Ten Thoughts on Minneapolis 2040

I’m no expert on the Minneapolis 2040 planning goals but I feel like I’ve been paying attention. I’ve read news stories, blog posts, NextDoor comments, attended community meetings and discussed this topic with friends and neighbors.

Here are a few observations based on those experiences:

1. The vast majority of people opposed to the upzoning proposals are far older and whiter than the city overall. The main issue they have is a proposal that would allow people to redevelop their single-family home into a duplex, triplex, or fourplex, as long as they stayed within the height and area restrictions currently in place for single-family development. If you’ve ever been to my house, you may or may not have noticed that the property next to mine of nearly identical size is a high/low duplex. That property would is illegal to build under current zoning. It turns out that older white people feel threatened by properties like that one.

2. If we maintain the status quo, people will still be able to remodel or tear down and redevelop single-family properties. They’ll continue to be restricted to building a single-family home, so – as we’ve seen in Linden Hills – we’ll see smaller and/or run down properties replaced with homes that maximize square footage on city lots. As a city, we’ll end up with more expensive housing stock but it won’t move the needle much on the number of city residents. Granted, there is a greater chance of a family of 4+ living in a 2,000 square foot home than a less than 1,000 square foot home so there could be some growth is residents.

3a. Affordability. Some eyeballing of projects in Longfellow and Linden Hills suggests to me that redeveloping a tear-down as a new single-family home more than doubles the property’s value. For example, a property selling for $200k or less in Longfellow will likely be worth $400K or more once redeveloped as a new, larger, home. In Linden Hills, the same math applies but with around a 50% bump for both of those figures. We do not keep neighborhoods affordable by doubling home prices one lot at a time.

3b. Affordability. If the same square footage is used to build a duplex, the property’s overall value may double but the cost to live on that property will remain near where it was before. This doubles the number of households who can afford to live on that property and in that neighborhood rather than pricing them both out.

4. Racial history. Like many cities, Minneapolis had racial covenants on many properties that made it illegal to sell your property to anyone who wasn’t white. Once that was outlawed, we switched to discriminating based on lending practices such as redlining that made it impossible for non-white people to receive government-backed financing on mortgages for properties in white neighborhoods. Once that was outlawed – and white people had spent a few generations building out neighborhoods in desirable parts of town – cities adopted zoning ordinances that banned multi-family housing. It’s the “We’re not racist. We just don’t want to live around people who don’t happen to be as wealthy as we’ve become.” system.

5. Liberals not walking the walk. I see many older white people who’re opposed to the Minneapolis 2040 plan who absolutely hate Trump, are positive that climate change is real, understand that college students are saddled with a ton more debt at graduation than previous generations, and would absolutely not consider themselves to be racist. Yet, when they have a chance to walk the walk by adopting a real-world change that could help address these issues they aren’t being proactive. They’re being vehemently reactive.

6. Population trends. I hear some people opposed to changing zoning saying that young people will regret the loss of single-family homes once they have families. What’s changed since people who’ve paid off their mortgage bought their houses?

– The average family size is declining (not rapidly, but it is)
– People are getting married later
– More people are divorced
– More people are living longer as empty nesters
– More people are living longer as widows or widowers
– More people are hamstrung with college loans
– The cost of having one infant in daycare is similar to a mortgage payment on a $250k home.

Many people like this would like to live in safe, quiet, neighborhoods, but don’t need – or can’t afford – a single-family home. These are people who’re being pushed out of neighborhoods by people opposing change (while, hypocritically, putting All Are Welcome Here signs in their yards).

I have heard from some older people who think it’s impossible to raise a child in Minneapolis without a backyard. As someone with young kids and basically no backyard, I’ve found that it’s not necessary to have a private park in a city that has so many public parks. We walk, bike, or drive to parks with different amenities, and enjoy interacting with neighbors and friends from schools. We do have some areas of town that are, sadly, underserved by parks. They also happen to be where old white people seem to be more interested in corralling renters.

Housing that allows people to save money, spend less time maintaining a yard, and on a block that’s safe for kids to bike around is a good thing.

