Last August I requested that the City’s Planning and Economic Development Department study the new, large homes being built in Highland Park and Mac-Groveland. While these homes fit the specifications spelled out in the City’s zoning code, many neighbors felt they were out of character with the surrounding homes and blocked crucial air and light access. City Planner Mike Richardson spent several months investigating these new homes and what exactly was causing the “out of character” feeling.
What Mike found was what neighbors had been speculating; the new homes are significantly larger than the current housing stock in the neighborhood. At the end of 2013 the average square footage of a single-family home in Macalester Groveland and Highland Park was 1,590 square feet. Homes built between 2005 and 2013 in the same area had an average square footage of 2,673 feet, an increase of 68%. This increase in square footage impacted things such as lot coverage, sidewall height, overall building height and side-yard setbacks. To reign in these large overbearing homes, Mike recommended eight changes to the Zoning Code, including a lower maximum height, a maximum lot coverage for all residential structures (homes and accessory buildings) and required sidewall articulation.
This February his findings and proposed zoning changes were brought to the Neighborhood Planning Committee of the Planning Commission. Both the Neighborhood Planning Committee and the full Planning Commission had reservations about recommending changes to the zoning code just for Ward 3. After much deliberation the Planning Commission recommended about half the changes for implementation in planning districts 14 and 15 and half the changes Citywide.
July 22, 2015 the City Council unanimously passed the recommended changes. We expect them to go into effect in early September. Thank you to everyone who provided comments, attended the many meetings and testified before the Planning Commission and the City Council.
You can read more about Mike’s findings and the most updated recommendations here.
-Current Zoning and Construction Ordinances
-Construction Management Agreement
-Resolution directing PED to study new homes