Reading the Highland Villager #45

[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 so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.] 

Total # of articles about sidewalks: 11
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure: 11

Headline: Lawsuit does not stop PPL project; Overall zoning change may clear way despite loss of lot-size variance
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [In an ongoing Villager story] A recent successful lawsuit by [NIMBY] neighbors attempting to prevent an anti-poverty non-profit from building affordable housing along West 7th Avenue will not have much effect because a committee of the city’s Planning Commission is removing the “minimum lot size” portion of the official city plan. [Let’s just pause for a moment and think about whether or not a less than two-acre lot is large enough for an apartment building. Yes. Yes it is. What is the purpose of such a minimum regulation if not an ideological commitment against rental housing and density? –Ed.] The amendment will be up for a vote by the full city council later this week. [Article is very long and includes kvetching.]

Headline: Historic status sought for Thompson Hall
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The large building on Marshall Avenue that has long been a meeting hall for the deaf may join the National Register of Historic Places. The building was built in 1916, and originally included a “ladies’ parlor, a billards room, and a bowling alley.”

Headline: Committee favors rezoning lot for Mississippi Market Parking
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The co-op grocery store on Selby Avenue will be able to tear down a vacant house to expand its parking lot according to the Planning Commission’s Zoning Committee. There is some debate about whether or not a large oak tree will be cut down. Article includes [valid] quote by a neighbor claiming that her neighborhood will be dominated by surface parking lots.

Headline: Keeping officers on the streets will mean tradeoffs in St. Paul; Longer waits for reports, higher impound fees part of proposed police budget
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Tax cuts are taking their toll on the SPPD budget. Article includes multiple pithy quotes from Chief “Tom Smith.”

Headline: Despite $6.9 million tax hike, county eyeing $15.4 million in cuts; Among the two dozen plus people in attendance at the hearing, 10 were Ramsey County judges – about a third of the county bench.
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Same story as above, only with the county court and social service system.

Headline: Council poised to approve West End zoning changes
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version:  The city is almost done with three [(!)] distinct studies of the area near the corner of West 7th, Smith, and Grand Avenues, and is likely to approve a change to Traditional Neighborhood zoning [which will make it more difficult to sell or construct auto-oriented businesses in the area, instead encouraging mixed-use and pedestrian-oriented building types. –Ed.]. Affected properties include the old gas station, the former tire store, and a bank that has had “a number of calls from auto related businesses interested in the site.” The move angers commercial property  owners who may lose money. The move pleases neighbors and the local neighborhood group, who don’t like living next to auto body shops. [For some reason, the change also limits the ability of homeowners to subdivide or “convert” their houses into duplexes. –Ed.]

Headline: Union Park seeks conditions on St. Thomas liquor license
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The local district council is asking that St Thomas limit their outdoor liquor sales to a specific section of campus before allowing them to get a city liquor license.

Headline: Dino’s plan for new restaurant in Village approved by HDC
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [After a "gyro-ic" lobbying campaign, ] The city has given permission for construction of a small square one-storey Dino’s Gyros on Ford and Finn in Highland Park. It will include a “’Snoopy’ drinking fountain.”

Headline: Dilapidated Roblyn Avenue building given short reprieve
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council is asking that someone fix up the old building on “1440 Robyln Avenue.” Or else.

Headline: Local projects benefit from state and Met Council grants
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Met Council is giving money to a charer school, the [aforementioned] PPL project, the Schmidt Brewery, and the Pioneer Buidling in downtown.

Headline: City Council asked to decide fate of Pelham development; Second appeal attempts to adjust the site plan for proposed industrial center
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The local neighborhood group is fighting to block the new industrial project near the corner of Pelham and University [mentioned in last fortnight’s recap] that had been approved by the Planning Commission. The City Council will vote on it someday.

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