Linden Hills Small Area Plan

Linden Hills Small Area PlanThe City Council on December 13 approved the Linden Hills Small Area Plan, the final step in an 18 month community-led process that will guide future growth and development for years to come. See the final plan and related information at

The plan was approved with certain conditions, the most significant being that language reflecting height maximums measured in feet be taken out of the plan and replaced with, “overall building heights and floor-to-floor heights that reflect the adjacent architectural context and encourage buildings that are shorter than the current Zoning Code maximums for 3 and 4 story buildings (42 and 56 feet respectively).”  This language was at the request of Betsy Hodges.  The Linden Hills Small Area Plan Steering Committee addressed the conditions in a letter to the City Council on December 6.

At a November 25 special meeting, the LHiNC Board voted to approve the final draft of the Linden Hills Small Area Plan (LHSAP), as recommended by the Steering Committee. LHiNC states its position on the Small Area Plan in a December 2 letter to City of Minneapolis officials.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 18-month process of creating the neighborhood Small Area Plan. The plan will serve to guide development in the commercial nodes for 20 years.


Find the Small Area Plan information archive at


About the Linden Hills Small Area Plan

In 2012, the neighborhood initiated the planning process for a Small Area Plan. A Steering Committee of neighborhood residents and business owners was appointed to work with the City of Minneapolis to engage the community in the development of a plan for Linden Hills. In January of 2013, a consultant, Short Elliot Hendrikson, Inc. (SEH), was hired to lead the process and craft a plan for the community.

What is a Small Area Plan?

A Small Area Plan (SAP) is a plan that is developed for a clearly delineated area and gives more detailed recommendations than would be provided in the City of Minneapolis’ Comprehensive Plan. A SAP does not function to replace the Comprehensive Plan but rather serves to augment it. It builds on the goals, policies and implementation steps in the Comprehensive Plan to provide a finer level of detail.

A Small Area Plan is a document that outlines a long-range vision of typically 15 to 20 years for land use and development in that area. The plan examines the current conditions of the area, develops a future vision of what residents and business representatives want the neighborhood or area to become and then formulates specific goals, objectives, and policies or projects to implement that vision.

Adoption of a Small Area Plan

Upon completion of the final draft, the plan requires adoption by the City of Minneapolis. There will be a public hearing with the City Planning Commission. The City of Minneapolis Planning Commission then makes a recommendation to the City Council on the adoption of the plan. Prior to the public hearing on the adoption, the small area plan has a required 45-day public review and comment period. During the Linden Hills 45-day comment period, 25 comments were received during this period. The Linden Hills plan was adopted in December, 2013.

Linden Hills Small Area Plan Steering Committee

The LHiNC Board appointed the Linden Hills Small Area Plan (SAP) Steering Committee at its Board Meeting on July 17, 2012.

A nominating subcommittee reviewed the 27 applications that were received by the May 25 deadline. After completing consistent, objective interviews, the nominating committee identified 15 members and 3 alternates for the Committee. In accordance with the SAP objectives, these individuals represent a wide range of constituents from the Linden Hills neighborhood. The 18 total SAP Steering Committee members and alternates include home and condominium owners and local business owners. Members represent a wide range of age demographics and personal/professional experience, as well as varying degrees of acceptance regarding neighborhood development. The final SAP Steering Committee was appointed using a modified consensus approach, which provided the opportunity for attendees to provide feedback on the 18 proposed nominees, and to come to agreement on the group as a whole.

Steering Committee Members: Rick Anderson, Eric Hansen, Sara Jaehne (Vice-Chair), Gretchen Johns, Jean Johnson, Larry LaVercombe, David Luger, Jim Scott, Pat Smith, Ken Stone, Aaron Tag (Chair), Ann Voda.

The Role of the Steering Committee

The role of the Steering Committee is to advise on the planning process, help engage the public, advise on plan content, balance various values and make recommendations to the LHiNC Board. CPED is leading the project and facilitating the Steering Committee meetings.

The Steering Committee provides input in the development of the project scope for the SAP, selection of a consultant to develop the SAP, advises on public engagement, and plan content.  The backbone Small Area Plan is developed by the public through public meetings and other forums. The Consultant will develop the plan using this input with advisement from the Steering Committee and CPED.

Additional Resources

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth:
View the complete Minneapolis Plan
Land Use Chapter
Urban Design Chapter

Past Plan for Linden Hills:
Linden Hill Neighborhood Design Framework: A Plan for the Commercial District

Historic Resources:
Linden Hills History Study Group
Commercial District Walking Tours

Example Small Area Plans:
West Broadway Alive
Uptown Small Area Plan
Marcy Holmes Master Plan
Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Plan



Please contact the CPED project manager, Brian Schaffer with questions.

Brian Schaffer, AICP, Principal City Planner
Minneapolis Department of Community Planning & Economic Development
Planning Division
250 South 4th Street, Room 110, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 673-2670 Fax: (612) 673-2526