at ridicule because, beyond what many detractors say, it actually works wonders.

      2. Daniel HartigDaniel Hartig

        Liberals did not win the main election for Trump. Instead they won the Republican primary for him; and they got him something like 88% approval rating with Republicans. Liberal sarcasm and disdain built a Trump Tribe, without which its Cruz versus Clinton or whatever.

        Also, don’t go whataboutism on my by comparing sarcasm with eminent-domain-and-bulldozers-in-2040. Different things, both wrong.

        Ridicule of bad ideas is one thing. Smarmy, smug, self-righteous articles are another.

        1. Matthew Kuzma

          Here’s a thought: maybe the people who actually cast the votes are responsible for the votes they cast.

          If you don’t want to blame Republicans for their own bad choices because they were just reacting to liberal sarcasm, well by the same logic liberals aren’t responsible for their sarcasm. They are just reacting to right-wing racism and stupidity.

          Sarcasm, earnest education, hard data, and empathy have all failed to move the needle on right-wing idiocy so I contend it is the right-wing idiots who are responsible for their own recalcitrance.

          1. Daniel HartigDaniel Hartig

            Of course Republicans are responsible for their own votes, and liberal smarmy sarcasm is just a reaction to Fox News idiots. I get it. Fox News got banned in the Officer’s Mess on my last ship because it was so stupid; and if ever there was a bastion of the reaction, a bunch of Naval Officers is it.

            I equally tell all my Trump-voting friends to stop with the made up stories about Hillary (still! 2 years later!), the obsession with the Russia probes, believing anything on Brietbart, pro-cop fundamentalism contrary to constitutional rights, etc.

            Both sides need to de-escalate. I will happily be the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. “Prepare ye the way for civil society!”

        2. Matt EckholmMatt Eckholm

          That doesn’t say much about Republicans then, that they respond so poorly to criticism that doesn’t come through an appropriate filter that their entire electoral strategy in response was “I’ll show you!” Jokes aside though, that’s not even true. A bunch of primary candidates were too proud to get out of the way, and they allowed Trump to slowly pick them off one by one.

          Cruz, Rubio, and Bush (and Priebus, as party leader, for that matter) could have ended Trump by debate two if they had realized a 17 candidate primary could only end in disaster. But none of them were Minnesotan, so obviously the lessons learned from Ventura’s victory were unknown to them.

          What is an example of acceptable ridicule, then? Because it seems that the overton window on what’s acceptable lands on “Thinkpieces that go unread” when you rule out humor.

    2. Adam Wysopal

      It’s pure conjecture that sassy writing is a net negative when it comes to political persuasion. With that, let me do some speculating myself. If people learn anything from 2016, it is to focus your energy activating people who agree with you instead of trying to persuade the reasonable, middle ground person who somehow doesn’t have an opinion.

      1. Daniel HartigDaniel Hartig

        This road leads to the end of liberal democracy, of course, so I’m sad that you are so eager to go there. I guarantee that what we find at the end of this road is worse than what we have now.

        1. jared czaia

          Daniel, thanks for your straightforward approach here. I agree with you. If you have mostly contempt for those who you disagree with, you are sure to receive contempt in return. By disagreeing in a civil and respectful way, there is at least a chance that you’ll be extended that same respect.

          I think the resistance you find is because people don’t want to acknowledge the harm that mockery does because then they would feel guilty about partaking in it. It feels good to mock others in the same way it feels good to cut others down to their face – it’s just a more Minnesotan way to do it 🙂

          That being said, this article isn’t really all that mean spirited, and it is full of great points – but if written in a more serious tone it could flesh out the rebuttals to 2040 resistance a lot better.

  6. Eric Wojchik

    Rarely do I see satire so well-conceived since leaving the UK. This is a gem. 🙂

  7. Harrison

    It’s worth pointing out that there are many residents of Bryant concerned about 2040 not because The current mix of small scale residential may persist or expand, it’s because of the corridor zoning on they street which as written in the initial draft (hopefully to change) included no hard limits on building size or height. Some people think it’s 4 stories but there’s a direct route to go higher.

    So the towering 7 story apartment building on 36th and Bryant, possibly the tallest building on the authors drive except maybe the walker senior center, this building scale could end up reproduced up and down Bryant.

