September BLUH Meeting Update

Curious what we covered at the September Building, Land Use & Housing (BLUH) meeting?  Here's the scoop! 


Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board Presentation on Parks for All

Emma Pachuta, Senior Planner with MPRB, presented information on Parks for All, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Comprehensive Plan.  This initiative will be taking place through 2020 to set the priorities and policy direction for the next decade of Minneapolis Parks. This planning process will involve community, MPRB staff and commissioners in shaping the future direction of Minneapolis’ park and recreation system. Check out the Parks for All Story Map to learn more.

Questions were asked about MPRB financial accountability, the lack of maintenance in current parks, and how Parks for All relates to the MPRB Master Plans.  Emma noted that planning & maintenance issues can be sent to Adam Arvidson at MPRB and that maintenance of current facilities could be a theme of the Parks for All, so please note it if/when you take the survey.  The park master plans will not be affected by Parks for All, which is a broad vision for parks and doesn’t address the level of detailed planning that master plans include.

View Emma’s presentation on Parks for All here.

Take the MPRB Parks for All survey here.


Preliminary Design Concepts for U.S. Bank Stadium Plaza Security

Aki Shibata, of Forecast Public Art, talked with the group about the U.S. Bank Stadium Plaza (area surrounding the stadium, not including the park). Forecast Public Art has been hired to develop a creative perimeter plan for U.S. Bank Stadium to bring the plazas surrounding the building up to current security standards.  Aki asked the group how they currently use the plaza and their wishes and dreams for using the plaza in the future.  This input from this meeting and other meetings with community stakeholders will be used to develop a request for proposal (RFP) for the perimeter design that will go out in 2020. 

Comments included:
- events at stadium affect neighborhood negatively
- plaza used as a route to LRT
- Aesthetics of stadium are nice
- Dislike 7 arches sculpture
- Plaza could be activated more, outside of games and events
- Art work seems incomplete
- Security barricades affect people navigating the area (to get to parking garage, LRT, etc.)
- Would like to see: more green & trees; no more cement, non-permanent wall, access to protected bike lane; no chain link fences; fencing that is more aesthetically pleasing; contained tail-gating; east side of building softened up (is currently so cold and the main view from LRT), thoughtful event staging

The group asked if Forecast Public Art can bring back a draft RFP to BLUH.  Aki said she was unsure but would pass that information to MSFA & Vikings for consideration and agreed that more communication is better.


Conditional Use Permit – 1600 Park

Dale Howey, owner of Green Rock Apartments is working with Apadana Solar Technologies to install a free-standing solar array (AKA carport), over the south portion of the parking lot at 1600 Park Ave, in addition to solar on the apartment buildings roof. This will allow for the apartment building, next to the parking lot, to have all of its electrical power generated though solar.  Dale is requesting support from EPNI on the following:

1) Variance from Alley (Rule: 7 feet from Alley. Request: 1 foot)

The structure will be 5.7 feet from the ally, which does still allow all the needed room for the garbage and recycling dumpsters.  Normally, the city requires just being 1 foot away from the alley, but because it’s a larger structure, the rule is 7 feet.

2) Variance from Neighbor, just west of building (Rule: 7 feet from property line. Request: 1 foot)

We plan to have the top of the structure be 1 foot from the west property line. This is needed in order to maintain the current available parking spaces for the lot.  The support beams will be placed directly on the south end of the parking lot where the pavement ends.  If we were to move the support beams father away from that property line, the beams would be in the pavement and cause parking/ space issues.  Normally, the city requires just being 1 foot away from the neighbor’s property line, but because it’s a larger structure, the rule is 7 feet.

3) Conditional use (Rule: 16 feet max height, 296 sq foot max size, and in just back 40 feet of lot. Request: 17 feet high, 1,500 sq ft, and will be in back 57 feet)

The group had questions about the location of the carport, its proximity to the building and property lines, and if the neighbors had been informed.  After discussion, the group requested Dale return to BLUH with a site plan showing how the proposed carport relates to both the existing building, the property lines, and nearby buildings.

A public hearing for this project is scheduled for:
Monday, October 7, 2019
4:30 PM
Planning Commission
Location: Room 317, City Hall

Elliot Park Community Vision

Vanessa shared an update on the Elliot Park Community Vision project.  The group added a few ideas to the work so far:

- Assets: Add bikeable and important institutional assets (i.e. NCU, HCMC, etc.)

- Litter: Consider adopt-a-block program

- “Affordable Housing” = define what we mean by this

- Unkept/blighted properties – what can we do as a community to encourage owners to take care of their property?

- An inventory of housing would be helpful to better understand what we have (affordable, market, high end)

- Narrative of “growing pains” makes sense as we move from a community needing reinvestment to a community that is rapidly growing

View the community vision presentation here.  If you would like to get involved in the Community Vision Task Force, contact Vanessa at the EPNI office.  The group will continue to bring updates back to BLUH.



Elliot Park Skatepark & Lighting: Vanessa shared that these projects have been delayed to 2020.

11th Avenue Pedestrian Improvements:  Vanessa shared that the 11th Avenue pedestrian refuge island was not what EPNI had envisioned.  Apparently, the City cannot move forward with a more permanent solution at this time.  Vanessa encouraged everyone to use the pedestrian crossing and share feedback/experience at the next meeting.  Two other problem crossings were noted: 15th & Chicago as well as Elliot & 14th.

Old Town In Town: A resident of OTIT noted that the cooperative is at risk due to the lack of a property manager and asked for recommendations on finding a manager.  Vanessa offered to meet at a different time to think through possible contacts.



Questions?  Contact the EPNI office.  

Hope to see you at the next BLUH meeting, October 24, 6 pm @ Elliot Park Rec Center (note date change due to MEA).