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Nicollet Franklin Rezoning Study

Background

On August 18, 2006 Council Member Robert Lilligren introduced an interim ordinance providing for a moratorium on new construction in the area bounded by Nicollet Avenue (east and west alley to alley) from Franklin Avenue on the north to the Midtown Greenway/Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) right of way on the south. The City Council was concerned about the scale, scope, and pace of development projects along Nicollet and enacted the interim ordinance in order to allow for the completion of a study to inform future development. It was determined that application of the Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District along with neighborhood developed design guidelines could ensure that development activity in the area would not undermine the future orderly development of the area.

The Rezoning Study

City staff met with representatives from the Whittier Alliance on an approximate monthly basis between August 2006 and April 2007 to discuss the potential content of a Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District for the area. The Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District is intended to preserve and encourage the pedestrian character of commercial areas by regulating building orientation, building design, accessory parking facilities, and automobile-oriented uses.

In addition, some changes to the primary zoning at the Activity Center, which is located and the intersection of 26th Street and Nicollet Avenue, were suggested. Approximately twenty-eight parcels were recommended for rezoning to Community Activity Center (C3A) zoning. This was suggested to attract and focus density and height in this location as called for in the Citys comprehensive plan.

Map of the rezoning study area and zoning changes

For more detail about the Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District and other zoning categories, see the zoning code.

On August 31 st, 2007 the City Council approved the recommended zoning changes after a year long study and public involvement process.

What happens if my zoning was changed?

Zoning districts determine where uses are permitted in the city and how buildings are positioned on lots. When the City changes the zoning district of an area or adds an overlay zone, some uses may no longer be permitted under the new zoning. However, if the uses were legally established before the change, then in general they can continue to exist as long as they are 1) not abandoned for a continuous period of more than one year or 2) destroyed and building permits are not applied for within 180 days.

When zoning is changed and the use is no longer permitted, the use is referred to as being a "legal nonconforming" use. The City Panning Commission may allow a change from one nonconforming use to a different nonconforming use if it is compatible with the surrounding area and is less intense 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, and the generation of noise, heat, glare, and vibration. In general nonconforming uses are not allowed to expand. However, the Planning Commission may allow the expansion of a nonconforming use if it meets certain findings including but not limited to compatibility with adjacent properties and the intensity of the use.

Last updated Nov 3, 2011