Articles mislead on CIDNA’s role as it engages in community

Citizens groups should be praised for constructively engaging in the neighborhood development process, not maligned. Community residents and CIDNA volunteers who came out on a -22 degree night Jan. 6 to engage with developers deserve better coverage by MinnPost than Marlys Harris’ article “Neighborhood skeptically eyeballs Lake Calhoun apartment design.” Harris misleads us by suggesting that CIDNA would help to obstruct Mayor Betsy Hodges’ vision to increase our population to 500,000 residents.

MinnPost fails to recognize that CIDNA, already a high-density neighborhood, has supported high-density projects on every site that has been proposed for development during the past 10 years: Weisman, Loop City Condos and Ackerberg/Village Green. We have sought creative solutions with developers while ensuring that large projects respect the zoning code and surrounding neighborhood.

For the Lander project on the Weisman site, MinnPost characterizes CIDNA as “modifying the plan so many times that economics no longer made sense.” The fact of the matter is that Lander voluntarily reduced the size of his project by 25% (to 84 feet and 150,000 gross square feet, still a large project) after the City Council rejected his appeal to accept a proposed 116-foot tower in the 35-foot Shoreland Overlay District. CIDNA quickly embraced Lander’s revised proposal and the city expeditiously approved his revised project. The worst recession since the Depression subsequently intervened to stop his project and many others in the city. Harris’ article “Why there is an empty lot across from Lake Calhoun” is similarly extremely misleading and inaccurate about this topic.

CIDNA indeed carefully reviews all development proposals in the neighborhood, and we are concerned that the Trammell Crow project would be the first tall tower (129 feet) approved in the Lakes Area (other than Mosaic) in the history of the zoning height limits. We are concerned that the Loop Condos developer respected the 56-foot height limit while Trammell Crow so far does not. We understand that attendees at our meeting are frustrated with traffic jams from the busiest intersection in the city.  And it is reasonable for CIDNA to ask for drawings of Trammell Crow’s 6-story idea.

We believe that MinnPost should value neighborhoods with a proven record of supporting thoughtful density. Harris seems to have an agenda to discredit our work with no basis in fact. We expect respectful and balanced reporting from your fine news organization.

As we celebrate Mayor Hodges’ inauguration, let’s all think about One Minneapolis. This is not a story of pitting neighborhoods against developers as MinnPost has portrayed. We seek collaboration and creative solutions regarding density, but this does not mean that we should embrace any proposal presented by developers.

Craig Westgate, President, CIDNA

Bob Corrick, Chair, Land Use Committee

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