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House Arrest: Minneapolis city council sets size limits on new homes

Is your modest-size home currently dwarfed by your neighbor's ostentatious quasi-mansion? Do you endure pangs of inadequacy every time you drive by that smug bastard's oversize monolith of a house, what with its soaring overhangs and looming facades mocking your every sense of conventional modesty? Well fear not! That sumbitch's oneupmanship is henceforth outlawed! [shaking fist]

In a unanimous vote on June 29, the Minneapolis city council approved an ordinance that "address[es] resident concerns over the size and bulk of new homes" and "encourages traditional building features." After the ordinance takes effect (most likely next week after Mayor Rybak okays it), new homes will be forbidden from exceeding half the square footage of their lots and will be prohibited from surpassing 35 feet in height or two-and-a-half stories, whichever is less.

"This was one of the biggest issues I heard about when I knocked on doors in 2005," said 13th Ward Council Member Betsy Hodges in introducing the ordinance. "I think this strikes a balance between the modern desire to build larger homes with the desire to keep what we love so much about our city and its neighborhoods."

In voicing what can only be interpreted as support for the code (considering he voted for it), 2nd Ward Council Member Cam Gordon noted that, "Around the University area, there's been a lot of tearing down small houses and building large homes, often for rental purposes."

The ordinance pertains only to new homes and remodels. No standing houses will be affected.