    Corridor residents, many of them have no concerns witH the 4plex proposal because threy recognize those buildings in their neighborhood now. It’s unfortunate that plan proponents when faced with the potential of upzoning these streets (predominantly single family area now with possibly a very tall apartment next door) can’t do better than, in general, one of these four responses:

    1. What did you expect buying on a “transit corridor” (most of these streets do not feel like transit corridors, ask the author of this piece for proof as he dodged kids playing and such).

    2. Hey big buildings have to go somewhere, sorry.

    3. It will be fine. . Don’t worry. Don’t worry if you don’t get sun or only see stories of windows….. all’s going to be good trust me. Look how happy everyone in uptown is.

    4. If you want a yard so bad move to Eden Prairie


    1. Monte Castleman

      Then when people do buy houses in Eden Prairie because they want space and privacy and parking we complain about so-called “sprawl”.

      1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

        I feel there’s net outmigration happening, all the scary stuff that people are afraid will drive them out isn’t actually getting built.

        1. julie

          I read the Blaine 2040 plan. A shocking amount of Blaine is under $250k. Some of the outmigration may be city scarcity. See also the St. Paul article earlier this week.

        2. Blake

          Kind of ironic as the NFMN signs show a single family house sandwiched between two tall a partment buildings.

      2. Rosa

        only when they demand that we fund their lifestyle by eternally expanding the highway system.

  8. Dean

    Sigh… I think most people who understand how the four-plex component is being proposed to be implemented are okay with it–those against are just the noisiest, and yeah, I think that’s unreasonable. My block, not on a bus line, but sandwiched between a couple of busy streets, is targeted to be eligible for 4 and 6 story multi-lot buildings at the corners and on one whole side. Sorry, but ‘eff that. I don’t think it’s really that unreasonable to think such a block wouldn’t get such buildings until, you know, blade runner days and the collapse of our economy. We have single family homes and duplexes. I fail to see how that makes us immoral.

    1. Trent

      Your failure to embrace 2040 makes you an enemy of progress. For the good of all, you should welcome towers, the taller the better to your block.

    2. Joseph TottenJoseph Totten

      In a serious response;

      – You say 4-6 floor development is reasonable to see in your area of Minneapolis. I’d ask how much of the potentially rezoned area you would see reasonable for this style of redevelopment in the next 10-20 years?
      -What portion of this redeveloped would be fine?
      -If you think it is a low amount, would it be acceptable?
      -If you think it is a high amount, wouldn’t that speak to the pent-up demand for housing in safe and connected areas of the city? And if so, why is the monotony of scale more important than allowing more people to live in a better school district/ nearer better parks/ nearer work/ nearer businesses they like?

      I don’t understand and would like to actually have it spelled out for me here.

  9. kareen fang

    I love when people complain about density which mostly have to do with parking/traffic .
    As a bus riders majority of the people don’t take transit they threaten to move to the suburbs and create more congestion and pollution.

    HOW dare they parking infront of my house.
    I will drive to the suburbs shop because they shops,gas are better and cheaper there and I can park by the front door.I will give my tax dollars to suburbs if the city cannot provide free parking for me by the front door.

    1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

      This is how I feel about the debate. I think most of the concerns are really about traffic and parking, then sublimated through an elaborate dance about zoning codes and density.

      Really, the problem is that driving is a terrible decision to have to make every day.

      1. Matt Brillhart

        Former Mayor Betsy Hodges said it best (and I paraphrase): “People aren’t opposed to density of people; they’re opposed to density of cars”

      2. Sue

        I lived next door to a fourplex for several years. The absentee landlord had no problem renting to dealers and sex workers because they paid their rent in cash and never complained when there were maintenance problems. The building was trashed and demolished. The entire block turned out to watch and cheer as the building was torn down. I’d like to believe that that landlord was unique but he wasn’t.

        1. Julie KosbabModerator  

          But that’s an issue with property owner oversight, not with fourplexes.

          I lived near a duplex and a fourplex. The actual “problem” property was a SFH, 1,000 square feet, owner-occupied, where they had (not kidding) 12 people living there and they kept trying to park a truck and a minivan on the back lawn by trying to drive through the grass between my garage and theirs.

