On This Day: April 10, 1990

Hennepin-Lake, History — By on April 10, 2014 6:00 am

On this day in 1990, the Star Tribune wrote that the Minneapolis City Council was being criticized as becoming more “anti-development.” the City’ development agency’s director, James Helzer, had been removed and the Community Development Committee’s chair, Council Member Tony Scallion, was quoted as saying “this council doesn’t really want to do development.”

So what made that Council so “anti-development”? The article cited critics as saying:

– Expected new height restrictions in Uptown, which would limit heights to no more than 6 stories.

– Removal of density bonuses for building amenities, such as swimming pools.

– Potential for a design review system that would give the city increased oversight on how buildings look.

– Mayor Don Fraser encouraging Heltzer to resign to allow the City’s development arm to focus less on Downtown development and more on revitalizing neighborhoods.

As you can imagine, others saw it differently, such as City Council President Sharon Sayles Belton, who said the City needed to be cautious because subsidy tools like tax-increment financing were under fire by Minnesota Legislature and that plenty of development was in the pipeline. She went on to talk about the importance of looking at the city beyond just “skylines and pavement” and look at its people.

And what is a good development spat without hyperbole.

Council Member Walter Dziedzic called opponents of an Uptown development project in 1989 “spoiled brats.” Developer Paul Klodt said of the Minneapolis City Council that “they’re very antidevelopment – the whole group” after the City voted to remove density bonuses for building amenities.

New Uptown development guidelines that passed a committee in early April 1990 would discourage commercial development in favor of residential development, limit new liquor licenses and fast-food restaurants, and “force developers to provide more parking space for their projects.” This was to keep the Uptown area “unique” in part because of severe congestion and there was concern about losing area residents.


Thatcher Imboden

How cities work and change, how they are the product of their inhabitants and outside forces, and the resulting livability keep me thinking and dreaming about the future. I work in transit oriented development and have a background in urban real estate development. I am Past President of an Uptown business organization, grew up in Uptown, was on an Uptown neighborhood association Board, and am an Uptown and Lyn-Lake historian.

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