West Calhoun proposal has stoked debate over density
A request to grant a small, century-old West Calhoun neighborhood a never-before-used type of historic protection has cleared its first hurdle, though a majority of members of the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) have indicated doubts about the proposal.
The HPC has initiated a process that could result in a 3-plus-acre West Calhoun neighborhood becoming a conservation district. Designation of the neighborhood, which is immediately west of Bde Maka Ska, would include the creation of “design guidelines” that would regulate future development. Those guidelines could include restrictions on building height in a neighborhood slated for developments of 2–10 stories under the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
Preservation commissioners on Sept. 17 voted 5–3 to start a process studying whether the neighborhood merits the conservation district designation and creating guidelines for the district. But some commissioners who voted to start the process expressed skepticism over whether the neighborhood ultimately deserves the designation.
While some commissioners said they think the proposal is a good chance to test the 5-year-old conservation district ordinance, others said they worry conservation districts will be used as a tool to limit the housing density prescribed by the 2040 plan.
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