          I joke that the biggest problem with the fourplex was that the kids used to play basketball behind (there was a hoop) while playing k-pop. Everyone knows you don’t dunk to k-pop.

  10. Dom DePratt

    Your message and goals are undermined when you work only in the same sanctimonious, sarcastic—extremely esoteric and self-defeating—circles.

    That mindset has historically prevented people who agree with you—or at least this one person who agrees with you—from engaging in discourse, because the enfranchised within that debate are so openly hostile to pragmatic ideas that differ from their own ten-layers-of-irony-laced idealism.

    Seriously. Good luck.

    (Also, in order for satire to function well, it needs to be accessible.)

    1. Andrew Evans

      “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

      I finally had enough, and in essence took off my clothes and started wearing my politics on my sleeve. This involved getting a NRA membership, and not voting straight DFL/Democrat as I did before. Life has been pretty good since, to be honest, I just don’t have time to be continually outraged, or have time to be called names and/or told I have this privilege.

      Something to note though, and granted this is only a sample size of 3, but I’ve had a chance lately to talk with some college students. They do lean progressive, as most younger people do, especially ones going to the UofM. However, they weren’t all totally on board with every single intersectional talking point or racial and cultural appropriation. In fact, one friend told me about a young man she goes to class with who, although totally progressive, was called out for his privilege and racism due to him having the gumption to have an opinion outside of the “approved” progressive talking points. On the far left, similar to the far right, there is a purity test going on that serves to exclude people (as you said) as soon as they figure out they can live life and still carry their own opinions.

      Thus my quote, the more intersectional politics get, away from the traditional class view, the more people will start to leave and do their own thing. I don’t expect younger people to join the NRA, but, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them go more blue dog democrat and balance out their views from a straight progressive platform.

      FWIW I’ll give this site some money in a few weeks after another payday, it’s nice to talk housing policy on it’s own, away from other politics. It also balances out my NRA contribution along with Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.

  11. Scott

    Harrison pointed it out above, that Minneapolis 2040 identifies Bryant Avenue in this area as “Corridor 4” built form. It would allow four or more stories and combining of multiple lots for one building. It also ups the built form to “Interior 3” 1/2 block on Aldrich and Colfax. I think folks are concerned about the height and bulk of future buildings on the corridor because it is a significant change from the existing conditions. My understanding is that people in the area generally really love those old brick four-plexes and would welcome more of them. The fact is that the 2040 Plan, as written, proposes far larger structures. In theory some of the four-plexes could be lost to make way for 4+-story, multi-lot apartment buildings.

    1. Christa MChris Moseng

      Consistently framing the definition of Corridor 4 as pessimistically as possible is alarmist, misleading, and damages your credibility.

      From the definition: “Building heights should be 1 to 4 stories.”

      It’s almost like you’re trying to create a picture of something that won’t actually happen because what is likely to happen isn’t that bad…

      1. Mike

        If you keep reading Corridor 4 (or honestly reflect what is written) you get to the sentence that says (more or less) requests to exceed 4 stories will be evaluated to see if projects advance comp plan goals. So don’t ignore part of the comp plan that proactively green lights taller than 4 stories and then pretend those concerns are not valid. Not a good look.

        1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

          “[P]roactively green lights” is not a fair description. It would be much more accurate to say “can seek special permission to.”

          And the latter isn’t any different from any part of the zoning code.

          1. Mike

            But there is a distinct break in the build form descriptions at Corridor 4. Interior 1 2 3 are clear on max height. From Corridor 4 and up, there is this explicit path to taller. Codifying this expectation proactively is a different approach then just saying its like any other part of the zoning code – proposing a 4 story in Interior 1 for example with the 2.5 story limit would be a much different path to approval than a 6 story in corridor 4 as written, so long as your 6 story “is a reasonable means for further achieving Comprehensive Plan goals”.

            That uncertainty is a main point of concern for many residents of streets caught up in the Corridor 4 categorization who would not welcome a 4 story building next door but who would really really be upset by 6, 8 stories etc… and nothing in the initial draft gives any comfort for that concern.

            1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

              Would it? Both a proposed three story building in Interior 1 and a five story building in Corridor 4 would require an application for permission, a public hearing and the opportunity for opponents to appeal.