7. Radical change? Think about this: If the most run-down home in Kenwood is torn down and replaced with a new fourplex (assuming the lot is large enough to accommodate that) what type of neighbors do you think would live there? The cost of housing in Kenwood would still be much higher than the city average so you’d end up living next to people who can afford something like $1,800 or more in monthly rent payments? Is that threatening to someone with a $4,000+ mortgage?

8. Less affluent neighborhoods. So far, most of what I’ve discussed has been from the perspective of Minneapolis’ more affluent neighborhoods from Kenwood to Longfellow, from the lakes, along the creek, to the river. What about other neighborhoods that haven’t had the same upward pricing pressure? At the other extreme would be neighborhoods with empty lots today. There are lots available in Minneapolis for under $25k in some neighborhoods. There are quite a few factors contributing to this. Quality of neighborhood schools, safety, expectations of home appreciation, and racism are some examples. But, another one is that it’s tough to justify building a single-family home on an empty lot if the home can’t sell or rent for what it costs to build. If people had the option to build something other than single-family homes on those lots, perhaps the market would find ways to develop some of them without subsidies? It would be great to see additional efforts being made to redevelop those lots – including public investments – and I definitely don’t believe that rezoning alone will solve all problems.

Granted, we would have more money to invest in neighborhoods in need of help if old white people were willing to accept a few more neighbors.

9. Affordable housing vs housing that’s affordable. I have seen some cases of people talking past each other regarding affordable housing. Here is HUD’s definition:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: In general, housing for which the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income for gross housing costs, including utilities. Please note that some jurisdictions may define affordable housing based on other, locally determined criteria and that this definition is intended solely as an approximate guideline or general rule of thumb.

If a neighborhood is already unaffordable by that criteria, redeveloping a single-family home as a McMansion or duplex will likely not solve that problem. However, redeveloping the property into housing that’s cheaper than a McMansion (the only type of housing we’ll see replacing tear downs under current zoning) provides more affordable housing than a McMansion provides, and does so for more people.

10. What are the alternatives for zoned-out future residents? If we price out first-time homebuyers via exclusionary zoning they’ll still need a place to live. Some will “drive until they qualify” for a mortgage, leading to more carbon being spewed into the city as they commute in, more complaints about congestion, and more complaints about parking. These are self-inflicted wounds caused by self-described Liberals. They’re less concrete changes to see than having a new, nearly as wealthy, renter as a neighbor but they’re no less real. We can do better.

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55 Responses to Ten Thoughts on Minneapolis 2040

  1. Tom Quinn July 27, 2018 at 2:20 pm #

    God forbid that you ever become an old white person. They sound like horrible people.

    • Ed Kohler July 27, 2018 at 2:54 pm #

      It makes me wonder if they prefer discriminatory zoning because that’s who they are, or that’s who’ve they’ve become due to living with discriminatory zoning for so long.

      • Dean July 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm #

        Or neither? Maybe they prefer a balance of density and housing stock which they sought when purchasing their house? Maybe many don’t really care too much about who’s inhabiting neighboring properties–accepting the odds that they’ll be nice people and okay neighbors? Maybe many know the decreased property value and increased crime arguments are bunk, but still don’t want 4 and 6 story multi-lot buildings erected on their block? I’m getting to the point where I detest all sides of this particular issue.

        • Harrison July 27, 2018 at 4:12 pm #

          Nope, as has been pointed out many many times, everyone who objects to any part of 2040 only does so because they are racist.

          • Bill Lindeke
            Bill Lindeke July 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

            Ed wrote a nuanced and detailed article here.

          • Ed Kohler July 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

            When people understand that racial covenants were bad, redlining was bad, and single-family exclusionary zoning put in place after more blatant racist policies were outlawed was used to lock out minorities from white neighborhoods, then oppose efforts to roll back zoning to a bit looser levels than exist today, we end up with maintaining our racist status quo.

            “I’m not racist but I think multi-family housing and renters belong, exclusively, over there” isn’t exactly “All Are Welcome Here” behavior.

          • Adam Wysopal July 30, 2018 at 9:49 am #

            I still can’t believe how anyone could think it is problematic to point out the obvious: that people who are most against this plan happen to be older, whiter, and wealthier than the average person in Minneapolis. Pointing that out isn’t the same things as saying their concerns don’t matter. What this article does – in many ways – is arguing that their concerns shouldn’t matter more than other stuff, such as providing more housing in a growing city.

