Reading the Highland Villager #165

[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free. See also: Three Reasons Why I Re-Blog the Highland Villager.] 

Headline: Council majority seeks to raise city levy by up to 8.8%; But Coleman's veto may lower the ceiling to 7%
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The mayor and the City Council are mildly fighting about how much to tax and spend. The money in question would fund fire and police equipment, parks, libraries, and rec centers. [Note that they this week agreed to compromise in the middle after a brief game of chicken.]

Headline: Liquor license sought for West Seventh theater [It would be funny if by "theater" here the Villager editors meant "the theatrics of everyday life", i.e. the somewhat-perfunctory dramatic playing out of roles such as "angry old man", "mouthbreathing drives-everywhere lady", "undercapitalized entrepreneur", "overeducated sarcastic blogger" and "token millennial". I would love to see this play and it would definitely require a liquor license.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A couple who are trying to restore an old movie theater would like to serve booze there during events. Neighbors are concerned about parking, noise, and which door people will use when they enter and leave the building.

Headline: License conditions sought in connection with Dannecker's sale
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The owners of a [very very strange old] liquor/grocery store [grandfathered in before such things were separated legally, though now in the day and age where these two products are re-combining in spirit, though with separated doorways, it seems less striking somehow] are trying to sell it. City inspectors would like the windows to be more transparent, the trash picked up more frequently, and tighter control of cigarette sales. Neighbors are concerned about homeless people drinking, litter, and public urination. [Fair enough.] Article includes a brief history of the business and some [world-weary] quotes from the current owner. [OK, so this store is really weird. Go in there sometime and see for yourself. The grocery selection alone is bizarre, and it along with the vastly superior Morelli's on Railroad Island, and Sentryz in Northeast, are the only grandfathered-in liquor/groceries in the city AFAIK.] Best quote from a neighbor: "We've had times when there's a regular trail of liquor bottles along View Street." [Sort of like a F'd-up version of alcoholic Hansel and Gretel.]

Headline: Fire station delayed, but other local projects get CIB boost
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The committee that does these things approved most of the budget for new city projects, but not the new designs for the fire station on University Avenue. Money spent will go to fixing some parks and libraries and a bridge on Summit Avenue.

Headline: St. Paul looks to limit next year's CIB funding, revamp process
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The complex committee process aforementioned has gotten too complex and some people like the Deputy Mayor and CM Stark would like to make it simpler. [I wrote an article on this very topic last year.] Quote from a neighborhood group person: "After the big projects are funded, there's so little left over for smaller neighborhood projects." [This is absolutely true. The vast majority of the money goes to public works for big-ticket items like bridges or fire stations.] Neighbors are concerned about "backlash." Some say that task forces should be done away with. [We could put a task force together that we could call "Ultimate Omega Force" that would focus on ending task forces.]

Headline: HRA agrees to sale of Chestnut Street site for new 175-unit housing complex
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A parking lot owned by the city by the science museum used to store empty cars will become an apartment building for people to live inside. [More of this please.] Article includes the word "vibrant."

Headline: Residents still taking issue with plans to upgrade McQuillan Park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city wants to fix up a run-down park from the 50s. They wanted to remove the tennis court but tennis-loving neighbors want to keep it. "That tennis court is in terrible terrible shape," says one. There isn't enough money to fix the court, but if they do try it will mean fewer playgrounds. [Summit-Avenue-area tennis court battle royale reminds me of this.] Some neighbors want swings but there isn't enough room. There is a debate about whether paint will suffice.

Headline: Owners beware: EAW could be needed before demolition begins
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: When people tear down or move a structure there's a form they have to fill out, but few people seem to actually do it in a very timely manner. Best sentence: "Club members want to replace the existing clubhouse and pool and add a pergola." [What's a pergola? Baby parsnip greens?]

Headline: City encourages addt'l houing units on lots near Green Line; Backyard trailer homes being considered [I always thought that the proper abbreviation was "add'l"?] 
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There's a new ordinance that allows the construction of "ADUs" e.g. small homes or apartments near the light rail. It is still too expensive though so nobody is doing it. [One key piece of the policy that makes it more expensive was whether or not people had to have the staircases enclosed, which seems silly to me because many apartments and duplexes including mine have outdoor staircases.] Also the word "small trailer home" is used in an inset box having to do with a new state law intended for short-term needs like health emergencies etc. [Trailer homes! I am expecting at least one good LTE on this topic in the next issue.] Some people want the ordinance to be citywide and some do not. [Why not, I say. Why not?]

Headline: City Council rejects request for house on narrow West End lot
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [So in a bit of news that is the opposite of the thing we just read about] A guy wanted to build a house on a small piece of land but will not be allowed to. Neighbors are concerned about the house's size and the "character of the neighborhood." [Which has something to do with liquor bottle breadcrumbs, at least according to this edition of the Highland Villager.] Quote from the guy: "[neighbors have a] cronyism kind of mentality."

Headline: Midway Center to house new substation for St. Paul police
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The old strip mall at Snelling and University will have a small police department now. There has been a lot of crime in the area.

Headline: Despite protests, Summit Hill home can add front-yard garage
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council will allow a homeowner to build a garage in front of their home, maybe. CM Prince voted against it, calling the garage a "snout house." [Huzzah!] CM Noecker says other homes have garages so it wouldn't affect the "character." [Character. It's a very vague concept really.] Neighbors are concerned that the garage is "out of character."  Best quote: "This is city living; front-yard garages have no place in a traditional neighborhood." [This story confuses me. I agree with the cranky neighbor and CM Prince!]

Headline: City Council limits Cleveland residents to two district parking permits
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city will not let people who live on Cleveland Avenue, in an area with a lot of restricted parking, buy [by "buy" they mean "pay tiny token amount for"] as many permits as they want. [Really really makes sense. Also they should be more expensive of course.] Best quote: "If I live in Area 22, I should be treated in the same way that other Area 22 residents are." [Parking + Hunger Games = Cleveland Avenue.] CM Stark quote: "There is a secondary market in the sale of parking permits in this part of town." [Parking + scalpers + Hunger Games + Tommies = TOTAL CARPARKOLYPSE.] Everyone else though can still "buy" all the permits they want. [This should change STAT. My version of hell would be to be the person in charge of administrating this.]

1 comment:

fasolamatt said...

I miss the opera coda.