Environmental Review

AUAR Study Area

Study Area

AUAR Process Overview

For information on the AUAR process visit the Environmental Quality Board webpage https://www.eqb.state.mn.us/content/auar-process

An Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) will be completed for the Upper Harbor Terminal Project. The AUAR is a form of environmental review that reviews a project's environmental setting, the potential environmental effects of the project, alternative scenarios, and a very specific mitigation plan.

The City can use an AUAR as a planning tool to understand how different development scenarios will affect the environment of their community before the development occurs. The process is designed to look at the cumulative impacts of anticipated development scenarios within a given geographic area, including noise, traffic and impact on cultural resources. Environmental analysis information from an AUAR can be used to inform local planning and zoning decisions.

The City Council will approve the scope of the proposed AUAR, which is anticipated to occur in spring 2021. Once the AUAR analysis is complete and the proposed mitigation strategies are identified, the Minneapolis City Council will make a determination on the adequacy of study following a public comment period.

An AUAR analyzes the following:

  • Land Use
  • Geology, Soils, and Topography/Land Forms
  • Water Resources
  • Contamination/Hazardous Materials/Wastes
  • Fish, Wildlife, Plant Communities, and Sensitive Ecological Resources (Rare Features)
  • Historic Properties
  • Visual
  • Air
  • Noise
  • Transportation
  • Cumulative Potential Effects

Development Scenarios

Two development scenarios, defined in Table 1, are proposed to be evaluated in the AUAR. Scenario 1 represents the density of the development proposed in the Upper Harbor Coordinated Development Plan (December 2020 Draft for Public Comment). Scenario 2 represents the maximum density allowed under the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

AUAR Development Scenarios

Component Scenario 1 (Draft Coordinated Development Plan) Scenario 2 (Allowable under 2040 Comprehensive Plan)
Residential units 500 890
Commercial (square feet) 50,000 55,000
Non-commercial: office, industrial (square feet) 315,000 640,000
Music venue (peak attendance) 10,000 10,000
Recreation (acres) 19.5 19.5


Spring 2021 – Scoping and Draft AUAR order
Summer 2021 – Draft AUAR and mitigation plan
Fall 2021 – Final Adoption of AUAR and mitigation plan


Upper Harbor Terminal AUAR Order - February 2021

UHT Scoping Document - February 2021