May 23, 2023
Dear City Council members,
Through the implementation of the 2040 comprehensive plan CPED has done terrific work in making the zoning code more accessible and usable. These updates are vital to enabling the creation of complete, walkable neighborhoods which is an important part of the 2040 comprehensive plan (2040 plan goal #9).
In particular, we would like to express appreciation and support for the grocery store amendment which will expand the allowance of grocery stores to more areas and increase allowed square footage to 20k square feet. 20k square feet is the size of a typical Kowalskis and we know that one of the most important social determinants of health is access to fresh, healthy foods (2040 Plan goals: 1, 4, 5, 9). These full service grocery stores are more commercially viable and are so important to the health of communities that we believe it important to not require residential use on these lots. Grocery deserts represent a visible and active reminder of historic segregation and disinvestment policies that still impact low income and communities of color today.
Additionally, we would like to express support for the two legislative directives that were passed at BHIZ. They each cover an important land use issue and not waiting for a new comprehensive plan to address them is vital to creating conditions for a vibrant, healthy Minneapolis.
Neighbors for More Neighbors would like to express specific support for the legislative directive to research allowing small-scale commercial uses on corners in Urban Neighborhoods. This will allow for the creation of many home based businesses and reduce the need to travel long distances for everyday needs (2040 Plan goals: 2, 4, 9). We support the Planning Commission’s amendment to allow small scale commercial uses in our Urban Neighborhoods and we urge you to support the legislative directive researching a comprehensive plan amendment on this issue. Allowing small-scale commercial uses in Urban Neighborhoods was overwhelmingly popular in public comments.
There are areas of the city that are deserts of commercial activity and current restrictions make it difficult for residents to achieve economic mobility through development of their own home based businesses, north Minneapolis being a prime example. Many light commercial uses have minimal impacts on neighborhoods but provide significant enhancements to quality of life.
Additionally, given the changing nature of work and expansion of hybrid or remote work all residential districts are essentially office districts. Having amenities like small scale restaurants, coffee shops, and other service providers across the city has become essential.
We appreciate your careful attention to these issues and we are glad to engage in additional discussion as you prepare to take this important vote.
Neighbors for More Neighbors