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West Broadway Alive!

A Revitalization Plan for North Minneapolis’ Main Street

A Plan for Revitalizing West Broadway

West Broadway has historically been the most significant commercial and cultural destination in north Minneapolis. Although much reduced from its boom years, it remains the main street of north Minneapolis. Planning for West Broadway was initiated in 2006 in order to lay the groundwork for the revitalization of West Broadway as a cherished community place, and the activated center of commercial activity in north Minneapolis. At the end of a two year process, a plan was produced that was titled "West Broadway Alive: A Revitalization Plan for North Minneapolis’s Main Street. The plan guides future development and public realm improvements, and offers a roadmap for revitalization by naming near- and long-term actions to be undertaken around which the energy and resources of stakeholders can be focused.

The first community meeting in the development of the West Broadway Alive plan took place on August 24, 2006. The fifth and final took place on July 17, 2007. Average attendance at community meetings was around 140. Numerous other forms of community engagement took place during the same period. The West Broadway Alive plan was endorsed by all of the neighborhoods that border on West Broadway, as well as the West Broadway Coalition. It now represents official City policy as it was formally adopted by the City Council on Friday, March 21, 2008.

Plan Document

Implementation Activity

A great number of actions are being undertaken to achieve the improvements envisioned in the West Broadway Alive plan. Leadership is shared by business and property owners, private developers and CDCs, community organizations, private corporations, and city and county government. Activities include development projects, efforts to strengthen business districts, and aesthetic improvements. Many of these initiatives were showcased at the February 7 West Broadway Community Development Expo, including:

New public plaza. The public was invited to offer their ideas about the design and programming of a new public plaza which is planned for the Hawthorn Crossings Shopping Center at West Broadway and Emerson. It may support an outdoor community market as well as community festivals and events.

Rezoning Study. There was an opportunity to review and give feedback on the West Broadway rezoning study. Proposed zoning changes are intended to support the land use and development policies in the West Broadway Alive plan. Information about the rezoning study is provided below.

New development. Eight development projects that are planned for different locations along West Broadway were displayed, along with the University of Minnesota’s proposed Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center planned for the Plymouth and Penn Shopping Center.

Bottineau Boulevard. Maps were displayed related to the light rail and bus rapid transit lines being considered as part of the current Bottineau Boulevard Alternatives Analysis. The webpage for this project is linked here.

Façade Improvement grants. West Broadway Coalition and Northside Arts Collective staff were on hand to answer questions about two new façade grant programs. These support businesses that are interested in sprucing up their storefronts in a way that adds to the visual character of West Broadway. One of these programs will begin to brand West Broadway as an Art Street by pairing business owners with artists to create one-of-a-kind façade features.

The Rezoning Study

One step in achieving the long-range vision for West Broadway is adjusting the regulatory framework for the area. Zoning of property is the most important part of that framework. The rezoning study proposes changes to the zoning of property in the West Broadway area so that what can be built corresponds as closely as possible to what is called for in the West Broadway Alive Plan.

(Question: What is zoning? Answer: All property is in a zoning district, and that zoning district determines whether you can build a single family home, a condominium building, a restaurant or a factory. Zoning also regulates density, height, and some other characteristics of new development.)

Community Planning and Economic Development staff have conducted an analysis of the existing land uses and zoning in the West Broadway Area and developed recommendations for the rezoning of properties. Recommendations include changes to primary zoning as well as the addition of overlay districts. A few changes are also proposed to the regulations that apply to property along West Broadway.

Community Engagement

A draft zoning map was presented at the West Broadway Community Development Expo. Around 140 residents attended this event. All of the property owners known to be affected by the proposed zoning changes were notified by mail of this opportunity to review the proposed changes. Proposed zoning code text changes were also presented.

A formal 45 day public comment period was initiated on Friday, March 13, and ended on Monday, April 27. Presentations were made at Hawthorne and Jordan neighborhood board meetings.

A public hearing is scheduled on this matter at the City Planning Commission meeting on Monday, July 13. This meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

Staff Report and Attachments

Document: July 13 Staff Report w/ Recommended Action

Map: Existing Zoning

Map: Proposed Zoning

Table: Proposed Zoning Changes

Map: New Nonconforming Properties

Map: Rezoning Policy Basis

Table: Rezoning Policy Basis

Document: Proposed Text Amendments, Part 1

Document: Proposed Text Amendments, Part 2

Document: Correspondence

Document: Zoning Guide

What happens if my zoning district is changed?

Zoning districts determine where uses are permitted. When a zoning district is changed, some uses may no longer be permitted that had been permitted under the previous zoning. For example, depending on the change, a retail business may be allowed when it was not previously. Or manufacturing may no longer be allowed when it was before. However, if an existing business or activity was legally established on a given property before the zoning change, then in general it can continue to exist as long as it is not discontinued for more than one year.

When zoning is changed and an existing use of property is no longer permitted, the use is referred to as being a "legal nonconforming" use. The City Planning Commission may allow a change from one nonconforming use to a different nonconforming use if it is compatible with the surrounding area and it has impacts on surrounding properties that are of similar or lower intensity than the existing nonconforming use. In general, the Planning Commission considers the following in making its decision: hours of operation, signage, traffic, parking, the nature of the business, number of employees, building size, aesthetics, lighting, the generation of noise, heat, glare, and vibration. Nonconforming uses are generally not allowed to expand.


Comments or questions related to this process may be offered at any time. Please contact:

Jim Voll, Principal City Planner
250 S 4th Street, Room 110
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 673-3887

Last updated Oct 25, 2011



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