Planning Commission delays Wedge rezoning decision

The Minneapolis Planning Commission has delayed a possible vote to rezone the Lowry Hill East (Wedge) neighborhood until Monday, July 12, leaving a fight between city planners and neighborhood representatives unresolved for now.

The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) formed a rezoning task force to work with the city on the neighborhood zoning study. However, taskforce members felt the city’s proposed rezoning map didn’t offer enough protection for older single-family homes at risk for redevelopment, so each group created their own map.

The Planning Commission, which held a public hearing in the neighborhood June 14, was to vote on the rezoning maps but delayed the vote until July to mull over the two map options.

The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council, which is expected to vote on the matter July 23, if action is taken July 12.

The taskforce’s goal was to preserve the large single-family homes remaining in the neighborhood, but the city focused on creating more uniform zoning within the neighborhood’s interior and exterior, while accounting for future development.

Task force members said they were frustrated and confused that the Commission didn’t make a decision. City Councilmember Dan Niziolek (11th Ward) tried to calm residents, saying he’d work with the city and the neighborhood before the Commission’s July 12 meeting.

"The task force proposal is closer to the end product than the city proposal," he told LHENA board members at their June meeting, but he added that the taskforce map needs more work.

City Senior Planner Beth Elliot said the city’s map reflects zoning principles outlined in the Minneapolis Plan, which guides city land-use planning.

The Planning Commission’s July 12 meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. in City Hall chambers, 350 S. 5th St., Room 317.