Zoning issues: 18th Avenue NE and Central Avenue

Editor’s note: This article is part of Neighbors for More Neighbors (N4MN) ongoing discussion of current zoning changes due to the implementation of the Minneapolis 2040 plan and advocacy to allow more uses in more places to support complete quarters. It was written by Zachary Wajda and published by Brit Anbacht with his permission.

I live in the Northeast Park neighborhood in Minneapolis. I recently bought a house here and don’t own a car. It’s one of my personal goals to stay car-free. It should be possible for anyone living in a big city to do this. Everyone should have easy and convenient access to what they need in life. For me, some of those things are food, jobs, and hobbies.

Before moving home, I lived in downtown Minneapolis. I was working 15 minutes (walking distance) from my house. I lived less than a block from a convenience store. I could leave, do my shopping and be back in my apartment in 10 minutes. I frequented Minneapolis’ beautiful Mississippi River and the fantastic restaurants just minutes away.

My new home is just south of 18th Ave NE and Central Avenue NE. It is in a large R2B core zoning district (up to three residential units), and it is in an Interior 2 built form overlay district. All core residential zonings (R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 , R6) do not support most commercial uses. Small convenience stores and restaurants are prohibited. 18th Avenue NE is sandwiched between Central Avenue NE and Johnson Street NE. The famous Sociable Cider Werks brewery is next door, and the Great Northern Greenway at 18th Avenue runs parallel to it.

Photo of 18th Avenue NE “Great Northern Greenway” facing Central Avenue. Photo by Zachary Wajda.

18th Avenue NE is a great example of why these types of small businesses should be allowed in urban neighborhood zoning. This street is an ideal location for small shops and services. People who live there should be able to legally operate a business from their home to take advantage of the great greenway and access to public transit. Will the new zoning code allow these small businesses here? Or will they be limited to existing corridors? If the city wants complete neighborhoods, claimed in Minneapolis 2040, it must legalize the uses people need in every corner of the city.

To be clear, I’m not advocating strip malls or big box stores in Minneapolis neighborhoods. We already have many examples of small businesses nestled in neighborhoods. I’m not advocating rezoning 18th Avenue. I would like the city to think about the uses that are permitted in the new primary neighborhoods of the “urban neighborhood”. Part of what makes a neighborhood a neighborhood is a sense of community. A sense of community is built in local stores, hangouts, hangouts and recreation areas. Should swaths of our city be more than a 10-minute walk from the nearest hypothetical legal convenience store?

I call on Minneapolis to expand permitted uses in residential areas to include the foundations of a complete, walkable neighborhood. Enable owners to run businesses from their homes. Allow small everyday retail businesses, such as grocery stores, hairdressers and dentists in our neighborhoods.

Take action!

Which can you to support complete neighborhoods in Minneapolis?

  • Take the full Neighbors for More Neighbors neighborhood survey!
  • Volunteer with the N4MN Minneapolis 2040 Implementation Task Force!
  • Share your email to receive action alerts on this project
  • Discuss with your neighbors and friends what complete neighborhoods are and why they are important to you.
  • Sign up for the N4MN newsletter and watch for action alerts from the working group; they may include attending community meetings, testifying at hearings, or sending emails.

Written by Zachary Wajda. Posted by Brit Anbacht.