Reading the Highland Villager #169

 [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: City unveils plan for redeveloping Ford site with businesses, multifamily housing, new parks and streets
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A city planning task force has come up with concrete ideas for the massive site that was once a old truck factory employing thousands of people. The plan envisions 4,000 housing units, 1,5000 jobs, and $20 million in new annual property tax revenue for the city. The plan includes a street grid, different zoning categories that range in height and density, decreasing as you go closer to the river [and things like stormwater features]. It will still be about 5 years until development is actually open for business. There will be a woonerf. Article includes a small map. [The plan is actually really good. It will be interes4ting to see what the developer proposal looks like once the property is actually sold in a year or two.]

Headline: City envisions over 40 acres for parks, recreation on Ford site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Around the housing will be a "public realm" with trees, green space, water feature, and ballfields. They will not necessarily be in the official parks department. Quote from neighbor: "Are we assuming there'll be just senior citizens or millennials living there?" [[The lack of] Kids today.] There will be a "public square-type park" and a bike path.

Headline: Potential routes for Riverview transit narrowed
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A potential transit line between downtown and the airport is not going to be planned along the CP main line from downtown or Shepard Road. [Good because both these routes lacked a key ingredient for transit: people.] Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. Quote form planner: "[there is] a constituency that is very clearly against rail or a dedicated guideway." [This is true and also depressing. Hm, I wonder what people who actually take transit think? There are still lots of options on the table along W7th Street and the CP spur, in mixed traffic or dedicated ROW. Surprisingly, the "hybrid" mixed-traffic then CP-spur route has very competitive route timing with the dedicated ROW W7th route option, primarily because of the higher speed potential and clearer ROW on the CP spur past the Schmidt Brewery.] The route should go through or skip the Ford site, and might or might not have grade-separated rail connections through Minneapolis to the Blue Line. It will be either be light rail, a modern streetcar, or a bus. [The next step is to see what the ridership and cost estimates turn out to be, and then we can make an actually informed decision.]

Headline: Public hearings set on proposed 2017 property taxes in St. Paul; Tax increases vary across city with median at $93
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Taxes are going up by a margin that seems relatively small compared to other things.

Headline: BZA grants variance for luxury apartments near Union Depot
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a variance to build a six-story 70-unit building on a parking lot in Lowertown. There will be 54 parking spaces. The FAR is 5.7, whcih is slightly higher than the zoning limit without a variance. [I think this is the lot with the tree, but it might be the one across the street, but I don't think so.]

Headline: Developer drops plans for St. Clair-Snelling apartments
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A company wanted to build a six-story 155-unit apartment building on Snelling [which makes sense given that it's a major street with high-frequency transit service] on the site of a strip mall. There is a study to change the zoning on the site. Developer claims water table factors were an issue in the change in plans. [Weird that it would be a problem here but not for other large buildings along this street or in the area. Article does not mention that neighbors were concerned about traffic, parking, and height, but they certainly were.]

Headline: Federation favors Quarry Farm as name of new West End park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Victoria Park development off West 7th street is park that might get the name Quarry Farm. [Lovely and charming name there... yikes! Glad they didn't go with Oil Spill Park, Enviornmentally Un-remediable Preserve, or Koch Tank Meadow.]

Headline:  Bennett's to close for spell due to lapse in insurance coverage
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A bar and steak house will have to close for ten days because they forgot to fill out paperwork and the City Council is imposing a penalty. There was debate on the council about how long the penalty should be and whether to have it be more flexible. [Whatever. Slap 'em on the wrist, I say. Don't let it happen again.]

Headline: Union Park receives city's blessing for first district plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A neighborhood group made a plan for things like walkability, bike lanes, development, growth, and neighborhood improvements. [Well done, I say.]

Note: This Highland Villager recap written to the dulcet tunes of Monteverdi's Orfeo.


David said...

The LTE's in this issue were surprisingly tame, guess they were saving the Anti-Porn letter for next issue

Rob said...

Thanks again for the Cliff's Notes version of the Villager!