Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Parks, Minneapolis Public Schools, Density, Zoning, etc.
twincitizen
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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby twincitizen » January 28th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Interesting staff memo going to Planning Commission, regarding when Comp Plan amendments would be required for buildings that exceed the Built Form guidance: https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/download ... 20memo.pdf

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby John21 » September 1st, 2020, 5:15 pm


alexschief
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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby alexschief » September 1st, 2020, 5:35 pm

Just gonna quote Nick at length (emphasis mine):
I will readily admit that much of the controversy in that public discussion stems from some apparent contradictions. On one hand, the Minneapolis 2040 plan would be the most progressive and far-reaching land use plan in America in the modern era. Which sounds dramatic! But the thing is—and we haven’t done a great job of communicating this—these changes will necessarily be very incremental.

That’s it: we want to allow triplexes. There’s no mandate, no City-funded initiative. No one is banning single family houses. Those triplexes would have to be within the building envelope of what’s currently allowed, so where you can currently build a 3,000 square foot single family house, you could build three 1,000 square foot units.

It’s just an option. An option to age in place by subdividing your big, old empty house. Or an option to create more affordable housing units in parts of the city that currently have a $100,000 down-payment toll booth set up at their entrances. Or an option to keep your big, old empty house the same as it’s been for 80 years.

I think it’s extremely useful to reflect on our current zoning. Right now, in Minneapolis, there are thousands of single family houses zoned for something more than single family houses. Check out the map! In neighborhoods across the city, most of the area between 38th Street and Lowry Avenue, in Whittier and Marcy-Holmes and Longfellow, there are houses zoned R2 and higher. Today, there are single family houses on commercial streets like Hennepin Avenue that are zoned for multi-family buildings. There are single family houses inside the downtown freeway loop in Loring Park and Elliot Park.

And our experience has been that not too many of those houses get torn down to build a duplex, or triplex, or apartment building. It happens, but the vast majority of housing units that have been added in the past ten years have been added on vacant lots, surface parking, single story commercial buildings, and the like. The handful of houses that have been demolished for multi-family residential pales in comparison to the number of houses that have been torn down for larger, more expensive single family houses.
A bit of a bummer, but no surprise at all to see the low number of triplexes, especially with the pandemic and economic crash coming so soon after triplexes were actually legalized in January. The lack of FAR bonuses for duplexes and triplexes is a problem that came baked in with the politics of passing the plan. The good news is that city staff is proposing some FAR bonuses in the Interior 3 zone. That's the minimum in the area between Hiawatha, Hennepin, Lake, and I-94. Marcy Holmes and St. Anthony south of Broadway are also Interior 3. Hopefully in future iterations, the comp plan can be amended to expand the Interior 3 zone.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby alexschief » September 4th, 2020, 9:26 am

Public comment is now open for the Minneapolis 2040 Built Form Regulations that will be enacted later this year. You can review them and give comments here: https://minneapolis2040.com/implementat ... egulations

I think there are two changes that I'd make to the section on density bonuses. (If you agree, be sure to submit a comment to CPED)

1. In Transit 30 and Core 50 districts, there is currently a premium for skyways. I would eliminate that premium. Whether you think skyways are good or bad, it is a fact that developers are often compelled to build them by their tenants. There is no reason to believe that the city needs to provide an incentive for their construction. Providing this premium makes it less likely that a developer will use a different premium. I hope CPED strikes the premium for skyways entirely.

2. A FAR premium is currently offered for enclosed parking. I would like to see a FAR premium added for buildings with no parking or limited parking. For instance, a premium could be granted for buildings between 20-50 units with no parking, and buildings with 50+ units that have a parking ratio below 0.25. I know the city is working on changes to the TDM policy that bear on this, but I think this might be a relevant spot for changes to reduce VMT as well.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Silophant » September 18th, 2020, 9:22 am

Those are good ideas. To replace the skyway premium, I'd like to see a premium for connecting to district energy systems instead - they're significantly more efficient than individual systems, easier to decarbonize, and I think there will need to be a regulatory push to get the downtown system extended into the new Root District (and to get the proposed Prospect Park system off the ground). Probably wouldn't be enough to get new systems created in the other Transit 30 areas like West Lake and Old St Anthony, but it couldn't hurt either.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Bob Stinson's Ghost » September 18th, 2020, 9:28 pm

I've often wondered about the economics of building parking space in an apartment building. Is the ROIC greater on a square foot of leasable apartment or a square foot of parking? When developers vigorously pat themselves on the back for building less parking are they really just congratulating themselves for building a more profitable project? Do they really need a premium to encourage this?

