Letters to the editor, May 31–June 13

Calhoun Towers development

Many West Calhoun neighbors have strong reservations regarding Bader Development’s proposal to expand its Calhoun Towers property by adding two 24-story towers, two 6-story buildings and multiple townhouses. This would add 1,400 or more residents, a 60 percent population increase for West Calhoun.

Minneapolis has always been recognized for its appealing livability, but these over-scaled development projects would permanently reverse that status. Projects like the Calhoun Towers set a dangerous precedent for high-rise development around the lakes, changing the character of our neighborhoods forever.

Our pro-density mayor, City Council and developers like Bader assume is that we are a carless community or that we will become one in the near future. We are not there yet. The traffic studies presented for the Bader project make large assumptions about light rail presence and usage. They also significantly underestimate forecasted traffic levels during and after development.

Adding hundreds of new residents and light rail users would amplify this problem, not lessen it.

Lastly, the future of Southwest Light Rail Transit remains uncertain as lawsuits continue and the price tag soars.

On an environmental level, there are significant issues at stake. Existing soil and potential groundwater contamination on the Calhoun Towers site could adversely affect residents and the lake’s ecosystem once construction begins.

There is an increasing sense of urgency for our cause as the Calhoun Towers expansion project moves forward. It represents more to come. If the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan update is approved, there will be a massive disruption to Bde Maka Ska and all of our neighborhoods (minneapolis2040.com/policies/development-near-metro-stations).

If you are concerned for the future of our city lakes, please contact your City Council member, the City Planning Commission and the mayor, right away. We can preserve our lakes and the community’s unique qualities while embracing change with a more thoughtful, balanced approach.

If our residents don’t take action, the lakes area will become unrecognizable. We’ll be asking ourselves: Is this Moscow or Minneapolis?

 

Victoria Hoshal and Martha Yunker

West Calhoun

 

Rising rents
Landlords need to make up their minds. Are they raising rents simply because they can — because it’s “supply and demand” — or because they are hurting financially from higher property taxes?

Why even bother to cry financial hardship as an excuse to raise rents when landlords and our elected officials tell us rents are skyrocketing because of supply and demand?

Landlords currently have the freedom to band together and raise rents as much as they want, so why even bother with the higher taxes excuse? They have supply and demand, and it is the gold standard for gouging renters.

Rents have gone up so fast in such a short period of time, how on earth could landlords be hurting? Renters are the ones hurting.

Rents do not go up because of higher property taxes. Rents go up because landlords and their profit margins take a hit. This is an important point. Higher taxes hurt their profit margins. They don’t need to raise the rent. Why do landlords get to decide how much profit they make?

The higher property tax excuse is not even grounded in reality. How could all landlords in the metro area need to raise their rents to the ever-increasing “market value” amounts because of higher taxes when they all have different expenses?

Some buildings have mortgages and some do not. In some buildings renters pay the heating bills. All landlords have much different profit margins, so how could all of them be hurting under higher taxes, and how could all need to raise rents?

Do they think renters are so stupid they wouldn’t see how nonsensical landlords’ rental increases are?

 

Frank Erickson

Standish

 

City trees

Eric Best wrote a wonderful piece, “Planting a new canopy,” in the May 17–30 Southwest Journal. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has an ambitious plan to plant 8,000 new trees by this June.

We have all learned lessons from planting a single species only to see a disease wipe out our elm and now ash trees. Trees act as the lungs of our planet by giving us oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

The Park Board is doing its best to replace our lost trees, but unfortunately budget issues do not allow for frequent enough watering of these newly planted trees. A stroll along our lakes and parks shows that many young trees are dying, in no small part due to lack of water.

Here is where citizens can step up and feel good about adopting a tree and seeing that it gets watered at least weekly. It makes for a great individual or family learning experience.

If more incentive is needed, there is a super nonprofit that will send you a coupon for a free beer or coffee if you adopt a tree and water it. Go to brewingabetterforest.com and find a tree near you, and they will send you an email when the tree is thirsty.

Also, this topic makes for great conversation with neighbors and at your local block party. Let’s give our Park Board a hand.

 

Mike Menzel

Edina

 

Property valuations

The city generates more revenue with the increase in property valuations (“For what it’s worth,” May 17–30), and then they talk of a levy increase of 5.5 percent. That actually is a double increase.

With the increased taxes via increased valuations, maybe the city should bite the bullet on the other one and have a zero percent increase. They should make the tough decision about how they spend taxpayer money.
Tom Keith
Linden Hills

 

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  • Nathan Bakken

    We have a housing shortage, not building these towers is not an option. high Density housing already exists around Bde Maka Ska, and honestly the Met Council will get their way with SWLRT, it will get built. So Mass transit will be an option for those living there.

  • Sans Comedy

    It really cheapens the word ‘livability’ to tie it in with concerns of “Where will I park?” and “Look at all these renters in my neighborhood.” Kind of makes it a dogwhistle and not a word to describe how nice a place is.

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