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Skepticism, Economics, and Regulations Choking Development in Minneapolis

Stringent zoning, high costs, and a culture of skepticism directed at developers have hampered efforts to introduce infill redevelopment into some of Minneapolis' most prime locations.
September 8, 2012, 9am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Marlys Harris, of the MinnPost, outlines the reasons why development in Minneapolis is occurring at less than a snail's pace. Developers are simply finding development in the city too expensive, requiring extensive variances and time. "'Stop' may be Minneapolis' secret mantra," says Harris, who asks developers, planners, and land use experts for their opinions on the causes for the quagmire.

Unmitigated resistance from residents and public officials against anything new seems to be one such reason. "The attitude toward anything new seems to be negative at the outset," reports Harris. "Unless the developer is trying to put an abattoir in a residential neighborhood, maybe we should take a breath before taking a stand...The question should not be: How do we stop this, but how can we make it work for all of us?"

Perhaps stemming from this culture of skepticism is the city's strict zoning codes. "We should make the zoning code more flexible and expressive of what the city really wants built in that area," says Harris. "And, if no one wants to put up the specified development, well then, maybe the zoning is infeasible and needs to be changed."

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Published on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 in MinnPost
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