Friday, February 17, 2006

Height Makes Right?

Lots of controversy around the city lakes and riverfront concerning developers pushing zoning height restrictions for their projects. Recently, the Minneapolis City Council overrode the Minnneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission's recommendation and ok'd the heights of the four new condo towers developer Schafer Richardson proposed as part of their Pillsbury A Mill riverfront development project (ESG Architects). Council member Cam Gorden commented on his vote against recommendation, " I don't like the process." What a poignant statement. Other neighborhoods such as Uptown, CIDNA and East Lake Calhoun are facing similar struggles over the issue of development, zoning, shoreline overlay districts and other caveats challenged by developers. Another issue raised is the role and power of the neighborhood associations in affecting the process and design of projects. Is this a good thing or are there limits to a neighborhood's influence over community development? Architects, weigh in on this ongoing saga of height, density, zoning and control over the city's development process.

There are several Twin Cities architecture related online discussion forums you can join including Minnescrapers (HOT RIGHT NOW) and

1 comment:

reaXtions said...

So, in today's Star Tribune our own Barbara Flanagan posits the notion of, "...a public or neighborhood vote on new developments..." as well as a public design review board. She says that "...lots of just plain folks would like to speak up, pointing out that the designs of the buildings (Pillsbury A-Mill project)-at 15,20,24, and 27 stories-are too tall." Curious, what does she mean by "just plain folks" (as opposed to "non plain folks" ie developers and architects?) and how does she already know what they would say? Anyway, maybe this is fine idea and would get the process out of the neighborhood associations and out into the broader public, but to what affect? Is this what councilmember Gordon meant when he said he didn't like the process? Do architects and developers already provide plenty of opportunity for public input on highly visible projects and only after the result is not what someone wants will there be the cry of "citizen's vote"? Are we talking referendum here on everything soon, and is this where our democracy is heading?