Draft of Lyn-Lake plan out for review

A plan outlining a long-range vision for land use and development in the Lyn-Lake area was completed last month and is available for public comment.

The Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan is in the draft phase and city staff will collect public input on it through April 6. Work on the plan started about a year ago, following the completion of the Uptown Small Area Plan, which was far more contentious because of large development projects planned in the area at the time.  

"I think we built on some good work we had already done and we filled a gap in our detailed planning for the area," said city planner Amanda Arnold, who helped oversee both the Lyn-Lake and Uptown plans.

The gap was between the Uptown plan, which ended at Bryant Avenue, and the Midtown Minneapolis Plan, which ended at Blaisdell Avenue. Minneapolis’ Comprehensive Plan suggests developing detailed plans around all of the city’s activity centers.

Many stakeholders involved in the Uptown planning process wanted to include Lyn-Lake, but city staff and City Council Member Ralph Remington (10th Ward), who led the plan’s development, thought the area would have been too large to cover at once. So it was decided then that the Lyn-Lake area would be reviewed separately.

The Lyn-Lake plan’s development was guided by a steering committee made up of neighborhood and business leaders, Council Members Remington and Robert Lilligren (6th Ward), representatives from the Midtown Greenway Coalition and Planning Commission, and others.

Some of the plan’s recommendations include:

• The development of a parking ramp that would be situated between residential development along the Greenway and commercial property on Lake Street.

• Inclusion of 29th Street West in the city’s Capital Improvement Program once the future of Greenway transit is determined. Pedestrian priorities should be part of 29th Street’s revamp.

• The creation of a transit station platform on the east side of the Lyndale Avenue Bridge, or a split design with platforms on each side. This is if the Southwest Transitway route runs through the Greenway.

• A maximum building façade height of four stories for developments along Lyndale and Lake Street within the "activity center" boundaries of 28th Street to the north, 31st Street to the south, Aldrich Avenue on the west and Garfield Avenue on the east. If buildings must be taller, additional stories should step back.

• Improved bicycle and pedestrian access.

Most of the stakeholders involved with the plan were satisfied with the process and the end result.

"I have not heard of a lot of disagreements," said Mark Hinds, executive director of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association and a steering committee member. "There were not a lot of heated issues in this one as there were in the Uptown plan."

Hinds said he was glad to get the plan done, but it would have been nice to get it in place before the recent Lake Street and Lyndale construction projects. Because of those, streetscape discussions were limited, he said.  

"It’s almost like the plan is four or five years too late," he said. "It would have been nice to have it before all that investment in the street."

Steering committee member Larry Ludeman, who represented the Whittier Alliance, but also serves on the Lyn-Lake Business Association, said his biggest concern is how zoning in the area will play out. The plan’s recommendations for development don’t address zoning specifically. But overall, Ludeman said, the plan is a step in the right direction for the node.  

Arnold said city staff would review community input on the plan through April 6. Public input could bring about some changes to the plan, she said.

"Staff will take a look at those and if there are things we feel like we can address within the parameters of adopted city policy we will try to alter the document as we see appropriate," she said.

The plan will go to the Planning Commission April 20 and to the City Council after that. The draft can be found in the Community Planning & Economic Development section of the city’s website, www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or jweyer@mnpubs.com.