Shoreland Height and Precedent
February 16, 2017 by CIDNA Committee
We feature selected comments by readers as a blog posts. The following two comments by Rodge Adams and Cem Erdem help to inform the dialogue about the Brickstone project:
By Rodge Adams: In recent years, big residential developments near the northwest corner of Lake Calhoun have triggered debates about height, and especially about the impact on the Shoreland Overlay’s goal of avoiding tall buildings that rise above the tree line. As each new project has been proposed, there have been debates about precedence — whether a project fits the pattern of previous developments, or sets a new, higher pattern. And, at what point does the new pattern invalidate the whole point of the Shoreland Overlay? Precedence was raised again by Dan Otis in his quote reported in a previous post in this discussion: “With the previous approvals of 8 stories at 2622 W Lake St, and 6 stories at 3118 W Lake St, there is clearly precedent for both of these height concepts [a 9- or 10- story Brickstone building].”
Comparisons based on height in stories can be tricky, since buildings sit on different ground levels and since the height of a story can vary. When considering the impact on the spirit of the Shoreland Overlay, the elevation of the tops of buildings may be a more useful guide: How tall does a building appear to be when viewed by, say, a boater on the lake? How respectful is it of the tree line along the shore?
We have no images of a Brickstone building that has not been built, but Brickstone has said that its 9-story building would be approximately as high as the 14th floor of an existing building, Lake Point. So, a 10-story Brickstone building would be approximately as high as the 15th floor of Lake Point. CIDNA’s web site already has shown a view of the northwest corner of Lake Calhoun from a boater’s point of view, shown below. A black line has been added at the height of Lake Point’s 15th floor, as well as a green box representing the height of a 10-story Brickstone building. This makes comparisons with the new 8-story Lakes building and the tree line possible.
By Cem Erdem: During the January 26th Public Hearing, when asked by an audience member about precedence, Brickstone representative responded by saying “Every project is evaluated on its own merit and we don’t believe there is a precedence issue”. Conflicting with their own statement from the Public Hearing, Dan Otis from Brickstone is using two previous city approvals as precedent and pushes to increase the height limit even further in his quote above: “With the previous approvals of 8 stories at 2622 W Lake St, and 6 stories at 3118 W Lake St, there is clearly precedent for both of these height concepts.”
There are 4-5 floor apartment buildings on Dean Parkway. If there is approval for Brickstone building, why would those property owners not think that they can also push for higher buildings? Calhoun Village Shopping Center, the mall where Barnes and Noble and Wallgreen is, would be a prime location for another high rise. If Brickstone’s high rise plans are pushed through the Shoreland Overlay ordinance, other builders will start sharpening their pencils for all the surrounding properties of lakes area that can be built higher.
Brickstone’s proposal doesn’t only impact its immediate surrounding neighbors but if it is approved, it will open gates to many other high rise projects around the lakes that will change the landscape of Minneapolis, the City of Lakes.