Minneapolis 2040 - The Southwest Edition

Disclaimer: This is not a political post nor is it an opinion piece.  This is simply a gathering of information, a jumping off point for further research and discussion.   As of Friday, December 7th, the Minneapolis City Council voted in favor of the proposed Minneapolis 2040 - a Comprehensive Plan focused on achieving 14 goals for the city of Minneapolis.  A Comprehensive Plan is submitted to the Metropolitan Council routinely every 10 years as a vehicle for steering the growth of our city.  This year's plan garnered national attention when it called for one of the biggest upzoning initiatives in US history.

In alignment with the 14 goals stated in the 2040 plan is a drastic change in residential zoning - with significant effects taking place South of 38th Street where the majority of zoning is currently single-family.   Under the plan, single-family zoning will be eliminated altogether in Minneapolis.  What your property will be rezoned for is primarily dependent on your proximity to downtown and public transportation.  In order to see what your property has been zoned for, you can visit the Land Use & Built Form Map here.  Below is a closer look at the three main types of zoning we will see in South Minneapolis:


'Interior 1' - (lightest color on the map)

Single-family homes on a residential street (non transit route) like the block of 55th & Irving or 48th & Thomas: according to the Land Use & Built Form map - Individual lots are permitted to have up to three dwelling units. Combining of lots is generally not permitted.  Building heights should be 1 to 2.5 stories.


In other words, all single-family homes under the plan have been upzoned to house multifamily dwellings up to 3 units.  This could be a single-family home converted to a duplex with an auxiliary unit over the detached garage.  Or it could mean a single-family home whose space has been reallocated to house 2 or 3 units within.  It could also be an entirely new structure intended to accommodate 2 or 3 unit dwellings.  Amongst these multifamily units will be single-family homes just as they are today.

It's important to note that there are current guidelines under the state building code that dictate specifications of a structure on any given lot.  These guidelines address provisions such as how far a structure must be set back from the property lines, the percent of the lot that can be occupied by a structure and how tall these structures can be built among other things.  Under the proposed Comprehensive Plan, these provisions remain unchanged.  The intent is to get creative with the usage of space.

'Interior 2'

Single-family homes in a 'transitional' area between a transit route and a lower density neighborhood, for example, a home on the West side of Washburn Avenue near 58th Street that backs up to homes on Xerxes Avenue: according to the Land Use & Built Form map - New and remodeled buildings...should be small-scale residential. Individual lots are permitted to have up to three dwelling units.  Multifamily buildings with more than three units are permitted on larger lots. Limited combining of lots is permitted. Building heights should be 1 to 2.5 stories. 


Note that the 1 to 2.5 story height restriction is the same as the building code allows for in single-family zoning today.  Certain areas of Bryant Avenue, North of 50th Street have a facade representative of this corridor.

'Corridor 4' - (areas in orange)

Single-family homes on a transit route such as areas of 50th Street, Penn & Xerxes Avenues among others: according to the Land Use & Built Form map - New and remodeled buildings...should reflect a variety of building types on both small and moderate-sized lots, including on combined lots. Building heights should be 1 to 4 stories.  Requests to exceed 4 stories will be evaluated on the basis of whether or not a taller building is a reasonable means for further achieving Comprehensive Plan goals.


The largest buildings that the Minneapolis 2040 plan allows for South of 38th Street are those within close proximity to Metro stations - for example, certain areas of 46th Street near 35W.  On these parcels, 2-6 story buildings can be developed with consideration towards taller structures if it's in line with achieving the goals outlined in the Comprehensive Plan.


What next?

With the approval of the City Council, the plan will now move on to the Metropolitan Council for review, which could take up to 4 months.  If the Met Council signs off on the plan, it will go back to the City Council for final approval.  In short, it will be into the first quarter of 2019 before any policy changes would go into effect.  In addition, further rezoning studies are scheduled to take place that could stretch out over the course of years.  While the policy would be updated to reflect the change in zoning, it's likely the evolution would take place incrementally as studies and further research are conducted.

In short, the landscape of Southwest Minneapolis, along with other parts of our city, will evolve with the passing of the Minneapolis 2040 plan.  I would encourage you to visit the Minneapolis 2040 site and explore the Land Use & Built Form map to see how these changes will play out in your own neighborhood.

In addition, the City Pages released a great article this week summarizing where things are at.  It's a light read that's very informative.  You can check it out here.

If you have any specific questions you'd like answered please feel free to reach out to me at sarah@foxhomes.com.  If I can't answer them myself, I'm happy to help you find someone who can.

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