            • Daniel Hartig
              Daniel Hartig July 30, 2018 at 2:10 pm #

              I still can’t believe how anyone could think it is problematic to point out the obvious: that people who commit murders happen to be younger, blacker, and poorer than the average person in the United States.

              Pointing it out isn’t the same thing as saying that black lives don’t matter.

              Think before you speak, bro.

              • Chris Moseng
                Chris Moseng July 31, 2018 at 11:54 am #

                Your continued efforts to draw equivalencies between criticizing the dominant racial caste and historically oppressed racial categories is neither clever nor insightful. Continuing to do it only makes you look like a white supremacist, even though you don’t consider yourself to be one. And I know hearing this will cause you pain and want to lash out but I suggest instead reflecting on that pain and considering whether you should explore different perspectives before you persist.

                Thanks.

                • Bill Lindeke
                  Bill Lindeke July 31, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

                  I agree with Chris here.

                • Joe July 31, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

                  +1

                • Daniel Hartig
                  Daniel Hartig July 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm #

                  You should not judge people by the color of their skin. Full stop.

                • Walt Pitt August 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

                  How come labeling someone as a white Supremacist is not against the rules of this forum. Seems to attack and label the poster.

            • Laura July 30, 2018 at 9:37 pm #

              It’s not just “older” than the average person in Minneapolis. I was disheartened to see quite a few fellow former neighbors who are ballpark my age (41) who self-describe as liberal but rally against public transportation enhancements needed to serve increasing populations. Increased populations due to planned multi-family dwellings in south Minneapolis and in Highland in St Paul.

              It’s not an age thing. It’s a race thing, in tandem with a failure to understand how deliberate, planful neighborhood change management works.

          • Carol Becker August 5, 2018 at 8:44 am #

            It is really easy to just slap negative labels on people who disagree with you on a policy rather than listening to them and trying to understand why they think the way that they do. Slap racist on me and then you can simply dismiss me and my ideas. It couldn’t be that folks like me think that building new housing in existing walkable neighborhoods and at high frequency transit nodes and throughout the City is a better way of doing development than using a meat cleaver for policy and turning decisions about what our future should be to developers. That retaining old housing is good because it is fundamentally cheaper than new housing. That keeping our housing stock for families with children is important because new market rate housing is too expensive for families with children. It is just easier to slap labels on people like me and dismiss them.

            • Sarah August 12, 2018 at 9:22 am #

              I”m confused – how are the proposed new housing options not for children? Just because a duplex does not have a private backyard or one room per child does not mean it does not serve children well. Your assumptions on what is made for a family is narrow and non-inclusive.

        • Ed Kohler July 27, 2018 at 5:20 pm #

          The most vocal and politically active opponents of Minneapolis 2040’s proposed zoning changes don’t live on blocks that would be potentially rezoned for 4-6 story multi-lot buildings. They live in residential areas where the threat they face is having a market-rate property erected on their block that houses more than family within existing height and area restrictions.

          • Carol Becker August 5, 2018 at 8:47 am #

            I would dispute this, as someone who actually has been talking to people who are opposed to this plan. We have quite a few who are in that 4-6 story zoning. But then again, we have a lot of people from a lot of different types of housing, with a lot of different concerns.

          • Walt Pitt August 6, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

            Is there data to base this assumption on or did you make it up?

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller August 6, 2018 at 12:54 pm #

            It’s always dubious to draw any conclusions based on lawn signs, but nonetheless, it appears to be the case that the “bulldoze” and “zoned for extinction” signs are concentrated in the blocks immediately adjacent to W. 50th Street and Lyndale Avenue South, both of which are designated Corridor 4.

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller July 27, 2018 at 7:21 pm #

          “They” keep saying their neighborhood is only single family homes, which is close to universally untrue, so maybe they’re not sure about the balance of density of housing stock.

        • Rosa July 29, 2018 at 10:03 pm #

          The balance and density in many neighborhoods is shifting because if the sfh restrictions that were put in pmace after most of the existing housibg stock was built. Allowing multifamily actually preserves existing patterns as buildings age and need replacement in many places.

