Dinkytown Commercial Historic District Consultant Scope for Design Guidelines
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
On July 10, 2015, the Minneapolis City Council designated the Dinkytown Commercial Historic District as a local historic district. The City is now seeking a consultant team to work on design guidelines for this district. The boundaries for this new local historic district are shown on the attached map. The area that is designated is smaller than the full area that was studied, and includes the extent of buildings and structures that were constructed between 1899 and 1929. While the designation study covers the history of the area through the early 1970s, a decision was made to focus primarily on preservation of buildings and structures from the streetcar era. There has been strong interest in this area and its history, and the designation study process was closely followed by the public, and received significant media coverage. There were a number of public meetings and forums that gave people a chance to comment on their own thoughts about designation, and respond to draft materials as developed. This is especially true because the initial work on the background began as part of the small area planning process for the area, culminating in the adoption of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Master Plan Update August 15, 2014 by the Minneapolis City Council. Despite being a small geographic area, Dinkytown has a wide range of buildings types from many different eras over the past 100+ years. Furthermore, most of the buildings within this area have been modified multiple times, posing questions regarding historic integrity for many of them although there was sufficient integrity to merit designation. This poses questions about defining compatible alterations and stewarding the buildings into the future. Indeed, the character of the area is an eclectic mix that has developed and evolved over time, more so than particular architectural styles. There has been a continual interest in looking at flexible guidance to reflect that eclectic character. The City Council approved the district with conditions around the flexibility of the design guidelines (see link in Relevant Local Documents section below). The district includes more than buildings as well. The boundary includes a portion of the adjacent railroad trench, as well as the bridges that span the trench. The guidelines will need to address these elements. The history of this area also has a strong social/cultural component, reflecting the people and events that have been in Dinkytown as much as it does the architecture. There is added challenge in addressing this through design guidelines, especially as the social and cultural activities span multiple decades and eras. Additionally, there are multiple City goals for the Dinkytown area. In addition to being a historic district, Dinkytown is also identified as an Activity Center in the Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, the Citys comprehensive plan. Activity Centers are identified for high density mixed use, with day-to-night levels of activity. It should be noted that the historic district covers only a portion of the Activity Center, and the designation study is only for the historic district not the surrounding development in the remainder of the Activity Center. The Activity Center as a whole already has advisory design guidelines within the adopted small area plan, but these new historic district design guidelines will provide an additional layer of guidance specific to the designated historic district. While the designation study focuses on the preservation of identified contributing buildings and structures, there is also the policy direction that this will coexist with new high density development as is already in fact the case with some recent construction in the area. In fact, the small area plan expanded the overall Activity Center boundary to ensure there was room for both growth and preservation. As such, there is no interest in an overall height limit for new development in the design guidelines. While there is only very limited opportunities for new development within the designated district, there is some. All these elements contribute to the scope of the design guidelines. At this point, alterations in the district are being evaluated under the Secretary of Interiors Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties. However, the intent is to have locally developed and adopted design guidelines in place in the near future. Once complete, the design guidelines will be brought to the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission for review and approval. This meeting will include a public hearing.
RELEVANT LOCAL DOCUMENTS
The Dinkytown Commercial Historic District Design Guidelines will be the first ones developed for this district. Existing documents that will be of use in the development of them include:
The Dinkytown Historic District Designation Study will form the basis for the design guidelines for this district. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/cped/projects/cped_dinky_study
The City Councils action on the designation study provided additional direction regarding the scope of the design guidelines. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@council/documents/proceeding s/wcms1q-078907.pdf
The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Master Plan Update, with the Dinkytown Business District Plan as a major appendix. This contains initial historic resources information and general policy related to both growth and preservation for the area. http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/marcyholmesplan
The University of Minnesota Campus Master Plan addresses Dinkytown and other nearby areas in terms of their relationship to campus and University priorities. It also covers the immediately adjacent historic resources in the Universitys own district. http://www.cppm.umn.edu/assets/pdf/2009_BOR_mp.pdf
The Marcy-Holmes neighborhood has all or part of three other historic districts with their own design guidelines: St. Anthony Falls Historic District, Fifth Street Southeast Historic District, and University of Minnesota Greek Letter Chapter House Historic 3 District. These may be worth reviewing to see the guidelines in place for nearby historic properties. http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/hpc/landmarks/hpc_landmarks_index
The proposed scope of work for the consultant team is described below. Please note that this is a preliminary assessment. The exact details of the scope will be discussed in subsequent contract negotiations and result in the development of a final scope of services. Consultants are encouraged to be creative in their approach to this planning process and recommend changes to the scope of work that they feel would benefit the project. Note that as this is a small district, there is an interest in having a fairly simple and straightforward set of guidelines. This will involve looking for a balance between growth and development, as well as between flexibility and certainty in the guidelines themselves. The intent is to preserve buildings and structures while allowing for the eclectic nature of the district to continue as its enduring feature. Due to the fact there has already been a substantial amount of public input through the small area plan and designation study processes, the design guidelines are being handled largely as a technical, in-house project. While there will be regular updates provided to the public and opportunity to comment on draft materials, there will not be an extensive community engagement process. The consultant will be expected to provide materials to share the draft guidelines with internal and external stakeholders, but not to participate in many public meetings except for the official public hearing at the Heritage Preservation Commission.
Scope of work:
Review existing policy framework and other key documents for the Dinkytown area with guidance for both historic preservation and growth, including the Dinkytown Historic District Designation Study,