Terror in Ward 13: “I’m so upset I’m shaking”

Here’s last night’s live coverage of a Minneapolis 2040 session in the Linden Hills neighborhood, featuring Ward 13 Council Member Linea Palmisano. If you’re unfamiliar with this topic, read this post on what’s at stake and why I think the 2040 plan is worth supporting. It’s bittersweet, as this may have been my last #Mpls2040 adventure in swanky Southwest Minneapolis.

Palmisano expresses disappointment that involvement of council offices in the process for formulating the second draft of the plan was not what she thought it would be.

To emphasize magnitude of proposed changes, Palmisano pointing out on the map how most people here probably live in homes zoned only for single family.

Analysis: I’m almost certainly the youngest person here by many years. And I’m not that young anymore.

Palmisano promising to be very open about her position. Cites household growth projection from the Metropolitan Council of 20,000. Says they could accommodate that growth under the existing zoning in Ward 13, without any changes.

Palmisano calls out intersections where housing should go instead. 54th and Lyndale, 50th and Penn, 50th France. Notes a large parking lot that could accommodate affordable housing.

Palmisano describing the planning commission and it’s function. Says it includes Ward 11 Council Member Jeremy Schroeder (and his band of yahoos.) Schroeder is also Chair of the Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee.

She’s asking people here tonight to help inform her by giving one or two big changes they’d like to see. She repeatedly gives impression she’s a powerless bystander, saying things like: “I don’t know if I can get one or two big changes into this plan.”

First comment from a resident: No parking? People are not gonna give up their cars. I’m not gonna give up my car. People will park on the street.

Resident says she loves her community and her neighbors, then contrasts that with a fear of what renters might do to that community: “People in apartments don’t come to community events.”

I hope the TV news person writing her script in front of me picked up on the anti-renter stuff.

She continues: “This duplex it’s a dump. That’s the problem with rental property.” Then she throws in a complaint about how high her taxes are.

Palmisano, perhaps overwhelmed, says she doesn’t know if she can respond to all of that. She says we do need more types of housing in Ward 13. Senior housing. Smaller units. Homeownership is key to wealth building. Addresses concerns about community by saying she wants to “import those values without losing cohesive fabric of neighborhoods we love.”

Palmisano notes that people of all ages live here. (Analysis: not at this meeting.) Again, she hits on her idea that existing zoning is good enough to meet our goals.

Next comment from resident: “I’m not against development.” Guy said he’s spent his life doing development. There’s no other place in the country doing what’s proposed in this plan. Says it’s been done in Brazil though, which elicits some chuckles from the crowd. Concerned his comments to city haven’t been published.

Lots of claps for the guy’s concern about the alleged missing comments.

Resident continues, says legislature could make transit disappear. He says people behind the plan don’t use transit.

Series of thoughts from Palmisano:

  • Says she has not called the plan radical, though she has called it “the most aggressive rezoning plan in North America.” So yes, she has basically called it radical.
  • Doubles back to say “radical plans demand radical transparency.”
  • Vancouver has duplexes plus accessory units. That’s where she puts her “flag down.” That’s the extent of where she’s willing to go.
  • Car usage won’t change in the next 10 years and this is a 10 year plan.

Analysis: you may have heard that a UN panel of climate scientists is predicting an actual crisis as early as 2040 so it might be a good idea to start — right now — changing the land-use patterns that drive that crisis.

Guy: What will this cost the taxpayers to do this plan? (I’m not sure if he thinks the city is funding fourplexes. A city’s plan to legalize something is not necessarily a plan to fund it.)

Lady says she remembers when she was the young person on the block. The neighborhood is much older now. She paid very little for her home, and now it’s worth a lot more. Transit used to be better, but now “it sucks if you want to take transit from this neighborhood.”

  • She thinks we shouldn’t have a “plan to move in all these people.” Then talks about how much she loves the lakes.
  • “Let me tell you about Vancouver.” It’s all high-rises. They have public transportation. We don’t. Can’t drive down Abbott.
  • “This plan is for the *millenniums* and pushed by developers. Who else would want this?”

