ACTION Alert: New Minneapolis regulations need your input again

Neighbors for More Neighbors originally organized in support of Minneapolis 2040 because we believe in building enough homes for everyone in our City. Part of the promise of Minneapolis 2040 is again at risk – and we need you to act, again!

A few weeks ago, we asked you to take action on Minneapolis’ updated zoning rules, to help improve alignment to Minneapolis 2040.  These regulations govern things like building height, floor area ratio, lot sizes and setbacks from property lines. Here is the original built form regulations draft.

Reasons to celebrate: Responding to your emails and testimony, the Planning Commission amended the ordinances to include “stepped” or “tiered” floor-area-ratio in interior zones 1, 2 and 3, by right. Meaning: the zoning code will make it easier to add less expensive homes for families than the original draft would have. AND they reduced the minimum lot size requirement to 5,000 sq. ft., so there will be fewer lots deemed “substandard,” and they will be easier to add homes to. If you emailed the planning commission, testified at the meeting, or commented on the draft, you helped make this happen! Thank you! 

Reasons to activate – ASAP: The Planning Commission was step one. The regulations are now being considered by the Business, Inspections, Housing and Zoning (BIHZ) Committee of the City Council  – send an email to the BIHZ committee members + your City Council member, by Tuesday, December 8. 

Read on for more info!

Talking Points

  • We need to extend the affordability premium to ALL Interior zones, promoting affordability housing across the entire city, not just where we already have the most affordable housing.
  • Encouraging affordability in only some parts of the city is a form of exclusionary zoning.
  • I support the “stepped” or “tiered” floor-area-ratio passed by the Planning Commission. The FAR regulations from the old draft would have encouraged McMansions.
  • “Stepped” or “tiered” FAR will allow a slightly bigger building if it provides more homes, making it easier to build multi-unit housing and triplexes in these zones. This will encourage builders to create less expensive homes AND more homes.
  • We need to reduce minimum lot size requirements to 4,000 square feet. 14,000 lots in Minneapolis are so small you would NOT be allowed to add housing to them under the current draft rules, without confusion and navigating an onerous process. This prevents building more homes on lots that used to have homes. 
  • Small, “non-conforming” lots are concentrated in neighborhoods that were historically lower-income and redlined. Setting the minimum lot size so large benefits the wealthiest neighborhoods that have few or no smaller lots, and maintains exclusionary zoning practices.
  • [Mention to your council member that you live in their ward]

The Business, Inspections, Housing and Zoning City Council Committee:

Kevin Reich (Northeast, Ward 1) (612) 673-220
Cam Gordon (Ward 2, Author of Policy change) (612) 673-2202
Jeremiah Ellison (North, west of downtown, Ward 5) 612-673-2205
Jamal Osman (South of Downtown, Ward 6) 612-673-2206
Lisa Goodman (West-Mid, Ward 7) 612-673-2207
Jeremy Schroeder (South,Ward 11) 612-673-2211

Find your city council member here (note: they may be on the BIHZ Committee!)

Kevin Reich (Northeast, Ward 1) (612) 673-220
Cam Gordon (Ward 2, Author of Policy change) (612) 673-2202
Steve Fletcher (Downtown, Ward 3) 612-673-2203
Phillipe Cunningham (North, Ward 4) (612) 673-2204
Jeremiah Ellison (North, west of downtown, Ward 5) 612-673-2205
Jamal Osman (South of Downtown, Ward 6) 612-673-2206
Lisa Goodman (West-Mid, Ward 7) 612-673-2207
Andrea Jenkins (Along 35W, Ward 8) 612-673-2208
Alondra Cano (Central, Ward 9) 612-673-2209
Lisa Bender (Lakes Area,Ward 10) 612-673-2210
Jeremy Schroeder (South,Ward 11) 612-673-2211
Andrew Johnson (Minnehaha Falls area,Ward 12) 612-673-2212
Linea Palmisano (Southwest, Ward 13) 612-673-2213

Full List of N4MN Recommendations on revised, draft regulations

  • We support the FAR regulations as amended by the Planning Commission.
  • We support FAR flexibility for incremental infill in all Interior zones.
  • We support the Planning Commission’s amendment to eliminate the large lot provision, but we think the base minimum lot size should be reduced at least to 4,000 sq. ft. And we support continued analysis by staff to remove other provisions that could trigger variances and, as needed, related policy adjustments to the Built Form Regulations, to ensure that minimum lot size does not serve as an undue barrier for developers who want to build on small lots.
  • We support the extension of affordability incentives into Interior Districts 1-3.