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby alexschief » November 10th, 2020, 12:35 pm

Last night, the Minneapolis Planning Commission met in a unique special meeting to consider implementation of the 2040 Plan's recommendations for built form. To be clear: this is different than land use, which will be addressed next year.

Before the meeting pretty wide-ranging coalition of groups sent the Planning Commission a letter advocating for detailed changes to the built form recommendations. The coalition includes not just Neighbors for More Neighbors, but also developers and builders like Aeon and Habitat, renters and homeless advocates like IX Unidos and Align Minneapolis, environmental advocates like the Sierra Club, and a handful of other groups in between. The general thrust of the recommendations is that the proposed rules for the Interior 1, 2, and 3, districts, especially the first two, are too restrictive, and will essentially foreclose the construction of duplexes and triplexes that are now allowed in the zoning. It is not enough to legalize these types of buildings if other regulations make them infeasible to build.

The Planning Commission didn't address all of these criticisms, but the proposed regulations did take a big step forward. The base FAR for the Interior districts was revised upward, especially for triplexes. The built form premium (you can build larger if you meet certain conditions) was doubled for projects that include housing available at 30% AMI. A handful of premiums that didn't make sense (skyways), or are best addressed elsewhere in the code (enclosed parking) were eliminated. The minimum lot size was reduced slightly, and a rule that keeps lot sizes large in wealthy areas was removed.

There are still some missing pieces. A proposed premium for family-sized housing near schools was rejected. A doubling of the bonus for grocery stores was also rejected. The minimum lot sizes are still larger than I think they should be. Finally, the affordability bonus was not extended for Interior 1 and 2 districts. Next up, the City Council will take up the issue, first in committee, then at the full council. I suspect that several of these issues will receive more attention (for instance, I think the affordability bonus will be extended to I1 and I2 there). I would like to see base FAR in the interior districts further increased by a bit, especially for duplexes. I'd like to see the minimum lot size decreased further. We'll see.

But the main takeaway is that the proposed rules have gotten better, and there's a strong coalition of organizations who will continue to advocate for them to continue to improve.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Austinite » November 10th, 2020, 3:06 pm

General question - do we know if the city is loosening up on minimum lot size requirements for developments? There was an article in Streets on this issue that prevents in-fill in neighborhoods where certain lots can't be developed because of this...doesn't make sense since obviously there used to be some type of structure on these open, undeveloped lots in the past - i.e. in North Mpls.

Also - this may be something that has previously been brought up, so sorry if repetitive, but a major issue with the new guidelines requiring multistory buildings in areas that were one story, etc. - it basically prevents individuals/smaller developers from coming in and gears developments towards the big developers - again - loss of community ownership, uniqueness....

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby MNdible » November 11th, 2020, 12:07 pm


alexschief
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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby alexschief » March 5th, 2021, 7:22 am

Minneapolis' changes to parking, loading, and TDM rules for new developments are now on the runway preparing for takeoff. They appear before the CoW next week. The packet is here.

The changes include:
  • Elimination of parking minimums citywide.

    Expansion of parking maximums in a tiered system (the highest being two spaces per unit).

    Increase bicycle parking requirements (to one space per unit citywide).

    Require electric vehicle parking spaces (10% of spaces, more analysis needed on the costs of this).

    Revision of the TDM process to de-emphasize a traffic study and focus on meeting the city's transportation goals.
I think the elimination of parking minimums will be the headline here, but in fact, few developments actually have difficulty going below them today. It will, at least, mean that developers might feel more comfortable going as low as they can without worrying about an additional administrative burden. The parking maximums will restrict a small fraction of developments, almost nobody builds that much parking today. The bicycle parking requirements will be easy to meet, as this is already being met on the aggregate. Although I don't think the availability of bike parking drives use in the same way that the availability of car parking drives use, it's still good to require this.

The electric vehicle parking spaces requirement will also probably be easy to meet once developers and architects get used to it. While I'm a bit concerned about the cost, it does seem like something that is worth requiring. The transition to EVs require car makers and infrastructure providers to take the same leap at once, and the availability of EV parking in their building will certainly make it far more feasible for people to consider buying an EV, whereas before, the lack of such parking might have discouraged it entirely.