    • Removed July 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

      This post was removed for violating the comments policy. Streets.mn does not allow racist or homophobic language or name calling.

  2. Andrew Evans July 27, 2018 at 3:21 pm #

    Some of those “old white people” have bought into some pretty nice neighborhoods and/or have been there forever and are now seeing their neighborhoods change. Dismissing their views as verging on racist isn’t doing any good and may push them farther away.

    Being liberal has nothing to do with supporting everything and anything on the progressive docket. It’s amazing the call to get in line, vs taking the time to hear them out or, gasp, take their concerns seriously. Regardless of the price, homes carry memories, and people generally don’t like their memories destroyed or their neighborhoods full of their memories changed in drastic ways.

    Yes, there are empty lots for private sale in North, one by me is asking $30k. This is up from $15k a few years ago, and they haven’t called me back about my offer of $8k at around that time. I think they are overpriced since it doesn’t seem like many (at least around me) are selling, and at least as of last year the county was auctioning them off at what I thought was under $10k. To build my house it would be around $225k, with new construction selling around $200ish. Lot price or not, we’re still about $40-50k away from new construction on empty lots, and a little more if it’s a private lot.

    I grew up in the country, so I don’t understand raising a family without a backyard. However, my partner and I aren’t planning on a family so we don’t need to worry about it.

    I’ve said it before, this won’t have much if any impact on North. However, I do feel the city needs to build up, and this is a way to do that. Keeping in mind I’m more of a classic Liberal verging on Libertarian, so I can’t comment on what some Progressive “old white people” think. Also that, I did consider myself more a progressive, then got tired of being called white, and then finally a few months ago joined the NRA. So be careful about calling people names, they may just walk away and do something different.

    • Alex Schieferdecker
      Alex Schieferdecker July 27, 2018 at 3:38 pm #

      I’m a bit confused, Andrew.

      You identify yourself as a classical liberal, perhaps libertarian on some issues. Yet your post seems hostile towards the Minneapolis 2040 plan, whose central feature is a significant liberalization of existing land-use laws and a blow against rent seeking in the housing market. Seems to me as if this plan would be something that your political philosophies would lead you to strongly support?

      • Andrew Evans July 27, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

        It’s a Friday, I have a headache, so I apologize if my comment above wasn’t as good as it could have been.

        No, I’m actually for the plan although with the caveat that it’s not really going to have much impact on myself in North. So, although I have different political views than the traditional Progressive or Liberal the author was speaking about, I support the plan.

        My biggest concern was the author calling folks “older white people” and more or less demanding that they step line. Thus my comments about my own political trek, and that others may follow suit.

        I’m more of a libertarian on foreign policy, I’m pretty fine with taxes and services, just as long as they are audited and results measured, so that money is going into the right things and having an impact.

        • Alex Schieferdecker
          Alex Schieferdecker July 30, 2018 at 9:25 am #

          Gotcha.

      • Carol Becker August 5, 2018 at 9:04 am #

        Actually the plan is neo-conservative de-regulation wrapped in a progressive flag. Truthout has done some good reporting on where the YIMBY movement comes from and the fact that it is being funded primarily by tech companies and developers (not the software kind…).

        https://truthout.org/articles/yimbys-the-alt-right-darlings-of-the-real-estate-industry/

        And the Atlantic also did a good article on where the YIMBY movement is coming from and how it is neo-conservative deregulation married with progressive concerns.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/yimby-groups-pro-development/532437/

        .

    • Harrison July 27, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

      It’s true, some people just don’t want to live in the shadow of a big apartment building (Thinking of the 2040 blocks targeted for more than 4plex).

      But that isn’t as satisfying an objective to condem than underlying racism as the reason.

      • Ed Kohler July 27, 2018 at 5:31 pm #

        A typical person with an anti-Minneapolis 2040 yard sign doesn’t live in areas that would be rezoned for developments larger than 4-plexes. In fact, some of the Minneapolis 2040 opponents support that particular part of the upzoning plan since it’s a NIMBY situation for them.

