A few questions the planning commission should ask about TOD at Hiawatha and Lake

In early December, Hennepin County and L&H Station (“the development team”) submitted plans for the development of L&H Station at 2225 East Lake Street, at the southwest quadrant of Lake Street and Hiawatha, a six-acre site immediately adjacent to the Lake Street station of the Blue Line. Below is the ground level plan submitted. In the context of the years of planning that led up to this submittal, and posts of my own, the following are a few questions I think the Planning Commission should ask.

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The best angle on family homelessness

I have to face facts: I have a desk job. I love writing and telling people’s stories, but sometimes I wish I were a photographer instead because you tell stories, just with pictures instead of words – and you definitely get to move around more. Sometimes you have to crouch, climb on something or cross the room to get the best angle.

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Housing costs stretch budgets across the state

More than 600,000 households in Minnesota face very high housing costs when they pay their mortgages or sign their rent checks. In 63 out of 87 counties, at least one in every four households spends at least 30 percent of their income on their home. This reality is mapped out in our project with Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Mapping Minnesota’s Future to Shared Opportunities.

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The curious case of luxury student housing

The American gentrification story will sound familiar to many: A historic neighborhood, home to traditionally transit-oriented apartments and modest single family homes, slowly becomes destitute and outdated as the automobile era drives population away from city centers. The neighborhood becomes derelict and neglected, but eventually, the bohemian counterculture — the artists, performers, musicians, and designers of a creative class — occupies and slowly kindles mainstream interest back into the area. Aside from retired, amenity-seeking empty nesters moving back into urban areas, most of these newcomers are young adults. There is a trend in these urban population shifts that is not often discussed — the study of college-aged students and their corresponding living patterns. Unlike other burgeoning urban neighborhoods, students occupy and dwell in a unique, confined location in close proximity to their college campus.

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We believe #BlackLivesMatter

The conversation about racial injustice is heated these days and it’s tragic that it has taken the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, among others, to bring this conversation to the national level it deserves.

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Under high pressure, Minneapolis City Council reverses #Lattelevy vote

(Photos by Katie G. Nelson)

Local activists obtained a rare victory Wednesday evening after the Minneapolis City Council voted to reverse their decision to cut $225,000 from a racial equity program and a clean energy initiative — a cut deemed #Lattelevy.

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Gender-open housing moves forward at University of Minnesota

(Photo by jonsson published under Creative Commons License)

The University of Minnesota is making progress on a gender-based housing initiative it announced about a year ago.

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Homeless students invisible on campus

(Photo by Joey Coleman published under Creative Commons License)

After a full day of studying or working, Adrian Martinez leaves school at about 5 p.m. each night to secure a space at a local homeless shelter.

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Human rights claim possible as landlords target undocumented immigrants

(Photo by Andrew VonBank) Left: Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey testifies before the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee Dec. 5 during an informational discussion about the issue of landlords refusing to renew housing leases for individuals who do not have legal immigration status. Right: Mario Espinoza testifies at the hearing.

With the Twin Cities metropolitan area rental market the tightest it’s been in years, some people who are undocumented are falling prey to extortion by unscrupulous landlords, who seek to take monetary advantage of a potential tenant’s illegal status.

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Property taxes could be going up

(Photo by 401(K) 2012 published under Creative Commons License)

Around this time a year comes a piece of mail that can make even the strong wince.

It’s property tax time.

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