Urban Fold

Minneapolis Neighborhoods Wrestle With Mansionization

Several neighborhoods in the southwestern corner of the city are hoping that the city will clamp down on monster homes, but builders and Realtors aren't going down without a fight.

"The Minneapolis City Council is scheduled to vote on city-wide restrictions, proposed by area Council Member Betsy Hodges, which are designed to throttle back the size of such housing. The changes were approved unanimously by the council's committee on zoning.

"It's a very electric issue in both neighborhoods. There isn't any middle ground on it," said John Finlayson. He heads Fulton's neighborhood group, sits on the city board that considers zoning variances and is a housing appraiser.

Although parts of Linden Hills near Lakes Harriet and Calhoun sprouted larger houses more than a century ago, much of the two neighborhoods filled in with more modest houses -- either during in the 1920s boom or after World War II, when housing demand exploded."

"Finlayson...admits that some older homes aren't much to look at, but said that some builders are snapping them up, then pumping their replacements as big as they can to maximize profit.

That means houses that shade the yards of their neighbors. In one case, Finlayson said, a new Beard Avenue house is built so close to its neighbor that he doubts there's enough clearance between them to put up a ladder for maintenance."

Full Story: Minding those manors

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