Council to review new teardown regulations, policy allowing granny flats

The City Council’s Zoning & Planning Committee will review proposed housing policy changes designed to strengthen regulations governing residential construction and allow for the addition of small dwellings on single-family lots at its July 10 meeting.

City Council Member Linea Palmisano (Ward 13) is spearheading efforts to revise the zoning code related to the construction of one- to four-unit homes to better protect neighbors of construction sites.

The proposed changes come in the wake of research by city planners following a month-long moratorium on new residential construction in southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods earlier this year. Planners also collected feedback from Ward 13 residents during neighborhood focus groups.

Palmisano’s office and city staff have also put together a new toolkit for neighbors of new construction to make it easier for them to navigate city resources. It includes tips for preparing for construction work and information for residents about what to do if they experience property damage, among other things.

When the Council voted to lift the temporary moratorium on new construction in southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods earlier this year, it also approved a new construction management agreement that requires builders to agree to 25 conditions making them more accountable to neighbors.

There are three upcoming meetings to collect feedback on the proposed residential construction policy changes:

—   Industry representatives meeting: July 10, 3–4 p.m., at the City of Lakes Building, 309 2nd Ave. S.

—   Public open house: July 16, 4:30–6 p.m., at City Hall, room 333, 350 S. 5th St.

—   Planning Commission public hearing: July 28, 4:30 p.m., City Hall, room 317, 350 S. 5th St. 

City Council Member Lisa Bender (Ward 10) has proposed changes to the zoning code as well to allow for accessory dwelling units — small houses also known as “granny flats.”

The small spaces are attached to homes or in the same yard as another single-family home. Supporters say they would create more housing options in the city and could provide a new source of income for residents.

The city’s Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED) is planning two upcoming open houses to discuss accessory dwelling units: one Aug. 12, 5–8 p.m., at North Regional Library, and another Aug. 23, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., at the Hosmer Library.