              I guess the former is a conditional use permit while the latter is a variance, which makes some marginal amount of difference, but is it really all that much? Either way, there’s lots of room for neighbors to object to any given proposal.

              Anyway, we’ll see what’s in the revised draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 4 story guidance is hardened or even outright capped (or, as likely, many of the Corridor 4 areas moved to something less intense). We’ll see if it eases any concerns.

              But while we’re talking about Bryant Avenue south of Lake, the existing zoning is interesting, with a mix of single family zoning and R4, R5 and R6 in places. I assume that’s mostly due to past downzoning to match the existing structures, but there are still single family homes in the higher zoned areas today, which goes to show that what’s allowed is not a projection of what will happen.

  12. Mike

    So 2040 targets Bryant for big apartment buildings. Probably only passed a couple as tall as the city would like to have on that whole stretch.

  13. Middle Minneapolis

    So much of this debate has become a pretty nasty class conflict. On the Pro-2040 side you have a lot of young people who have become priced out of aspirational housing in Minneapolis. By aspirational, I mean the kind of “long” term housing that people who are moving from the “3 room mates” type college/post-college housing.

    On the anti-side, you mostly have older (but not always a lot older) people who have bought homes and while saddling with breathtaking debt, feel like their neighborhood will remain mostly stable and their house will “pay off” — gain enough equity to be salable in 10 years without being under water.

    The pro-2040 people are all-in on urban living but find themselves priced out of what they want and where they want it. Some of this is the success of Minneapolis, but some of this is no small amount of entitlement about how and where they want to live running into the reality of market prices.

    The ultimate cause of this is partly demand, but mostly decades of wage stagnation. Pro-2040s are unfortunately turning on existing single family home owners as if they were a millionaire class keeping them down and out. This will be a failed strategy of class antagonism.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      We probably need to be a little careful of stereotyping both sides (I admit I can fall into that trap), but I think it important to consider that some people are motivated by things other than self-interest. I’m sure some who oppose more density do so because they think it’s the right thing that will benefit society as a whole (obviously I disagree, but whatever).

      And I’m certain that some people want more housing because people other than themselves need housing. For example, I own a house in a nice neighborhood.

      Granted, I do see benefits to me from more neighbors – a better neighborhood that can support more stuff – but I’m not at all motivated by being priced out of anything. I don’t want a more expensive house.

      1. Middle Minneapolis

        I’ve been following this debate online since before 2040 really started hitting the news cycle. There is a lot of individual argument lambasting homeowners for cynically using zoning restrictions as some kind of monopoly power to artificially increase the investment value of their homes.

        I don’t think most typical Minneapolis homeowners are that sophisticated. In fact most people I talked to when buying my house in the late 1990s criticized me for buying a house in Minneapolis because it would be *bad* investment — a weak school system which discourages buyers with families, high property taxes, higher crime, and an overall lower price/value relative to lot size, house size and housing stock age (higher maintenance). I just wanted to not live in the suburbs,

        I’m also not sure that the data suggests a house is much of an investment financially, either. The 100 year Case Schiller index spent decades at 120 and has been on a downward trajectory since the housing bubble. For most people, it’s only an investment in the sense that you gain a nominal cash increase if you sell after a long period of ownership. But factoring in mortgage interest, maintenance, upgrades not to mention the opportunity costs of basic home upkeep (yardwork, painting, etc), you’re basically just getting back what you paid in to live there, not a large windfall in real terms.

        If homeowners are trying to protect anything, it’s basically to get back what they paid for the home, not some giant payoff. It only looks that way nominally due to inflation. A homeowner’s nightmare is that they’re worse off than when they started.

        Yet all of this is quite often being spun as a financial conspiracy by homeowners who are trying to not only gain from limiting supply but also keeping others poor.

        My larger point is that rather than acknowledge that middle class homeowners self interest in opposing elements of 2040 isn’t really just rational economic self defense, too many 2040 advocates are bundling everyone who opposes it in with a very narrow group of privileged people. Sorry, but 56th & Knox isn’t Kenwood Boulevard or Isles Parkway, and residents there are at the park watching their kids play soccer, not sitting in front of Bloomberg terminals watching real estate futures.