All of that said, I suspect the most impactful change in the entire proposal might be the changes to travel demand management. One of the changes (I think I'm reading this correctly) waives the need for a traffic study entirely for projects below 250 units. Developments of certain sizes would need to meet a points threshold, and would receive points for benefits like providing low (or no) parking, improving the pedestrian realm, or subsidizing transit fares. I really think that there is a big mental component to our existing auto-orientated land use, where parking and traffic gain outsized importance because cities are constantly demanding that data be collected about them and their impacts be mitigated, often in contradictory ways (like providing more parking but also reducing traffic). Simply removing these considerations entirely and getting developers into the headspace of "how can this project help meet these transportation goals of reducing car use and increasing walking, rolling, biking, and transit?" could make a significant difference in the long-term.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Silophant » March 5th, 2021, 8:12 am

Good analysis. I think the EV-readiness requirement is a good way to go at this point - in the scheme of structured parking costs, running a circuit to each spot isn't that much additional cost (especially compared to retrofitting it after the fact), and they can hold off on buying the actual chargers until there's demand for them. Additionally, Xcel is working on getting a multiunit dwelling EV program through the PUC approval process, and will be an extremely willing partner in setting up that kind of thing once it's complete.

The TDM changes are really the centerpiece of all this. You're correct that the intent is that a full engineering traffic study would only be required for the largest of projects now. The other piece is that smaller projects are going to have a six-point threshold, and "zero parking" and "subsidize transit passes" are both worth six points, so the incentive is definitely there to just do one of those and not worry about anything further.

Another thing to note is that, while most development in the city recently has been multiunit residential, these changes do apply to all types of development. The staffer leading the effort mentioned that they're really optimistic about the reduced loading requirements and eliminated parking requirements making it easier to open grocery stores and small businesses in areas where it's currently challenging to do so.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby alexschief » March 5th, 2021, 8:55 am

Another thing to note is that, while most development in the city recently has been multiunit residential, these changes do apply to all types of development. The staffer leading the effort mentioned that they're really optimistic about the reduced loading requirements and eliminated parking requirements making it easier to open grocery stores and small businesses in areas where it's currently challenging to do so.
Something that has the feel of forbidden knowledge is the art of the sidewalk cellar access. This is extremely common in older cities on the East Coast, and much less prevalent elsewhere. But it's basically the secret sauce to how groceries, restaurants, and all kinds of other businesses are able to operate in areas without alleys, side setbacks, or dedicated loading ordinances.

Where I live in Philadelphia, there is a local, cash-only market called Fu Wah around the block, and it sells all kinds of fantastic specialty food brands (e.g. Kewpie mayonaise, Wickles pickles) that you can't find anywhere else. It would be extremely difficult to operate this kind of minimart business at this location without direct access to their cellar through the sidewalk.

It would be interesting to see a city like Minneapolis reclaim this type of design and see if it could be allowed/encouraged in more areas.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Trademark » March 5th, 2021, 12:29 pm

I wish they would do something like use some of the money a developer would have spent on the study for transportation impacts to go towards transit, bicycling or pedestrian improvements in the area.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby VacantLuxuries » March 5th, 2021, 1:10 pm

St. Louis Park already has the EV charging stations requirement and developers are having no problems complying with it.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Trademark » March 5th, 2021, 1:26 pm

St. Louis Park already has the EV charging stations requirement and developers are having no problems complying with it.
What type of EVs are they requiring? I don't know much about the topic but jus watched a good video about EV adaptation and one of the things they mentioned was that the chargers aren't universal?

https://youtu.be/pLcqJ2DclEg

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby Silophant » March 5th, 2021, 2:00 pm

That is primarily an issue for Level 3 DC fast chargers, which have a few different, incompatible plug configurations and electrical standards. Those also require gobs of power, though, so you wouldn't expect to see them in building garages.

For Level 2 (240V AC) charging, every EV sold in North America is compatible with the SAE J1772 plug (through an adapter for Teslas and certain imports) so it's not an issue.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby bubzki2 » March 5th, 2021, 2:20 pm

Zero need for DC fast charging in residential. DCFC is basically for highway trips and occasional use for those who don't have slower L1/L2 charging. IMO just getting circuits put in (not that expensive) and allowing for 110/220 plugs really won't add much cost at all. As usage bumps, the cost can be bundled with parking fees or metered through smart EVSEs. Not ideal but even a bunch of standard 110 outlets in a parking area is massive and covers most people's weekly commute needs when you factor in weekend/off day charging.

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Re: Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Postby VacantLuxuries » March 6th, 2021, 11:38 am


What type of EVs are they requiring? I don't know much about the topic but jus watched a good video about EV adaptation and one of the things they mentioned was that the chargers aren't universal?

https://youtu.be/pLcqJ2DclEg
The most being required is Lv2 infrastructure. There was discussion when the ordinance was being drafted about Lv3 but considering the massive cost (hundreds for a Lv2 charger versus thousands for a Lv3) the language only requires a given percentage of parking to be Lv2 EV spaces and conduit to be laid in preparation for more Lv2 chargers in the future.

IMO the conduit requirement is the most crucial part, as nobody is going to rip up their parking structures to put it in for residents in the future.


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