Reading the Highland Villager #64

[The Villager causes late-night noise.]
[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. That's why I'm reading the Highland Villager so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Headline: Kidstuff’s cats shown the door; BZA denies variance for toy store’s creative signs
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [In the most despicable move yet by overly-controlling Grand Avenue Stepfordians] The cat sculptures on the sign of the toy store were not approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals, nor recommended by the Summit Hill Association. The Grand Avenue “Special sign district” limits signs to 80 feet, and the two cat sculptures are very large [larger, in fact, than the pair of lions outside the New York Public Library that turn into Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, but not as large as Egypt’s sphinx. –Ed.]

Headline: City imposes limits on student rentals near UST
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [The aforementioned discriminatory anti-Tommie] student housing ordinance passed through the city council on a 5-2 vote, with only [more conservative] CMs Bostrom and Tolbert voting against it. [This disappoints me.] Article includes prevaricative quote from CMs Carter III and Lantry, who says the city “has to try something new.” [Unless, of course, that new idea is untested and unstudied, and would likely have a string of bad unforeseen consequences, as is the case here.] Article closes with a quote from a fed-up homeowner who had “150 pound cement lions dragged from her yard." [I think the more likely culprit there is the anti-decorative-feline Summit Hill Association. –Ed.]

Headline: Council denies appeal to block Grand-Finn apartments
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city council didn’t grant the appeal of the recent building near St Thomas that would house students who attend St Thomas. [A.k.a. “Tommies,” scourge of the Earth, movers of large ornamental lions. Clarification: the appeal was to deny the building, so the building will be built. The developers were quite savvy about not requiring any variances for the site plan, which made it far more difficult for neighbors to put a halt to it. –Ed.]

Headline: Groundbreaking is imminent on three big projects near Iris Park
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: There are going to be new buildings on in the Iris Park neighborhood, including a new Headquarters for Habitat for Humanity, and expansion of the Episcopal Homes project.

Headline: Neighbors split over plans to restore nonconforming Summit Hill fourplex
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone is hoping to “convert” a building on Goodrich Avenue that was recently inhabited by an old lady into a four-plex. The building was historically a fourplex, until recently only contained an old lady. The owner is also trying to improve the and rehab the property. Neighbors are upset. [Isn’t the Summit Hill area the precise exact locale in which property values obsessed liberals were lambasted in Jonathan Franzen’s recent acclaimed novel, Freedom? –Ed.]

Headline: Grand Hill carriage house approved
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A family can add a carriage house on their property, for cars and old people. Article includes quote from the BZA about setbacks.

Headline: St Paul allows more overnight construction on light-rail line
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: LRT workers can work overnight 15 more times.

Headline: Cossetta stormwater runoff appeal may be heard on July 3
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The question of whether or not Cossetta (owner of Cossetta’s) can ignore parking lot design regulations intended to prevent stormwater flooding [because that would never happen, right Duluth?] for his new expansion is still not known. [It is known, however, that its OK for him to ignore the St Paul living wage ordinance. –Ed.]

Headline: St Paul city budget meetings are brewing in neighborhoods
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The mayor and city council members are going to meet with the public to talk about the city budget. [Most of this has likely already happened. –Ed.]

Headline: Summit-U board recommends dual name for Victoria station
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some people in the neighborhood want to name the LRT station “Victoria/Historic Rondo.”

Headline: Carmelo’s, Rusty Taco cited for liquor license violations
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Somehow, neither of these two restaurants had liquor liability insurance on time. [Is that like when you need insurance in case of vomit? Is that like having bacon, eggs, and kombucha in your fridge at all times in case of a hangover? –Ed.]

Headline: Mac-Grove Council advises against larger sidewalk cafe
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Mac-Grove neighborhood group has sided against the Groveland Tap’s plan for turning two of their street-front parking spaces into a sidewalk cafĂ© [a la the temporary sidewalks near Mears Park downtown.] Cited reasons given by the council include: “allowing sidewalks seating area to expand could add to litter and late-night noise, the “safety of putting pedestrians closer to the street and traffic, and “that of precedent: ‘if we allow this, we’re going to have a hard time saying no to other requests.’” [It’s hard to determine which of these latter two reasons are more cloying. First, the idea of putting people near the street is the whole idea of traffic calming. It’s as if the Highland Park group would prefer a pedestrian separated skyway system. Second, precedent isn’t really an issue here. It’s not a courtroom. Q: How will you say no to other requests in the future? A: Have a good reason. –Ed.]

Headline: Dino’s Gyros planning late autumn opening of Highland Village eatery
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Soon there will be a gyro place on Ford Parkway!

Headline: Plat approval paves way for 11 new homes on former Bush site
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Ending a long-running NIMBY battle in the summit area] there will be new homes built ion the site of an old children’s home / hospital thing in the Summit area. [Originally, if I recall, it was supposed to be a building for the Emily Program. –Ed.] Article includes the following sentence: “Neighbors who wanted to see an old wall saved will be disappointed.”

Headline: Selby-Milton apartment project fails to gain Summit-U’s support
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Surprising exactly zero people] The summit neighborhood group did not approve of plans to build an apartment building on Selby Avenue. Article includes the words “size”, “density,” “parking demand”. There is even a website. Article includes details about attempts by the exasperated developer to build something neighbors might like, including taking off a story, taking out windows, and reducing units.


Reuben Collins said...

NIMBY is out of control in St. Paul. This is ridiculous.

Kai said...

they should just change the name of the paper to Fortnightly NIMBY News

Evan Roberts said...

let me get this straight, they passed a restriction on current owners renting to students, and also blocked construction of new apartments that would rent to students?

I saw the Highland Villager when I was shopping last night, and thought this post should be up soon!

Bill Lindeke said...

Actually, they DID approve the new apartment building. The appeal was from neighbors who wanted to deny the approval.

Alex said...

I look forward to the day when the skyway network Bloomington is building to encourage pedestrianism near the Mall of America is extended thru Mac Groveland to Downtown Minneapolis.

Nathaniel said...

"Fortnightly NIMBY News" - I love it!

As a resident of a nearby neighborhood, I'm reminded of Franzen's Freedom often in Summit Hill / Mac-Grove / Highland Park.

I bike and run throughout the neighborhoods above daily. I see a lot of "We are the 99%" yard signs; and it's like, I'm doing the math here and you're getting pretty close. I'm thinking, maybe you're not 99, but certainly 95%.