Reading the Highland Villager #216

[The Villager started as a publication for dense apartments in 1941?]
[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: Ryan Companies reveals what it will and will not include in plan for Ford site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The company who is going to develop the buildings on the Ford site released some plans. They will not be building 10-story buildings, even though they could. There were other details and they had a meeting to tell people about them. Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. The developer is "listening." Properties that weren't included in the site area will not be included in the plans for the site area. There will be affordable housing and some row houses, maybe. There will not be a golf course, Ford museum, or a "corporate campus."  [I imagine that if the "Stop the Ford site people" had gotten there way and watered down the density in the zoning, the plan here would be even less dense.]

Headline: Property tax picture coming into focus with proposed city, county levy hikes; Owners of median-value home in St. Paul will pay a projected 0.5%-18.8% more, but that is without including the school levy
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Property taxes are going up.

Headline: Debate continues over organized trash plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is still rolling out the new system for trash collection, which will reduce the number of trash trucks driving around the city. Some people like it, others do not. There is a petition, and groups with acronyms. [As with many things in ad hoc Saint Paul, the existing system worked well for wealthy well-connected folks and less well for those that were not. Not to mention hidden costs. Still, I do think the city's attempts to work with and mollify the existing trash companies means that the resulting compromise is more expensive than it has to be if the city negotiators had held to a harder line about what they were asking for and how they were going to go about it.]  

Headline: Variance approved for 162-unit building at Marshall-Western; Five-Story structures to replace Boy Scouts HQ
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A new apartment building will be built on Cathedral Hill. Neighbors are concerned about traffic, parking, and protruding balconies.  [It was rezoned last December, and these extra levels of approval take a long time. It coulda been built and done by now, with people moving in.]

Headline: Newcomer Nelson wins over Ward 4 in City Council race ["Newcomer Nelson"... how long do you have to live in Saint Paul before you are not a "newcomer"? 10 years? More?] 
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: Quote from second-place finisher, Shirley Erstad: "Ironically, my age and experience made me the insider candidate when, in fact, I was the independent voice willing to as questions of current leaders, many of whom supported my opponent. ... We knew it'd be an uphill battle because I have a record of doing my homework and asking thought questions. MY opponents's DFL and special-interest endorsements meant she revved outside money and volunteers while our campaign was totally grassroots. The part system and politically powerful benefit by having people who stay in their lanes. Identity politics are big right now." [Mitra stays "inside her lane"? That's pretty amusing. I imagine that when she was just exploring running for office, all sorts of people gave her advice about what not to do to win in Saint Paul. I imagine she looks notes, wrote down the list of "what not do to", crumpled up the paper and threw it in the trash, because she did tons of things that conventional wisdom would say you should not do. Anyway, this is to say that it's not "identity politics" that are big right now, but rather a urban equity-focused local-level left politics that are becoming big right now, especially in cities facing a Trumpian landscape. Also, having lots of volunteers are the definition of grassroots. Also, Erstad is / was well connected to "insider" circles of people like St. Paul STRONG and former office holders, etc. Anyway, not great sour grapes here.]  Former Mayor Latimer quoted later as an Erstad supporter, along with a few other old-school St. Paul pols.

Headline: City tees up a story for repurposing Highland Nine-Hole; Requests for more field space prompt a review of gold course's best use
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Parks Dept. is thinking about what to do with a not-very-well-used golf course. Possibilities include soccer fields and other sports. The course used to be an archery range [WHAT!??? WOW! Perhaps this was how Saint Paul neighborhood disputes were resolved before District Councils...] until 1971. There is no timeline. CM Tolbert is involved. [I have an idea for a way to re-use this park, help solve the housing crisis, and raise money for the city to do equity work. Hint: it involves housing.] 

Headline: Mendota's 2040 Plan seeks more development downtown; City of 200 aims for growth in population and a wider tax base
Author: Mimi Geller

Short short version: [Wow, a story about Mendota? Wow.] Apparently Mendota has a comp plan as well. It has 100 pages. [That's half a page for each resident.] They would like to have a new building.

Headline: Ford Parkway condo assn. agrees to replace landscaped buffer; new trees and shrubs will restore privacy of adjacent homes
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A condo association will have to replant threes and shrubs off Ford Parkway. The building was accidentally built too close to the property line many years ago. Neighbors are concerned about "exposure." [Free idea: fig trees with fig leaves on them?]

Headline: UST turns attention to more on-campus student housing; University's master plan suggests two residential buildings on Grand Ave.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The University of St. Thomas might try and build new on-campus housing on Grand Avenue. They have long promised to try and do that. Neighbors are concerned about buildings being too high and/or buildings being too close to Grand Avenue. [FACT: Based on a study I have performed, students have to live somewhere.] 

Headline: Fire Station 10 earns historic designation
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old fire station on Randolph Avenue received historic designation. There are plans to convert the building into a brewery and/or coffee shop. Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking.

Headline: Upside of downsizing; Mpls. man is living small & loving it with his accessory dwelling unit 
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: A guy in Minneapolis lives in a smaller-than-expected home. Article includes extensive interview.

Headline: Support builds for allowing accessory dwellings citywide
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city of Saint Paul might allow ADUs Neighbors are concerned about traffic, parking, and vague nuisance-y things. CM Bostrom is quoted: "People will try to convert these to all rentals." City staff says they have to be owner-occupied. The Summit Hill Association is against it.

Headline: Dynamic signs at Treasure Island/Tria Rink will need to wait
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The old Dayton's cum [architecturally Frankenstinian] hockey rink thing can't have flashy digital signs yet. CMs Tolbert and Thao say the flashy signs would "add to a vibrant downtown" but CM Henningson says they might be a distraction. [I do not think we need a big digital sign at Wabasha and 6th, like at the Xcel. It's a downtown core area, and should have human scale pedestrian scale signage.]  

No comments: