Lions and Tigers and Duplexes! Oh my!
In the Mankato Free Press: “North Gate zoning change moves forward” … And, more recently: “No duplexes in N. Mankato Neighborhood”. If you’re not familiar with the North Mankato subdivision “North Gate 2″, then I recommend taking a quick look around: Google Maps. Or, check it out …
Turns out the North Gate subdivision has actually bankrupted the City. Well, not exactly bankrupted, but the City fronted the infrastructure and this development has been such a failure that it was the primary reason North Mankato had it’s Bond Rating decreased. This is a financially losing subdivision and is subsidized by all other North Mankato taxpayers.
This subdivision costs the City of North Mankato more money than it brings in. North Mankato gambled on suburban growth in a cornfield and lost. Now, the least they can do is understand that they need to maximize their return. Allowing duplexes is part of this process.
Here we go …
NORTH MANKATO — The North Mankato Planning Commission approved a zoning proposal Thursday that would prevent developers from building future duplexes in the North Gate and North Gate No. 2 subdivisions.
So, this hardly built out subdivision will now have an even lower density? Okay, it’s not the end of the world and it hasn’t gone to the City Council yet. This is just the local planning commission. The article continues:
Around 2011, 17 of the lots went into tax forfeiture, and within the past year, Nicollet County sold four lots in the center of the subdivisions to developer Troy Donahue. City Planner Mike Fischer said Donahue purchased the lots with the assumption he could build duplexes on them.
We’ve got a subdivision where 17 empty lots have entered tax forfeiture. No one has wanted to touch them until this past year. At this point, only four of them were sold at bargain prices. The guy who bought the lots has already built one duplex (or, two dwelling units on one city lot).
Now, here is the fun stuff:
“The building of the first duplex prompted concern from residents and the current proposal.”
Neighbors (40 of 41 people who live there) don’t like it. They don’t want duplexes. But, why don’t they them duplexes?
“He said he has a number of issues with the current duplex, including that it’s unfinished, that it has made access to his mailbox more difficult and that its caretakers push snow in front of his mailbox.”
Let me summarize. This particular neighbor doesn’t want future duplexes because:
- There is currently a duplex being built in the neighborhood and it’s under construction (?)
- It’s more difficult to get his mail
- The people working on the duplex have pushed snow in front of his mailbox
I can’t decide which one of these complaints is the most absurd.
“It’s kind of hard to see our neighborhood kind of step back to an apartment-type feeling … If the whole neighborhood gets built up as (multi-family) … it’s going to be hard to live there with kids.”
Ahhh! That’s it. He doesn’t want that “apartment-type feeling” and it’ll “be hard to live there with kids.” Okay, instead of using sarcasm, let me show him how wrong he is. Here is where he lives. Now, here is a development composed of 4 unit townhomes. These locations are about half a mile away, on the same side of town, same school district, and adjoin the same city park. Notice how these “hard to live here with kids” townhome developments are actually more expensive per unit than the single family homes in the ‘North Gate 2′ subdivision.
The bias against duplexes (and multifamily) needs to stop.