        Density advocates need to acknowledge their own self interest in this debate, too. Some may be altruistically motivated by some vague notion of affordable housing, but a lot are self-interested in gaining access to something they want (desirable urban areas) that they just can’t afford. It’s no less justifiable for advocates to judge my concern over my property value as stealing from them than it is for me to judge their desire to subsidize their property ambitions with my housing value.

        1. Christa MChris Moseng

          This is why I started writing on this topic, to pop this particular bit of pigeonholing. I am a property owner, and property owners in Minneapolis need to accept that their position is a form of wealth and privilege. Defensiveness about not being Actual Millionaires is irrelevant. Not “intending” to be self interested by protecting the zoning status quo because they’re “not that sophisticated” is irrelevant, when the effect is exactly that.

          But this story is also a fiction—the argument that zoning changes will undercut property values underlies the opposition. Property owners are sophisticated enough to be concerned about it and be motivated by it.

          Just share. It’s not that hard. If the argument against sharing is “well you’re not altruistic enough because you just want to live more sustainably,”… what’s your point? You’re still talking about the self interestedness of the haves vs. the have-nots, and siding with the haves because they got there before income and wealth inequality skyrocketed is still a bad look no matter how you market it.

          1. Middle Minneapolis

            Sorry, but I’m not buying the self-flagellating definition of wealth and privilege that’s defined only by relative comparisons to people who have zero. It’s a false standard that assumes everyone who has *anything* has wealth and privilege. Those terms have far more salience when measured in absolute terms.

            I’m sorry, but I drive a 12 year old car, pay out of pocket for my son’s mental health care and am bracing for the estimates to replace my 25 year old roof. What exactly is it you think I have to “share”?

            While it’s true that trying to keep what little economic assets I have would seem to cause me to appear to be aligned with the self-interest of the haves, it’s a false and overly broad comparison. My kid wants to keep the quarter he found on the street, does that somehow align him with Wall Street interests because his first instinct isn’t to give it away?

            All of these arguments merely underscore the class antagonism present in so many 2040 advocates. I get it, wealth inequality sucks, but I’m not responsible for causing it and I sure can’t afford to fund its resolution.

            1. Christa MChris Moseng

              If you own property and are opposed to upzoning, you are in fact responsible for causing it. But the good news is you CAN afford to fund its resolution by supporting efforts to legalize density increases in the city, because it will literally cost you nothing, or something so close to nothing that you won’t notice it.

              Disclaiming responsibility for class disparities doesn’t make it true or absolve you of the moral obligation not to create barriers for people who just want to live in the city.

              I get it, you don’t want to feel bad about being self interested, but people who want to live in the city aren’t responsible for causing it and sure can’t afford to indulge excusing privilege so the privileged can feel better about excluding others.

              1. Middle Minneapolis

                No you don’t get it — I don’t feel bad about the meager surplus achieved by my self-interest, I am in fact proud of my achievements because I’m fully confident they were in fact the result of a lot of hard work, including a college education I paid for out of pocket and career advancement achieved through my own blood, sweat and tears.

                I’m also entirely unswayed by any sense of moral obligation to people who want to live in locations that market forces, most of which transcend municipal boundaries, have made unaffordable. In fact, I’m inclined to see it more as a sense of entitlement and a misguided utopianism that all geographies in any one city can ever be made accessible to all people.

                You can keep up the neo-Marxist rhetoric all you like, you can even label me a useful idiot to the reactionary, rootless cosmopolitan owners of the means of production, it still doesn’t make it so.

                Worse yet, the continued attempts to hang false labels of “privilege” and “wealth” on people like me only hardens our opposition, and admittedly to everyone’s detriment. We really do need to plan for increased density, because its going to happen. But that doesn’t mean that some measured opposition to 2040 turns us into wealthy reactionaries.

                1. Christa MChris Moseng

                  Property owners being asked to share a little at virtually no cost, and the answer I’m hearing is, essentially, “no; I’ve got mine; and I won’t give an inch of ground to help you get yours.”

                  The position, on the spectrum of political beliefs, basically speaks for itself. If calling it for what it is “hardens” your opposition, that is your responsibility. Self-absolving conservatism seems like it would be a comfortable political position to inhabit if I could shut off my empathy.

