Activists turn to creative videography in their efforts to allow fourplexes throughout the city.
For Minnesota’s “Yes In My Backyard” advocates, zoning is a blood sport.
Minneapolis lawmakers are weighting a proposal to change the city’s zoning regulations governing the construction of fourplexes—small apartment buildings with four units. As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported, this would be “a historic rewriting of the zoning rules that would allow property owners to build fourplexes on any residential property in the city. The city’s current zoning prohibits them from roughly two-thirds of Minneapolis and more than 80 percent of its lots.”
The coming referendum on the character of the city has pro-density YIMBY activists who support the proposal ready to rumble, as the below video makes clear.
You see, the guy in the white undies is the city’s current zoning regulations, and the guy in the black pants is the YIMBY movement. When pants guy smashes undies guy, the result is “4PLEX.”
The video goes on to explain how fourplexes could help relieve the affordability crisis in Minneapolis by providing housing for four big-time-wrestling-dude families instead of just one. These kind of buildings already exist throughout that Upper Midwestern metropolis, but new ones can no longer be built in most neighborhoods, due to “decades of downzoning.” What’s more, fourplexes are almost always cheaper than single family homes or downtown high-rises—for wrestlers and regular Minnesotans alike.
The video comes from an upstart sardonic hyperlocal news-and-advocacy entity known as Wedge LIVE, whose mission is to “cover the the issues that are sending longtime residents over the edge.” Wedge LIVE’s creator, John Edwards, is also co-founder of the Minneapolis activist group Neighbors for More Neighbors, which is currently mobilizing around the fourplex proposal. (Reached for comment via Email, Edwards explained that "[p]eople who are against legalizing fourplexes prefer a zoning code that encourages exclusive neighborhoods and favors luxury forms of development like giant single-family homes.”)
These groups follow in the footsteps of YIMBY groups in other cities that have used provocative and often silly tactics to draw attention to their cause:
Just heard that anti-housing activists have filed to run a BALLOT PROP against building housing at Balboa Reservoir.— Laura Foote Clark 🥑 (@NeverSassyLaura) March 14, 2018
They'll be starting to collect signatures soon to block the 1,500+ units. pic.twitter.com/DQ8w1OheTC
In a matter of years, this movement has gone from a rag-tag group of activists to a bona fide political movement, represented by powerful politicians like Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and California State Senator Scott Wiener. Whatever the YIMBYs are doing, it seems to be working.