        • Trent July 30, 2018 at 4:52 am #

          So are you saying that you are validatIng the anti corridor upzoning concerns of residents who live in those areas because the would be subjected to so much change and upzoning? But the people who are facing 4plexes are whiners? Cause that’s kind of the way i feel about the plan.

          Also FWIW i see a lot of anti plan signs on corridor 4 blocks but i haven’t tried to inventory them vs interior 1 blocks to see the proportion- but there are many more interior 1 blocks than interior 3 or corridor so that’s more people to voice concern.

        • Carol Becker August 5, 2018 at 9:05 am #

          Actually knowing a number of folks involved in opposing this plan, I would dispute this.

        • Walter Pitt August 6, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

          Yes it certainly does. I have seen these signs on corridors slated to go 4 to 6. For example 34th Ave and Upton Ave South.

    • Matt Eckholm
      Matt Eckholm July 27, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

      I have a hard time believing your views actually changed, you just decided to start going by a different label. Which is fine too, parties move and shift and leave people behind (a lot of fiscal conservatives are going by ‘independent’ or ‘centrist’ these days…), but it sounds much more silly to say “Someone called me a name so I changed my political beliefs” and I’d advise maybe not doing that?

  3. Marshall July 30, 2018 at 10:00 am #

    I have read enough comments from white and male and old (or at least old-ish) contributors both here and on other sites that are (*gasp*) supportive of of the 2040 Comp Plan for me to believe that continued use of the over-generalization that white or old residents are not supportive of plan is both inaccurate and very large distraction from the discussion.

    I am one of that same category: white, male, and at least older than I have ever been before. I support the 2040 Plan, and I don’t deserve a medal or a pat on the back for doing so. I would like to see additional arguments in public forums being made that are persuasive about why the plan is good rather than arguments being made about why opponents of the plan are _______(fill in the blank pejorative). This site generally does a great job highlighting the former, but I think that some over enthusiastic contributors are far too quick to assign very bad intentions to the opponents of the plan.

  4. eric July 31, 2018 at 10:42 am #

    Our political arguments are no longer about winning on the merits, they are about discrediting our opponents as arguing in bad faith.

    Which is a shame, because MPLS 2040 is a good plan and its merits deserve to be highlighted.

    • eric July 31, 2018 at 10:50 am #

      Has anyone thought about writing a “here is what I think the actual final comp plan will look like” article?

      It seems clear that the city’s leadership wants more people to be able to live in the city. Sadly my entire life has taught me that civic leadership is rarely brave so I expect them to give us some watered down version of what we are seeing now. Any thoughts on what it will be? Is there a model city out there, a ” minneapolis 10-15 years ago” that we can use as a case study? Denver? Seattle? Somewhere else that isn’t obvious to a rube like me?

      • Bill Lindeke
        Bill Lindeke July 31, 2018 at 11:12 am #

        Your guess is as good as mine. Comp Plans are only as good as their implementation, anyway, so even if they make a lot of promises, that’s only half the battle.

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller July 31, 2018 at 11:39 am #

        Some (somewhat cynical) guesses:

        – Fourplexes everywhere will not be in the plan. My question is whether the “compromise” will be duplexes everywhere, triplexes everywhere, or reinstating some “single family home” areas, likely in SW and west of Hennepin. I’m probably okay with limiting it to triplexes as I’m not sure there really would be all that many quads in these areas (there aren’t that many now). The latter is bad if it winds up exempting the richest and whitest parts of the city from accepting more neighbors.

        – Several of the “corridors” will get scaled back from 6 to 4 or even lower as they get farther from downtown. I’m thinking specifically of Chicago Ave south of say 38th and maybe Bloomington, as that’s my part of the city, but probably elsewhere too. This is probably fine as I don’t think that land use that intense is really in the medium term cards for these areas.

        – There will be expanded commercial uses allowed east of Hiawatha on 38th Street (CM Johnson has mentioned wanting this). This is good.

        – There will be further detail on allowed height and FAR. Maybe stronger language about Corridor 4 meaning 4 unless there’s a really good reason to allow more. Maybe bonus FAR for multiple units on Interior lots (i.e., attempting to scale back McMansions but allowing bigger structures for more units). This is neutral to good in my book (as I’d much rather have a new structure have multiple units than just be huge).

