Statement Regarding the Onset of Hostilities with “Strong Towns”

Wedge LIVE! has reluctantly embarked on what is sure to become a long and bitter feud with the Strong Towns website.

While at a Planning Commission meeting yesterday, I tweeted about the idea of incrementalism — comparing a 100-year-old 4-story building to a 6-story proposal across the street — and made a reference to Strong Towns as a prominent proponent of that idea. This was directed at the consternation among commissioners over whether a 6-story building was appropriate. Later that evening, Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn found a way to take umbrage.

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3 apartment buildings planned for Girard Ave in Uptown

At a Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association meeting last night, residents learned about plans for a pair of apartment buildings on a two-block stretch of Girard Avenue in the Wedge, just north of the Uptown Transit Center. Developers Yellow Tree and Perkins Levin have partnered on proposals for a 76-unit, six-story building at 2824-2832 Girard; and a 119-unit, 6-story building at 2701-2715 Girard. They hope to receive approval from the city this year and begin construction next year.

The same developers have plans for a third building — four stories and 76 units — on the 3200 block of Girard. That proposal will be presented to the South Uptown neighborhood organization later this month.

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A Fair Housing Proposal in Minneapolis

Nationally 30% of adults have an arrest or criminal record. That can make it much harder to find housing. And to the degree there are racial disparities in our criminal justice system (as of 2012, black people were arrested by Minneapolis police at 6.5 times the rate of the non-black population), this results in disparities in who is eligible for housing.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued legal guidance that “where a policy or practice that restricts access to housing on the basis of criminal history has a disparate impact on individuals of a particular race, national origin, or other protected class” could violate the Fair Housing Act.

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“White Pastoralism” and the Fake Outrage That Never Ends

On July 11, 2018, a local man with a passion for pigeons would cross paths with a Minneapolis planning official at a Wedge neighborhood VFW hall. It was a packed and raucous public meeting hosted by City Council President Lisa Bender. The purpose: to gather feedback from her constituents on the city’s 2040 long range plan.

During a question and answer session about an hour into the meeting, one of Bender’s constituents named Zack Mohlis used a phrase that would live in infamy: “white pastoralism.” Those two words would forever and inexplicably link him with Minneapolis director of Long Range Planning, Heather Worthington.

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Steve Fletcher is as confused as I am about Neighborhoods 2020

Here’s how the debate about neighborhood association reform and funding in Minneapolis has unfolded so far:

  • City’s NCR department recommends some good ideas
  • Engagement is done almost exclusively to neighborhood association board members/staff
  • Neighborhood associations hate it with a passion
  • In response, the framework was watered down to eliminate good ideas
  • Council passes framework on a split vote

And it’s left me confused trying to figure out what the debate is even about anymore. Neighborhood associations still hate it, even though it’s so tepid I can’t imagine what it is they don’t like about it. In watching the council conversations, I have a hard time figuring out what we’re trying to achieve.

I do want to give thanks to Ward 3 Council Member Steve Fletcher for being as confused as I am. I found this three minute video very reassuring:

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More urgency needed on oversight of neighborhood orgs

The City Council’s PECE Committee held a public hearing last week to debate neighborhood organization oversight and funding.

About a week before the meeting, the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department revised their “Neighborhoods 2020” recommendations to remove all the the parts of the diversity action plan proposal that would actually require accountability from city-funded neighborhood organizations.

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Minneapolis considers ban on new drive-throughs

[This local news coverage made possible by readers like you.]

Next Thursday, the Minneapolis Planning Commission will discuss a proposed ordinance from Council President Lisa Bender that would prohibit new drive-through facilities throughout the city.

If adopted by the City Council, it would prevent the construction of new drive-throughs for banks, drugstores, and fast food restaurants (or any other “facility which accommodates automobiles and from which the occupants of the automobiles may make purchases or transact business”).

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