Activist Groups Pursue Relaxing 2040 Regulations Under Guise of Affordable Housing

Updated: Jan 23

The City Planning Department is putting Zoning Code together to guide development based on the passed 2040 Plan. Certain groups like and Neighbors for More Neighbors are encouraging the City to increase density and eliminate development restrictions that are currently in place under 2040. 

They are targeting Interior 1, 2 and 3 residential neighborhoods. They are asking the City to increase building heights, reduce setbacks, eliminate minimum lot sizes and increase buildable area on a lot. They are unhappy that only three new triplexes were built in 2020 so they want to relax all the rules particularly in Interior 1, 2, and 3 as they feel those are the “whitest and wealthiest” neighborhoods in the city and the most exclusionary neighborhoods for affordable housing.  You can view the talking points they are taking to the public hearing on Monday here:

They want to remove any rules that add complexity or make the approval process hard to navigate. This is not to create more affordable housing, but to make it easier and more profitable for developers.  They don’t want any hearings for variances and conditional use permits either. They want to change zoning to add more units and buildings on city lots.  They are citing almost 14,000 lots so small in Minneapolis you would not be able to build on them under current draft regulations. Even though they are characterizing this array of “smaller” lots as a justification to eliminate minimum lot sizes, these can be built on if a variance is pursued. They want regulations removed in Interior 1, 2 and 3 even though citizens were told with 2040 “the expectation is that two and three family homes in low-density areas must meet the same height, setback, and massing requirements as single-family homes”(email from Jeremy Schroeder, CM for Ward 11, March 2019).

Do not let them go back on these promises.  We have to act now. 

Here are your options to speak up:

1) EMAIL: Please contact the Minneapolis Planning commission by email before their public hearing on Monday, November 9 – try to get your email in by noon.

Send your email to Planning Commission staff and 2040 contacts:

please copy your Council Member(and ask to have your comments in the public record)


Testify at the Planning Commission on Monday November 9 at 4:30pm (in two days!) Sign up hereChoose “Built Form Policies” on the agenda topics.  We need your voice to hold Planning Commissioners and Council Members accountable for their promises.

If you need an example of a letter, please refer to this:

Dear Planning Commissioners and Council Members - 

Please make these comments a part of the PUBLIC RECORD.

During the debate on 2040, there were many confirmations and promises related to Built Form for Interior 1-2-3.

Just like in the email confirmation from a Council Member, we were assured "the expectation that two- and three-family homes in low-density areas must meet the same height, setback, and massing requirements as single-family homes."

I remind you of this now, as it seems certain special interest groups are claiming "Minneapolis 2040 did not go far enough" and have gone so far as to suggest our tax dollars go to fund a named consultant (Opticos) to "evaluate our existing neighborhoods" and "restart the research of Interior neighborhoods." This can be found in a post on October 2nd by Janne Flisrand.

There should be NO CONSIDERATION of further movement in these areas:

1 - Approval of ADUs to be built on lots where the principal residence is non-owner-occupied. NO!  This only turns over more of our NOAH properties to investors instead of local owners, making it impossible for first time homebuyers to have a shot. Investors will clamor to turn one small house or duplex into 3-4 unit property and regular residents won't be able to compete.  It also stuffs more people and impervious surface on a lot and eats up greenspace.

2 - Elimination of off-street parking minimums and re-evaluation of parking maximums. NO! This is a gift to developers with the livability of our neighborhoods at risk.  The ONLY place this should be a possibility is transit corridors.

3 - Shoreland Overlay Districts - These must be respected, I have seen way too many variances handed out as if there is no protection for the fragile ecosystems adjacent to our precious lakes and waterways.  I want to see much stronger language propping this up, and a requirement for a public hearing each and every time there is any request to violate the SOD.

4 - Adding "premiums" to Interior neighborhoods. NO!  Our neighborhoods are the jewels of our city and letting developers get premiums to make their projects more profitable, at the cost of less greenspace, more height, shadowing, more impervious surfaces, more lot coverage, more urban heat island effects is unnecessary.  Premiums on transit corridors is appropriate, and that provides adequate density without destroying interior neighborhoods.

5 - Current Interior 1-2-3 building envelope must be maintained as promised:

    - Floor Area Ratio

    - Setbacks

    - Lot Coverage

    - Building Height

Thank you,  (your signature)

Thank you for your help.

Your team from

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