        – There we will affordable/subsidized housing additions (not sure what) and maybe inclusionary zoning. This is probably good depending on the details.

        – Will they try to do something on requiring parking? I hope not, but I could see some pressure in that direction.

        Hey, that turned out way less cynical than I expected.

  5. Lynnell Mickelsen August 2, 2018 at 10:03 am #

    I’m an old (age 61) White person who lives in Linden HIlls and I agree with everything Ed Kohler wrote. I put up my Neighbors for More Neighbors sign three days ago and I’m happily surprised it hasn’t been stolen yet. But it’s also clear many of my neighbors aren’t pleased about it.

    Yesterday an older white woman, who has lived near me for years, saw me reading on my front porch and started shouting (from the sidewalk) about the Neighbors for More Neighbors sign. We know each other by name. We always say hi to each other when we pass. I got up from the porch and walked to the sidewalk so we didn’t have to shout across the lawn.

    Neighbor: So you want all these beautiful, historic homes to be torn down so developers can make a lot of money?

    Me: No, I want the option of all kinds of housing in my neighborhood. Look, the house right across the street from us used to be a triplex. Now it’s a million dollar, 5,000 square foot house for one family.

    Neighbor: If you’re so excited about more neighbors, why don’t you start renting rooms in your own house to people?

    Me: Because I don’t choose to do that, although when my husband and I downsize we would love to move into a duplex or triplex in this neighborhood.

    Neighbor: So who designed that sign?

    Me: It’s from Neighbors for More Neighbors but I don’t know who designed it?

    Neighbor: YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHO DESIGNED THE SIGN IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN HOUSE?!?!?

    Me: No.

    Neighbor: Your sign show small houses next to huge apartments, This is exactly what this 2040 plan is trying to do. Do you want huge apartment buildings on this street?

    Me: But that’s not what’s in the plan. The plan says the four-plexes have to stay within the height and area restrictions that apply to single-family homes.

    Neighbor: LOOK AT YOUR SIGN. THE APARTMENT COMPLEXES ARE RIGHT THERE ON YOUR SIGN!!!!!

    At some point in the discussion, I opined that I thought the opposition to this plan is about fear of renters and the fear of renters is ultimately about the fear of more Black and Brown people living in this neighborhood.

    Well, that calmed things down. Just kidding.

    My neighbor was offended. She and her husband own rental property and she said they are happy to rent to Black people. But Black people just don’t want to live in Linden Hills. She didn’t know why. She said she was baffled by it.

    ME: Well, historically, there have been many barriers—

    Neighbor: Those don’t exist any more, but Blacks still don’t want to live here.

    So that’s where we left it.

    Thanks, Ed Kohler, for summarizing what I’m hearing in my neighborhood.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 2, 2018 at 11:29 am #

      Wow. Thank you. And I’m sorry.

      • Lynnell Mickelsen August 2, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

        Hey, before I started supporting higher density, more transit, more bikes I also supported changing Minneapolis Public Schools so they actually work for Black kids and other families of color, which, alas, still hasn’t happened. So this encounter seems…well, pretty par for the course.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that institutional racism and White supremacy are the swift, hidden currents under many of our discussions—it’s certainly true in education and I think it’s true about the 2040 plan. And the White fragility shit…man, it’s ever-present.

        As a White progressive, I am still learning that my supposed personal goodness does not make me exempt or immune from all the unconscious or unexamined fears and cluelessness that come with being White woman in Minneapolis–especially in Linden Hills!!

        I still regularly find out that my assumptions are wrong or my knowledge is limited, etc. One of the great things about getting older is at this point, I’ve been flat-assed wrong about so many things so many times that being wrong doesn’t freak me out quite as much as it used to. Key word here is “quite.”

        So although I inwardly rolled my eyes about my neighbor……I have also been that neighbor!!!

        I am grateful to Bill Lindeke and all the great people on Streets.mn for raising awareness and fighting for so many helluva good causes.

    • Marshall August 3, 2018 at 9:27 am #

      I actually don’t see that interaction as being an example of white fragility, but rather an example of an incorrect impression of what the 2040 Comp Plan attempts to accomplish. Obviously I was not there to monitor your conversation, but your neighbor appears to believe that following approval of the Comp plan the following things will happen quite quickly:

      1) old homes will be confiscated and bulldozed by a combination of the gubmint and developers
      2) very tall apartment buildings will be put in their place

      I don’t think that either belief would come to fruition based upon what the Comp Plan allows, and what the property market would support.

