MINNEAPOLIS -- Some southwest Minneapolis residents are pushing back against the city's vision for higher density residential towers along the West Lake Street corridor near Lake Bde Maka Ska.
The draft version of the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan contains 14 overall goals and 97 policies, and it currently in the public comment phase. The Minneapolis City Council is expected to pass a final version of the plan by the end of the year.
One policy encourages development near transit stations as part of the city's overall goal of encouraging housing options near transit and bikeways. An illustration that accompanies that section of the plan showed a cluster of towers in a highly concentrated area across from the lake.
"We looking at a 33-story tower, four 22-story towers, 19 buildings, 10-stories each, some of which are less than two blocks from the lake," Dr. John 'Chip' Berestka, who lives in South Minneapolis, told KARE.
"And to me that vertical density is going to destroy the destination, it’s going to destroy the lakes. It will ruin the views from Bde Maka Ska, Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake."
Berestka was among those on hand Wednesday for a community meeting hosted by Minneapolis City Council Member Linea Palmisano, which drew nearly 300 area residents curious about the long-term projections.
"To add more density to an already congested already, especially high vertical density, I think is the wrong thing," Berestka remarked.
Bde Maka Ska is next to the planned West Lake Station on the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line, so that area it's already attracting a lot of interest from private developers. It will be up to city planners and city council members to decide the density and scale of those projects.
"We would really like to have a city where you could walk, take transit, or ride your bike, to pick up fresh food for your evening meal, without having to get in your car," Heather Worthington, the director of Long Range Planning for Minneapolis, explained.
"Because we know the majority of trips people take in their cars are for errands."
Worthington said the artist's rendering that sparked such a strong reaction is more of an illustration of the goal, but is doesn't represent an actual proposal.
"It’s just to show an example, of what that could be. Again, not a proposal, just an illustration, to help people better understand what the text says," Worthington said.
"We put the plan on the web, and so that’s really intended to be a draft that people read and comment on and say, 'Yeah, you got that right' or 'No, you got that wrong'."
St. Louis Park based Bader Development has already submitted a proposed planned unit development featuring two 22-story towers next to the existing Calhoun Towers high rise, which is adjacent to the future West Lake Station.
Palmisano said she's interested in making sure the new developments include some affordable housing options for working people.