Realizing the long-range vision for the Hiawatha Corridor involves significant challenges and opportunities. Ensuring that City regulations reflect this vision is an important task. The Zoning Code (Title 20 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances) is the principal means by which the City regulates future development and land use. This tool will complement activities such as redevelopment, private investment, and changes to public and private infrastructure.
State statute requires municipalities to develop consistency between zoning and its comprehensive plan. The City has amended its comprehensive plan, the Minneapolis Plan, to designate the areas around each of the six neighborhood stations as Transit Station Areas. Further, extensive public involvement has resulted in detailed plans for four neighborhood station areas. On April 2nd, 2004, the City Council adopted a formal resolution directing the Planning Division to undertake a rezoning study.
Zoning amendments in the Hiawatha Corridor outside of downtown will occur in two phases. The first phase established a pedestrian oriented "overlay" zoning district within the neighborhood LRT station areas. This created additional regulations and incentives for development in these areas (e.g., such as the prohibition of expanding or establishing new automobile service uses). The second phase will result in recommendations for changes to "primary" zoning districts. Any changes to downtown zoning will occur separately from this process.
The City will be strategic about changing zoning, balancing the goals of consistency with plans, limiting the creation of non-conforming uses, and preventing the expansion of uses that hinder implementation of plans. Recommended land uses, urban design objectives and densities in adopted station area plans will provide the primary guidance. This strategy can be summarized as follows:
- The City may propose immediate zoning changes when redevelopment is anticipated in the near future as a result of private and/or public activities.
- The City may propose changes that grant greater development rights where higher density or other types of uses may be desired.
- The City may identify zoning changes for future implementation, if changes in land use are neither critical to meet the general goals of the plan or are not expected for some time.
- The City may propose changes to zoning to prevent the expansion or intensification of uses that are not consistent with long-range plans. ("Non-conforming" uses could continue to operate and maintain their facilities.)
The City will work with neighborhood and business groups, as well as specific property owners, before zoning changes are adopted. Comments, suggestions and concerns will be shared with the Planning Commission and City Council.