On March 22, a comprehensive plan to overhaul policy in Minneapolis was released for public comment and review. Although Minneapolis 2040 is still being drafted, it will attempt to curb policy within the city for years to come, and will affect every policy from transportation reform and parks and open space to public health and methods for battling the rising housing costs. With such a large impending plan making its way to final vote and approval at the end of the year, there are many policies that need to be reviewed and possibly reworked.
The city's zoning code proposed in the plan is garnering a large amount of attention. Under the new plan, all Minneapolis residential neighborhoods would be upgraded from only allowing single-family home construction. While a large proportion of residential neighborhoods in Minneapolis are zoned under “single-family district” or “two-family district,” the new zoning update would allow the construction of four-unit apartment complexes to be built in every residentially zoned neighborhood. This would hopefully allow for higher density property to mitigate the effects of a growing population on the housing market and allow more residents access to affordable, high-quality housing in their own community. Critics of the movement are skeptical that this historic policy change will garner the intended results without altering the goal or feel of residential communities.
We believe that the zoning policy could be beneficial for the city and advantageous for the residential neighborhoods in close proximity to the University of Minnesota. Currently, a large proportion of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood is zoned a “two-family district,” only allowing construction of two-family units or less. Allowing four-unit complexes to be built would mean more diverse options, hopefully at lower costs, for students looking to live off campus. This could mean the creation of housing options that are not single houses or large apartment complexes, but a choice in between the two. This could be the change that many students, desperate to find an affordable space, need. Additionally, the proposed zoning change would not have builders arrive overnight and change the neighborhood landscape. Zoning updates happen gradually, and allowing four-unit complexes would just ensure that is an option when a vacant lot appears.
Although Minneapolis 2040 is starting to take shape, it is far from final. The comprehensive plan is being crowd sourced by government officials, who are asking for resident feedback from all communities, until July 22. This four month feedback period will hopefully help shape the plan to be inclusive and understanding of all residents' thoughts and concerns.
Please take this time to offer feedback and directly affect policy that will shape our community. Without residents being actively engaged in this process, Minneapolis 2040 cannot become an all-encompassing reform for a growing, prosperous city. We applaud officials' efforts to garner feedback and allow the community to become involved in local government; however, this opportunity needs to be utilized.
To find out more, visit: https://minneapolis2040.com/