First public meeting set for Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan

Minneapolis planning staff will host a public meeting about the future of Lyn-Lake area land use this month, the first of several in the development of a small area plan for the node.

The Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan is intended to be a 20-year guide for development in the area. It will fill a hole between the Uptown Small Area Plan, which end at Bryant Avenue, and the Midtown Minneapolis Plan, which ends at Blaisdell Avenue.

“One reason we’re doing this plan is because we have detailed land-use policy for most of Lake Street, but we have a gap in it between where the Uptown plan ends and where our Midtown Minneapolis Plan starts,” said Amanda Arnold, a city planner who oversaw the creation of the Uptown Small Area Plan and is now heading up the Lyn-Lake plan’s development.

A steering committee set up to advise city planners and communicate with the public has met twice since April to discuss the plan’s goals and boundaries. Committee members include representatives from the Lowry Hill East, CARAG, Whittier and Lyndale neighborhoods, the Lyn-Lake Business Association and Midtown Greenway Coalition, and several City Council-appointed individuals.

City Council Members Ralph Remington (10th Ward) and Robert Lilligren (6th Ward) are also involved in the plan’s oversight.

Lilligren said the plan would complete the community-based visioning process along a stretch of Lake Street that is ripe for redevelopment. Small area plans are “tremendously important” in such active community corridors, he said.

“In these areas that are rapidly redeveloping it is necessary for the community to put plans in place,” Lilligren said. “Otherwise, anything can happen.”

He said small area plans are designed to inform the city’s comprehensive plan, working in community input about details specific to a particular area. Lilligren said small area plans need to stay geographically focused, but he’d like top see the Lyn-Lake plan extend north on Lyndale as far as possible because of immediate infill development opportunities there.

“I just think the opportunity is right now,” he said.

David Motzenbecker, president of the Minneapolis Planning Commission and a member of the steering committee for the Lyn-Lake plan, said planners and community members should be careful about over-extending small area plans.

“Sometimes there’s a tendency in small area plans for the community to try and expand them too much,” he said. “And when we just started doing boundaries for the Lyn-Lake one it started to stretch pretty far, and when you start getting to that point you’re losing focus on the actual node and the things you’re trying to affect.”

Arnold said there’s room for some boundary tweaking but for the most part, they’re set. There is a boundary for a primary focus area and another for an influence area.

The boundaries of the focus area are just past 26th Street to the north, Bryant Avenue to the west, 31st Street to the south and Blaisdell Avenue to the east. The influence area extends past Franklin Avenue to the north, to Dupont Avenue on the west, past 34th Street to the south and again to Blaisdell on the east.

Arnold said there’s a reason for the lengthy northern border:

“When you get further up Lyndale it does stop being what people consider Lyn-Lake, but it’s a major connection between Lyn-Lake and Downtown and the surrounding area.”

At the first public meeting this month, planners will go over the boundaries, provide community members with an overview of the process, talk about existing land-use conditions and discuss visions for the future of the Lyn-Lake area.

The Lyn-Lake planning process has attracted less attention than its Uptown counterpart, which started at a time when controversial new developments were being introduced in the area. Arnold said the lack of such proposals in Lyn-Lake combined with planning experience gained during the Uptown process should make the new plan less contentious.

A plan should be drafted by year’s end, Arnold said, and the city plans to do the bulk of the work in-house rather than hiring a consultant as was done for the Uptown plan.

The first public meeting is set for June 24, from 7–9 p.m. at Redeemer Health and Rehab Center, 625 31st St. More information about the Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan can be found on the city’s website,
www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or [email protected]