Photo: Elizabeth Flores
A proposal to allow more billboards in downtown Minneapolis is dead.
Late Friday afternoon, new City Council Member Steve Fletcher sent out a notice that an ordinance change put forth by Council Member Abdi Warsame for more billboards wasn’t going to be pursued.
“In short: it is dead,” Fletcher said in a statement. “Any ordinance that was not passed before the end of the four-year council term is automatically ‘returned to author’ and would need to be reintroduced to become active again in the new term. Council Member Warsame, the ordinance’s original author, has expressed to me that he does not intend to reintroduce the ordinance. I join the near-unanimous voice of my Ward 3 neighbors in opposing the ordinance and will not reintroduce it.”
Warsame proposed expanding the area where off-premise advertising could be built from its current area along portions of Hennepin Avenue, Target Center and U.S. Bank Stadium to parts of Washington Avenue and a wider area around the stadium.
Warsame told the Star Tribune last month the ordinance would have allowed for more updated billboards and would have given more flexibility to advertisers during the Super Bowl and beyond.
Fletcher, who was recently elected to the city’s Third Ward to fill the empty seat left by new Mayor Jacob Frey, said his office heard from a lot of residents about the proposal.
The amendment would have grown the downtown entertainment billboard district so that billboards would be allowed on the south side of 6th Street S. and along the west side of Park Avenue from 6th Street to 4th Street S. near the stadium. Wall signs would have been permitted along both sides of Hennepin Avenue, beginning at 8th Street to Washington Avenue as well as along the south side of Washington Avenue from Hennepin Avenue eastward to the highway.
The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association strongly opposed the proposal. Earlier this week, the Minneapolis Planning Commission voted to continue the discussion on the ordinance change until later in the month to allow community groups more time to review the proposal.
“In the process of researching this ordinance, many of us learned that the current law already allows more new billboards than most of us realized or would like to see since much of Ward 3 is in an ‘opportunity zone’ for billboards. … My office will explore whether this zoning policy should be revisited to further restrict billboards in downtown areas with residential land use,” Fletcher said.