24.8.15

Reading the Highland Villager #136

[Villagers await their fate on Summit Avenue.]
[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: Neighbors urge city not to sacrifice the potential of Midway parcel for glamour of professional soccer [See glamour of professional soccer here.]

Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be [was] a neighborhood groups meeting to discuss the [rough] talks around plans for a [possible] soccer stadium that may [or may not] be built at a site at Snelling and University [that has long been the subject of development talks to little avail]. The mayor was not planning on attending. Article includes the [vague] details on the [possible] plans, and some details on the [really rich] people who own the [potential] MLS franchise. "Local residents are concerned about traffic and parking," in addition to what other potential uses might happen on the site. Debate centers on "an entertainment district" [i.e. soccer?] vs. "a mix of housing and commercial uses. The neighborhood group has previously "passed a resolution supporting further exploration of the bus barn site as the possible site." [Which, you know, doesn't mean much at this point other than that the idea isn't dead in the water.] The group would like to see the "superblock develped as a whole." [The key part of that is recreating a street grid within the interior of the currently existing block, which has a long and interesting history as being a massive streetcar garage.] One quote from developer: "the superblock needs a catalyst and the stadium may be it." [I don't necessarily disagree, based on the earlier Met Council report which stated that the site required $30M in parking ramps. Which sucks, especially on a place with a LRT and an aBRT, and makes me wonder what kind of people do market analyses in the first place. But then again, I've never made any money in my whole life.]


Headline: Committee favors Kowalski's bid to rezone Grand property
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Vacated right of way between a grocery store and a [half-assed] city-owned quasi-freeway will be rezoned for commercial use. It used to be an alley. [Let's rezone all of Ayd Mill Road for commercial use.]


Headline: BZA grants variance for new Jimmy John's on Ford Pkwy.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: "Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches" is moving a block down the street because they got a parking variance that allows parking spaces to be 3' closer to the building. Local residents are concerned about traffic and parking,


Headline: UPDC to review parking for new Marshall Ave. restaurant
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A guy wants to open a restaurant on Marshall and the neighborhood is debating how many parking spaces will be required. Neighbors are worried about traffic and parking.


Headline: Commission favors rezoning, not variances for Grand condo
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer wants to turn an existing single family house into an eight-unit condo building. [In a very close vote] the Planning Commission denied the needed variances. Neighbors are worried about traffic and parking.


Headline: St. Paul seeks new owner for Lofts at Farmers Market
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city built an apartment building for $12M on a parking lot in Lowertown and is now selling it. It has pizza and apartments full of people. [Good pizza too, with great happy hour prices from 4:00 - 5:30.]


Headline: Radisson Red hotel to be part of Seven Corners Gateway site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A building is being built at the site that was partly an old [really quality] hardware store. surface parking lot [but before that actual buildings if you go back far enough]. It will have an 150-room hotel that features "a bar and deli and spaces for socializing and working." [Sounds daring.] "The site is currently used as a surface parking lot."


Headline: Retaining wall to be built prior to razing jail, West buildings
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Two buildings that are on the bluff downtown are being torn down to prepare them for construction but first the county needs to build a retaining wal alogn two blocks in order to seal existing tunnels and stabilize the bluff.


Headline: New limits on height, size of homes may not end teardown controversy
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The new city-wide ordinance intended to stop people who own homes from tearing their homes down and building larger homes that [may or may not be] "out of character" with existing homes [whatever that means] has been adopted and will take effect. It tweaks many things like height, lot coverage, and setbacks. Developers may still develop homes, however, which is why some people are discussing other options like a "conversation district ordinance." Some people would like a moratorium on teardowns. Article quotes CM Tolbert: "We've learned that [the teardown issue] is a really difficult issue." Enforcement is also difficult. [Local residents are concerned about traffic and parking.]


Headline: Green space for a growing city; St Paul debates how best to expand its parks as it promotes commercial, residential & industrial development
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council is looking at how to fund parks through development fees. The existing ordinance was tied to parking spots [but that's a problem as the city moves away from parking minimum requirements]. The city is proposing rules based on as a percentage of square feet. Parks advocates think the required fees or dedications are too low, but the Chamber and City Staff think it's not too low. There are a lot of details. [AFAIK, the City Council has not voted yet.]


Headline: St Paul focuses on new housing, jobs at Ford site.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Article includes picture of pickup trucks.] There was a meeting to talk about what kind of housing and jobs might be on the Ford site. There is growing demand for housing aimed at "single people" and "aging baby boomers." "More people favored low- or medium-density housing rather than high-density housing," but "Only a few people said they would like to see single-family homes built on the site." [I don't get it.]


Headline: Water utility plans slight hike in 2016
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Drip. Pipes are all around you.]


Headline: SuperTarget's request for new Midway liquor store is tabled
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Target is trying to sell booze but not for a few weeks. There are "technical questions" about how the distance requirement is measured. [Zeno's big box paradox: If your massive store is big enough, where do you measure its liquor ordinance distance from?] There is a liquor store nearby in a different strip mall already. [This article gets really philosophical, in that legal way. What is the sound of one liquor store door closing?] A decision might come in the future. [Local residents are concerned about traffic and parking?]


Headline: City decides lights can stay on Tavern on Grand
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Lights in a window surrounding a neon fish that were too bright for city code but also historic have been allowed to remain in their fish-peripheral places after somebody complained. They are called "chaser lights." "Electrical permits from the 1930s and 1940s were found." [I wonder where they found those. This gets my vote for dumbest story of 2015 so far.]

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