      • Lynnell Mickelsen August 3, 2018 at 9:58 am #

        Marshall, I agree with you—those were the principal concerns she was talking about.

        I still think fear of renters and fear of Black people is the undercurrent that explains much of the the hysteria in my neighborhood about the 2040 plan. But I may be projecting my experience on education issues—where the fear of Black kids is unspoken and huge— onto this issue.

        I’ve also seen that change of any kind makes a whole lot of people anxious. And we live in a very anxious culture.

    • David August 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

      So this is interesting. If you live for example on 42nd and Linden Hills Blvd and you are supporting and promoting the plan as fourplexes are coming, you are not acknowledging what the plan proposes.

      The west side of Linden Hills Blvd would be Interior 3 (3 story apartment buildings, multi parcels allowed) and one block over Sheridan is Corridor 4 – 4 stories and up, multi-parcel allowed.

      So assuming this discussion took place on Linden Hills Blvd, your neighbor actually sounds more in touch with the plan details for your local area than you do.

  6. Lynnell Mickelsen August 5, 2018 at 9:20 am #

    David, we already have lots of three-level houses on Linden Hills Blvd, including a few duplexes, tri-plexes and several apartment buildings…….. all built or converted before WWII, I believe.

    The big change we’ve seen it the last 10-15 years is that some of these duplexes and tri-plexes have been converted to 5,000+ square feet single-family homes. The people who move into these big homes are usually lovely. But it does make for lower density, fewer neighbors and really high housing prices.

    As far as bull-dozing goes in Linden Hills….we have seen it. And invariably what has been built are really, really big single-family homes —a few of which now “Developers win” and “Don’t bulldoze our neighborhood” signs up.

    So for me, the question is….if people are going to bulldoze and build, what do I want built in my area? And I’d love to see a better mix of single-family, duplex, tri-ple, four-plexes and apartments.

    One block over on Sheridan……that’s a transit corridor and already has apartments on it. So the plan doesn’t bother me there either.

    Minneapolis used to have a lot more people in it. I’d like to see us grow and grow smartly with affordable options in all neighborhoods.

    • David August 5, 2018 at 11:29 am #

      If you had told your neighbor that yes in fact apartment buildings were part of the plan, and you were not worried about it for the reasons above, that would be fine. but you told her that the plan was just about 4 plexes, and that huge apartment buildings were not in the plan. Quote from your comment above:

      “Neighbor: Your sign show small houses next to huge apartments, This is exactly what this 2040 plan is trying to do. Do you want huge apartment buildings on this street?

      Me: But that’s not what’s in the plan. The plan says the four-plexes have to stay within the height and area restrictions that apply to single-family homes.”

      In fact that Interior 3 street can have large 3 story apartment buildings, which span multiple lots. For people on that side of the street the build up on Sheridan behind them with no hard limit on building height (Corridor 4 doesn’t have an absolute height) can be of great concern. As has been cited a lot since March there are many people who do not want tall apartment buildings right behind or next to them in these residential areas.

      Look if you are a fan of the initial 2040 draft on these topics that’s fine but at least engage your neighbors with the facts as they exist today – the impact on many residential neighborhood goes well beyond 4 plexes so if someone is concerned about that don’t mislead them (intentionally or unintentionally) into believing that 4plexes is the biggest change afoot when they are actually living on an Interior 3 street and adjacent to a targeted Corridor street. .

      • Lynnell Mickelsen August 5, 2018 at 11:43 am #

        At this point, with house prices running between $850,000 to a million plus on my street, for me to worry about the chances of a developer being able to buy multiple adjacent lots (assuming they would even be up for sale at roughly the same time) and THEN to put up large apartment complexes in order to make money is so remote that it kind of beggars the imagination.

        RE: Corridor 4: Someone with more knowledge than me is going to have to help me with the distinction between “hard limit” and “absolute limit” on heights.

