Dinkytown lodges pose possible problems

The lack of parking availability has some in the neighborhood concerned.

As his new residences quickly take shape on the 1300 block of Eighth Street Southeast in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, the Lodges of Dinkytown owner Tim Harmsen said he is hoping to bring “higher-level housing” to the area.

The Lodges, which are scheduled to open for rental in May, are equipped with gas fireplaces, heated basement floors and central air conditioning.

Despite the need for property development in the area, some Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association members worry the residences will cause both parking and housing problems.

The lack of parking provided for the residences is the neighborhood association’s main concern, Ardes Johnson, a neighborhood association member, said.

Minneapolis code states that each unit in a multiunit dwelling must have at least one parking space per unit, which Harmsen said the residences will provide.

Johnson, however, sees a problem with that system.

“Yes, he’s meeting Minneapolis requirements of one parking space per unit, but when there are five bedrooms in a unit, it doesn’t make sense,” she said.

The neighborhood association has guidelines of its own. In its neighborhood plan, the association asks developers to provide at least half a parking space for each bedroom in a residence.

Following the association’s plan, Harmsen would be required to provide eight or more parking spaces per lodge, which are each individual structures containing 15 bedrooms apiece, split into three units.

Neighborhood approval to build the Lodges wasn’t required because the buildings are too small to require approval. Harmsen said he will provide the parking required by the City of Minneapolis – three spaces per residence.

“The concept behind Dinkytown is so that people don’t need cars,” Harmsen said. “If you provide more parking, you’re really only encouraging to bring more cars.”

But Johnson said despite the location, students don’t have the availability of a full grocery store within walking distance, so a car is necessary.

The additional cars will end up on the street, she said.

Andrew Bender Dahl, an urban development senior, works as the student liaison for the neighborhood association and studied the University of Pennsylvania’s surrounding neighborhood to find ways to improve the quality of living here.

Though he agrees that students living in Dinkytown are more apt to walk to campus, Bender Dahl said students still have cars.

“I think it’s pretty obvious there will probably be more than three cars between 15 people, so that’s just going to mean that all the extras are going to have to go on the street and take up more spots for other people who live in the area,” he said.

The neighborhood association’s land-use chairwoman, Jo Radzwill, said another issue is that smaller residences don’t fall under the association’s review.

“At this point we don’t really feel that we have anything we can do except that we are continuing to work to change the administrative review process as much as we can,” she said.

Radzwell said the neighborhood association will work with the City Council to amend the requirements for smaller developments so developers will work with the neighborhood before building.