Oh no. Guy speaking up in support of density to encourage better public transit. Take cover, guy.

Comment: some Millennials moved in next door because they were tired of the density downtown.

Palmisano responds by saying others might choose to raise families in Uptown, but “I don’t choose to raise my family in Uptown.”

Guy says he actually has a bus that gets him downtown, but the bad part is he has to listen to the buses go by all the time.

Guy compares the 2040 plan to putting 75 people in a 50 person bus. The first 50 people are going to be made uncomfortable. Analysis: he’s saying the overwhelmingly single-family Ward 13 is full. No more people. Build the wall.

Guy says developers are behind it. Someone is making money.

Palmisano noting correctly that recent new apartment construction nearby lowered everyone else’s property taxes.

Someone said “bye bye, neighborhood… [hello] 10-story buildings.”

Palmisano says 10 story buildings on Ivy Lane (near future light rail) should be saved for the “2100 plan.” (Analysis: at previous meetings Palmisano made similar references to a hypothetical/futuristic 2080 plan, so this is a rhetorical upping of the ante.)

Palmisano says she loves the Strong Towns website, which is a regular talking point she uses at these meetings. Her point being that Ward 13 is like a small town upended my major land use changes. She says she’s big on “incrementalism.” (The Strong Towns website actually supports the fourplex plan.)

Analysis: I thought the 2040 plan was pretty incremental.

Lady chimes in with a slam on Council President Lisa Bender: “what Lisa says, Lisa’s gonna get.” (Analysis: Why won’t Lisa give them what they want by shoehorning all the new housing into Lisa’s Ward?)

Palmisano using the Lisa Goodman example of a politician who failed to stop Southwest Light Rail, but made changes along the way to make it better (I’m dubious about whether this is actually true, but it’s her analogy). That’s not what’s happening here, she says. “I have 1/13 the power.” (emphasizing she is a mere powerless bystander)

Palmisano advising Linden Hills residents on what they can do: “Reach out to someone you know who lives in a different part of our city.” (because she has no power)

Palmisano says that earlier this year, after a “back and forth” with Lisa Bender, she was unable to have a letter sent to every resident in the city, like the letter she sent to Ward 13. (Analysis: as far as I remember, Palmisano’s letter was pretty alarmist, provocative, and not very illuminating about the 2040 plan.)

Palmisano pointing out you can currently combine lots to build giant single family homes. Guy wants to push back on lot combinations.

A guy wants a “minority report” so that in 10 years people know there were a lot of people who were upset. (Analysis: I guess that’s like a concern time capsule.)

Becoming clear to your reporter that the people of Ward 13 feel very disempowered and not respected. It’s not everyday they don’t get their way.

Palmisano, talking about the various 2040 plan priorities of other council members, says she’s jealous of Kevin Reich’s industrial areas in Ward 1. Analysis: I wonder if she’s jealous of the historic pollution.

Palmisano on the process moving forward: December isn’t the end. Rezoning comes next year. “I think we will end up with 13 ward-specific small area plans.”

Lady responds: “yay”

Lots of claps. They like small area plans.

Crowd remains very stuck on the idea of a document or “minority report” that captures their concerns, which they believe have not been heard.

Lady talking about climate change. She says we’re going to lose carbon capture (from the large yards of single-family homes) by building these buildings with no setbacks (fact check: setbacks will still exist). She says people should oppose the 2040 plan “if for no other reason than to save the planet.”

Lady says plan disallows all car repair shops in the city of Minneapolis. (fact check: this is only in “certain land use areas,” such as places we would prefer to be pedestrian friendly.)

Palmisano: Minneapolis 2040 is “Too many cranks forward too quickly.”

As meeting comes to a close, guy tugs hard on his bootstraps and makes this plea for help: “We’re property owners. We bought into our little square on Earth. Nobody knows what I had to do to get here. Nobody knows what we had to do to get here in these nice neighborhoods.”

“None of these hearings are available for people who go to work in the morning. I’m so upset I’m shaking.”

Neighborhood guy reminds everyone to “submit your ballot” on the way out.

Here is Palmisano’s substantial list of Process Concerns.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city:

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