Lyn-Lake plan gets second shot

The Minneapolis Planning Commission will decide whether to approve a long-term land-use plan for the Lyn-Lake area May 18, almost a month after the group shelved the plan for further review.  

The Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan was in the works for more than a year — its development guided by a steering committee of neighborhood leaders, City Council members and others. When approved, the plan will fill a gap between the Uptown Small Area Plan to the west and the Midtown Minneapolis Plan to the east. Each plan lays out guidelines for future land use, covering everything from transportation to commercial development. Minneapolis’ Comprehensive plan suggests developing detailed plans around each of the city’s activity centers.

The draft Lyn-Lake plan, though much less controversial than its Uptown predecessor, was not approved at an April 20 Planning Commission meeting largely because of questions about how it connects with the Uptown plan — the eastern boundary of which is Bryant Avenue — and how height is described, said Amanda Arnold, the city planner who oversaw the development of both plans.

“There were just some issues (the commission) wanted a little more clarification on and some more time to discuss,” Arnold said.

Planning Commissioner Lara Norkus-Crampton said there’s no deadline for approving the plan, so it made sense for commissioners to give it another look before it became an official guideline for development in Lyn-Lake.   

“The thing with these plans is that they’re officially good for 10 years, but I always assume all these are 100-year plans because you set so many things in motion that you really can’t take back once they get going,” she said. “So it’s good for everyone to understand what everything means and to make sure all these plans support the goals of the city overall.”

Norkus-Crampton said one of her main issues with the plan was that guidelines for development along Lake Street east of Lyndale were less pedestrian friendly than they appeared in the Uptown plan. More attention should be paid to the pedestrian realm, she said.

“I haven’t heard anyone say that we want to encourage less walkability or bikeability on Lake Street east of Lyndale, so how can we make sure that we’re being consistent in making sure that it’s a really viable, sustainable, walkable, transit friendly corridor which will increase the livability of the area as well as support street level businesses?”

Several neighborhood groups and  community members sent feedback on the plan to the city during a 45-day public comment period that ended in April.

The Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG) wrote in letter, which addressed many aspects of the plan, that details of “character, scale, context and transitions” were too vague in comparison to the Uptown plan.

“Just because people aren’t jumping up and down about these issues, as they were with the Uptown plan, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be anticipated and addressed,” the letter said.

Arnold said every comment was considered and some changes were made to the plan based on those recommendations.   

Some of the changes are:

• Added language about desired building height and principles guiding height.

• Stronger language about connecting Uptown and Lyn-Lake.

• Added language about strengthening the branding and marketing of Lyn-Lake.

The plan with all of its changes can be viewed in the Community Planning & Economic Development section of the city’s website, www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

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