The administration has been busy pushing it’s agenda onto the city council just waiting for their rubberstamp approval;
The new zoning districts, referred to as “midtown mixed use,” are specifically aimed at increasing population density and walkability in fitting parts of the city. An ordinance that would introduce them into the city’s zoning options passed to a second reading unanimously Tuesday.
They range from three-to four-story buildings that could fit near single-family homes to seven- to 10-story buildings that could only be built along some of the city’s busiest streets, or perhaps a whole city block.
Councilor Rich Merkouris said increases in this type of zoning could hopefully be accompanied with improvements to the city’s transit system, and Councilor Greg Neitzert said bicycles should be taken into account while sidewalks and roads around the buildings are developed.
With most proposed city ordinances, the devil is in the details.
I support building density and finally cleaning up corridors like Minnesota Avenue, but I’m starting to get the feeling this will be more like the old Westerns with the fake main street facades. We can clean up the curb appeal of Minnesota Avenue all we want but it is what is behind the street that concerns me more.
When cleaning up neighborhoods it starts with the lowest rung on the latter, that means a total overhaul of our core neighborhoods FIRST then we can concentrate on the window dressing.
And Rich and Greg are correct, there are many other issues we must solve first in our core before dreaming about moving next door to George Jefferson in the high rise with an awesome view of the Pita Pit roof.
Of course Wealthy Welfare Developer Queens have their prince on the council;
And Councilor Alex Jensen said there would need to be incentives to make the zoning appealing, saying it was easy to go buy land on the outskirts of the city for a one-story project, if the location made sense. Convincing that hypothetical landowner to get into the core of the city could take some extra work.
Which means tax rebates and TIFs. Ironically there is a natural incentive to those who actually play the FREE market system fairly, instead of waiting for government handouts, you get to build 5 to 10x the square footage on the same plot of land in the core as opposed to a cornfield next to Brandon.
Besides transit and walkability I also have other concerns about transitioning these buildings from well established core neighborhoods. So does councilor Soehl;
“If Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been living in their house for 40 years and now we’re gonna put a seven-story building in the same city block, explain to me how you’re gonna alleviate the city council from making that hard decision,” Soehl said. “Because it’s gonna end up with us. The complaints, the packed room, it’s gonna end up here to make those hard decisions.”
Once again councilor Soehl is choosing to take the safe and easy road and wanting to throw out the entire proposal based on the fact he may have to make a decision. This kind of zoning WILL require a case by case basis review and approval. DUH! What works well at 18th and Minnesota may not work at 33rd and Minnesota, I think the public and developers get that.
Building density is always a good idea, this is NOT complicated.