Rezoning Proposal Could Impact Thousands in Rochester

June 19, 2019 07:14 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s a proposal that could impact thousands of residents and business owners in Rochester: the city's Community Development Department is looking to rezone properties near the downtown core.

On Wednesday, the first open house for the rezoning plan was held in Peace Plaza. Homeowners and business owners in impacted areas received a notice in the mail, inviting them to learn more about the proposal.


“Both TOD [Transit-Oriented Development] and R2X are brand new zoning districts,” said Ryan Yetzer, a community development planner. “They were just created within six months.”

The R2X rezoning proposal includes portions of East Side Pioneers, Historic Southwest, Kutzky Park, Lowertown, Slatterly Park and Sunnyside neighborhoods.

“It still allows for single-family homes,” said Yetzer, “but it also allows for duplexes, triplexes, small apartment buildings; it reduces parking standards to try and encourage those types of development.”

Homeowners at the open house expressed everything from interest to confusion to anger. Many wondered if the change would impact their property taxes.

“The land value may go up because the property next door just sold for $2 million, so that an apartment complex could go there,” said Yetzer. “If that happened, then your land looks more valuable because the land next to you sold for $2 million. But just based on the zoning or being next to an apartment building doesn't directly make your land more expensive, and thus you have higher taxes.”

For potential developers like Alexander Surles, having more property options isn’t a bad thing.

“We would like to bring affordable housing to the community, especially geared towards those who work for Mayo Clinic, as well as patients who might not have the financial resources to stay long-term,” Surles said.

The Transit-Oriented Development rezoning proposal encompasses properties along North & South Broadway, 2nd Street SW and 4th Street SE.

“It allows for a mixture of things, with the intent of getting more jobs and people on that corridor,” said Yetzer. “The zoning as a whole allows for larger buildings with more people in them. The parking standards as a whole are being reduced.”

That means new developments wouldn’t need to provide as much parking.

“The idea is that in the long-term vision of Rochester, there would be park-and-rides in the outskirts that folks could take, then ride the bus through one of the corridors into downtown,” Yetzer said.

Those affected by the proposal will have another opportunity to ask questions at an open house on Thursday at 125 Live from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The plan will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission on June 26 before it heads to City Council on July 22.


Hannah Tiede

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