30.10.14

Reading the Highland Villager #117

[A Villager embraces the sidewalk.]
[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]


Headline: Council passes mayor's 8-80 Vitality Fund; Palace Theater, street repairs, bikeways to split $42.5 million
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There's a pot of money for projects in Saint Paul and the city is going to spend it on some projects. CM Bostrom voted no because he prefers paving. Projects include a park at University and Griggs, restoring an old downtown theater, and the city's first protected downtown bike lane on Jackson Street. [Though the big question is if the city will be able to link this new network plan up to the already-existing heavily-used bike lanes on Summit Avenue. Without that, the bike loop will be weak tea.]


Headline: Developer tapped for 7 Corners Gateway
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A long-time vacant lot across from the hockey arena might be turned into a hotel/housing/retail thing. Opus/Greco is the developer's name. [At least it's not a practice facility or a parking lot.] Article includes [ominous] quote: "One issue that has yet to be sorted out is the possibility of skyway connections." [No, please no. A hundred reasons why...] CM Bostrom is pro-skyway. [Does he go outside? Does the light of day burn his eyes?]


Headline: Commissioners split on zoning for Sibley Plaza [Misleading headline; people merely asked questions.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Though it was a public hearing and not a vote] the Planning Commission seems split on whether or not to re-zone the strip mall to traditional neighborhood mixed-use zoning. [See both previous Villagers for for info.] Article includes highlights from the public hearing. [Note: Iw as there and we haven't voted on it yet.] Weirdest quote: "designs under TN seemed to 'turn their back on the neighborhood.'" [If by "neighborhood" you mean "parking lot."]


Headline: Salt Cellar may need more parking after all
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A restaurant that wants to open in a vacant building by Selby and Western may need to build one more parking space. [All this fuss about one parking space?] Article includes lots of detail about city parking requirements and more relaxed minimums based on "standard operating times" v. "peak times." [Basically, do you plan your parking lot for the day after Thanksgiving, or for all the other days of the year?] "Local restaurant owners and residents" complained loudly about existing parking difficulties in the area. [I hang out on this corner all the time, and sometimes you have to walk a few blocks to find a parking spot. Walking is nice and I like it. You should too.]


Headline: UST neighbors are finding students more disruptive than ever; Balmy fall has brought an increase in bad behavior
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Tommies are still drunk, getting drunker. Especially on "Tommie-Johnnie" weekend [whatever that is, I don't want to know]. Highlight of the article the quote that "serial neighbors interviewed for this story did not want their names used for fear of retaliation." [Wow. Do Tommies read the Villager?] Police are considering forming a "mobile field force." [I want to see a reality show based on this.]


Headline: Ethiopian restaurant on West 7th fined for license violations
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A restaurant [in a poor neighborhood] has to pay fines because people parked in the wrong places and their video system was not working and they didn't have a permit for plumbing and other repairs. Article includes quotes from CM Tolbert ("I wish it could be a bigger fine") and the owner of the building ("We have hundreds of supporters; the owner and management have come very very far in addressing concerns"). [This must be the place that used to be the Steelers bar.]


Headline: Insult to injury? University Ave. is assessed for street work
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Property owners are being assessed for streetscape improvements and new sidewalks. [This always is the case.] Best quote is from the guy who owns Wendy's: "Construction of the Green Line and any associated improvements did not increase the value of Wendy's property." [Well, I bet it did, just not of the Wendy's itself, which is a one-story fast food bunker just like every other one.] Article also references the Russian Tea House, MPR, and a few interesting churches.


Headline: City Council clears way for Summit hotel
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The proposed B&B-style hotel in an old building was approved by the City Council. Article includes a quote from a neighbor: "A hotel would degrade the neighborhood."


Headline: BZA lands blow in Summit Hill parking fight [This headline is an  example of why I find the Villager's tone so irritating. Is parking inherently good?]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: "The illegal conversion of a parking spot into a dwelling" has caused a ruckus. [Wouldn't want to have a human living in a place where a perfectly good car could be.] It all has to do with a garage apartment and whether it was legal or not when some people bought the house on Grand Avenue. [Saint Paul needs an ADU ordinance. Summit Hill has many historic carriage house-type things.] Article ends by saying "BZA members also noted that the garage stalls must be used for vehicles, not storage." [Really? Is that a thing?]


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