        • Mike August 5, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

          Telling your neighbor something isn’t part of the plan is different then you knowing it’s included but feeling its unlikely.

  7. Carol Becker August 5, 2018 at 10:17 am #

    Some responses to this piece:

    I would dispute your statement about who is opposing the plan, as someone who knows the people opposing the plan. I would also note that many of your characterizations about us are intended to diminish us as a group, calling us old, white, afraid, not liberal, etc. etc. etc. Not real people with real, legitimate concerns. Real people just like you.

    I would note that the plan 1) replaces housing for families with children with housing that largely cannot be used for families with children, which means the impacts skew to older people and 2) it proposes a transportation system that is largely not usable by anyone older or who has children. 3) making huge swaths of the City now open to development, home prices are going up, driven by speculators (My sister is getting several letters a week now). All of these things are legitimate concerns that skew towards older people. I would also note that the YIMBY folks have been pushing their agenda using social media, which also skews younger. Organizing against the plan has used more traditional campaign techniques, which work better for folks not posting to places like this or pushing political agendas on Facebook.

    I would dispute your statement that the fourplexes are the only concern of people opposing the plan. We have many folks with many concerns.

    I agree with you that we should limit teardowns of existing affordable housing.

    As to liberals not walking the walk, I am completely baffled by liberals when we say put housing next to transit and in existing walkable environments, they say “No, no – scatter it through dozens of square miles of single family homes instead because that will make it more likely that people will use transit and walk to businesses!” As much as you feel our arguments are disingenuous, I feel this one is disingenuous.

    As to families, I would note that fully 40% of the City today is parents with children under the age of 18. 40% If the goal is to drive them out by eliminating housing with three plus bedrooms, then just state it up front. That you want fewer kids in this City. You want a city just for the young, physically able and childless. Replace more single family homes with four studios or one bedroom apartments so you have fewer kids. (but actually added no more housing because we replaced housing for four people on average with housing for four people…) More people who don’t have to drive home to get their kid to soccer practice but have all day long to shlep their cat litter on their cargo bikes. Less than 10% of the multi-family housing being built in Minneapolis is 3+ units and it not affordable to the median family with children, who earn 10% less than families without children, on average. When you bulldoze single family homes, you take away housing for families with children.

    When you note that opposition skews towards older people, this could be part of why. Parents are not stupid.

    As to developing affordable housing without subsidies, it isn’t happening now so why would it happen under this new zoning? There are plenty of lots that are already zoned that a developer could do what you propose. But they aren’t – because construction costs are too high. That doesn’t change under this new plan.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 6, 2018 at 10:25 am #

      That your sister is getting letters now is pretty strong evidence that the city is already “open to development.” The question is what type of development. The kind that is limited to giant, expensive homes or one that allows for other types of housing too.

      I did enjoy the characterization of “parents” as “older people” though.

  8. tscallon August 5, 2018 at 10:47 am #

    I became councilmember of the Phillips neighborhood after the conversion of many homes to duplexes. The neighborhood had many substandard converted duplexes owned by terrible landlords. Many other homes were substandard due to being built with cisterns instead of real foundations.

    I saw the consequences of turning many small homes into duplexes. Yes the neighborhood and I fought these landlords. We supported infill housing including affordable and ownership housing.

    Instead of converting our homes to duplexes, Longfellow through the NRP did a bungalow study that emphasized attracting younger homeowners with smaller families. Longfellow has been successful. This up zoning threatens all the progress made in Longfellow. Homeownership communities should be allowed in our city.

    Longfellow has many more rental units along the transit corridors. Hundreds of affordable housing is being built on vacant land. We are willing to accept new neighbors. We are an integrated neighborhood open to all.

    Yes, I am in my seventies. I made a commitment to stay in the city instead of buying a single family home in the suburbs. The articles are ageist. Why is my opinion not as important as someone under 40?

    We can find a solution if the other side is willing.

  9. Walt Pitt August 6, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

    Don’t forget the Planning Commission, they are the ones who approve Conditional Use Permits, which used to be used to actually approve “use” but now are routinely used to approve height, and they approve zero distance setbacks from property lines, and 5 or 6 units in R-4’s newly upzoned from single family lots- already happening now before the 2040 Comp Plan.

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