Council committee rejects Linden Corner plan

LINDEN HILLS — A controversial plan to build a 90,000-square-foot, five-story building in Linden Hills appears dead in the water.

The Minneapolis City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday voted in favor of an appeal of the Planning Commission’s Feb. 6 decision to approve a series of zoning exceptions that would have allowed the project to move forward.

The most significant request from the developer, Linden Hills resident Mark Dwyer, was that he be allowed to build up to five stories at 43rd and Upton Avenue. Construction on the site is limited to three stories by zoning rules.

A group of residents and business owners have objected to the scale of the building and argued the standard should be maintained as a way to protect the area’s small-town charm.

The Zoning and Planning Committee’s vote will be considered when the issue comes before the full city council on March 9, but there appears to be little support for the project.

Council member Betsy Hodges who represents the area but had not spoken about it publicly, said for the first time that she opposed the proposal, calling it “too much bulk.”

And even Dwyer seemed to acknowledge the project could not move forward the way it is designed now. He said after the meeting that he was disappointed his plans for the mixed-use building didn’t gain support, and that he would meet with his team to begin exploring alternatives. 

Neighborhood residents who have fought against the project – and traveled to Thursday’s meeting together on a school bus – were elated at the development. Several cried and hugged in the hallway after the vote.

“It’s like there’s actually faith back in our elected officials,” said Maria Nelson, a Linden Hills resident who has long worked on the neighborhood’s zoning rules.

The Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday also approved an appeal of a Planning Commission decision concerning a mixed-used project south of the Midtown Greenway in the Lyn Lake neighborhood. 

Greco Development is seeking to build a 73-foot, seven-story building on a vacant lot at 29th and Lyndale, but the plans have been opposed by the Midtown Greenway Coalition because they say it will put a shadow over the popular bikeway for 3.5 months of the year, creating dangerous, icy conditions.

The Planning Commission on Feb. 6 removed a staff recommendation to require the building’s top floors be set back further to allow more light, and the Midtown Greenway Coalition successfully appealed that decision.

It was immediately unclear what Greco Development would do in light of the Zoning and Planning Committee’s decision.