The year-long moratorium on residential construction, large remodeling projects and tear downs imposed on five neighborhoods in southwest Minneapolis has been lifted by the City Council Friday.
In its place are new citywide rules that require contractors and developers to meet with neighbors living within 300 feet of their project and a program to increase enforcement of city building codes.
Council Member Linea Palmisano, who led the effort to impose the moratorium, said Friday it was never intended to be in place for a year but was enacted to give city staff time to study the problems caused by the increase in construction.
“What we learned is what a big building season we have coming up,” said Palmisano. “We thought that 80 construction projects going on when there was still 10 inches of snow on the ground was a lot. Now we realize there’s going to be even more.”
There were 62 building permits issued last year for projects in the Linden Hills area that Palmisano represents. There were also many complaints from those living in construction zones about noise, dirt, obstructed streets and the placement of portable bathrooms.
A public hearing on the moratorium overflowed the City Council chambers with those complaining about the moratorium, and those complaining about the behavior of those doing the construction. Council Members also heard from people who were planning construction and were suddenly unable to move ahead.
“What we didn’t know was how many projects were waiting in the wings,” said Palmisano. “It’s a real personal topic because it’s about your home.”
Under the new citywide rules, contractors and developers will be required to sign a management agreement with the city that outlines the city building code requirements and ordinances relating to construction.
The new rules also expand the ability of city staff to tag those violating the codes and ordinances.
The moratorium was the first major action advanced by Palmisano who took office in January. She said she the process taught her to be clear and concise.
“Would I do it again? Absolutely,” said Palmisano. “It felt a little bit like standing in front of a train.”