                2. Adam MillerAdam Miller

                  “locations that market forces, most of which transcend municipal boundaries, have made unaffordable.”

                  Except it’s not only market forces. It’s also regulation in the form of the zoning code, which artificially reduces the quantity of housing available in those neighborhoods.

  14. Theo Kozel

    I’m a single family owner (in the Hiawatha neighborhood) and a 2040 supporter so I disagree that the lines can be so neatly drawn. Though I can see where the 2040 plan would create downward pressure on property values in some circumstances, other dynamics pushing up home values will remain in play. I highly doubt my property would lose value barring some broader cataclysm like the Great Recession which renders things like Minneapolis 2040 moot. I do care greatly about my home’s value because it’s second only to my 401K as an asset.

    Aside from the monetary value of my house, there is the social/emotional value of it being my ‘home’. Given demographic trends that have extended for some time now I see a Minneapolis that will become more and more homogenized because more and more people will not be able to afford to live here. I frankly would rather live in a slightly-less-valuable home than in a de facto gated community where economic barriers filter people out. That would no longer be ‘home’ and my house would be less ‘valuable’ to me. If I wanted to live in an area cleansed of certain socio-economic demographics I currently have plenty of suburbs to live in.

    Nobody is entitled to an unchanging world. Just because I bought a house doesn’t mean everyone else has to accommodate my preferences. Sure I may *like* for things to stay the same but when I weigh that against the needs of others to live and work in reasonable circumstances I would rather be welcoming and accommodating to *them*. I want to live in a community where we make room for all kinds of people and that means I need to adapt to the world around me. Just as I don’t ‘manspread’ my legs on the train, I don’t ‘manspread’ my single family home ownership to the detriment of people lower than me on the income scale.

    I don’t want to live in a city that pushes out the young, the poor, artists, immigrants, or people of color looking for opportunity. And the insistence on maintaining single family zoning does just that. It imposes on others just as much as the 2040 plan, it doesn’t seem like an imposition because it’s the status quo. People seem to think the status quo is an act of God or natural development when in reality the one thing that cannot and will not change is that our environment is shaped by choices and politics, whether they were made decades before I was born or now. The status quo is radical, it is political, and it is social engineering.

    I live near the 46th street station and development, stunted for nearly a decade due to the Great Recession, has been humming for the past five years or so. Bring it on! I want people, restaurants, energy. I don’t want to live in a mausoleum created to preserve the whims of middle-to-upper-middle class, middle-aged white people (like myself). Living in a city necessarily requires living with change- perhaps more change than even in suburbs or small towns. If people don’t want dynamism and change they really shouldn’t live in a city at all- it just plain isn’t the place for them and they don’t appreciate what a city truly is.

  15. GlowBoy

    I think the anti-2040 folks would like everyone to think that the logical position of SFHers is to oppose the plan, and the logical position of people who don’t own SFHs is to support the plan from a self-interest perspective (though perhaps oppose it for aspirational reasons).

    Like Theo Kozel above, I’m a single family homeowner but support the 2040 plan. I also know more about microeconomics than 95% of Americans, and realize that inflated housing costs are the result of insufficient supply. PERIOD.

    The current situation is due to decades of artificially limiting supply. We need more housing. Yes, new housing is expensive (inherently so), but making more new housing available takes demand pressure off the depreciated (read: affordable) housing in the neighborhoods. Notice the recent Strib article pointing out the reason starter homes have largely disappeared is that they are all being rented out. Many of the people renting small homes would have rented apartments (or units in duplexes, say) if more of those units were available.

    Also, I don’t understand the argument that homeowners opposing the plan is a case of protecting property values. If anything, our homes will be worth far MORE in a vibrant neighborhood with lots of shops and restaurants.

    1. Monte Castleman

      Getting rid of the MUSA line would be a good start as to increasing home supply. If you decrease the price of houses in the suburbs, more people will choose to live in the suburbs which will reduce demand for houses in the city.

      1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

        Nevermind the environmental disaster of more people living even further away from stuff.

        Also, I’m not so sure that housing on the limit are close substitutes for housing in the city, so it seems more likely that the people buying those homes will be coming from closer in suburbs.

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