Reading the Highland Villager #71

[A Highland Village lightpole.]
[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.]

Headline: New aircraft navigation plan raises red flags in Minneapolis; City officials want a new study in light of changes
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Planes are still flying in and out of the MSP airport, making noise.

Headline: Ford plant demolition to start next year; Planning Commission still must OK master plan for clearing site
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Bulldozers will likely being destroying old Ford factory building early next year. There still isn't a master site plan for the area. There's a City task force, but they haven't decided anything yet. There's a separate "demolition plan" that needs to go through the public hearing process before the bulldozers can do their work. Article includes phrase "recycling light bulbs."

Headline: Desnoyer still hoping for a I-94 sound wall
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Cars are still driving back and forth on I-94, making noise. Sound walls cost $1 million / mile.

Headline: Nonconforming Grand Avenue dog care center's days may be numbered
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Twin Cities' first ever "dog day care", which opened in 1999, is a "nonconforming" business that doesn't meet code approval. [Note: At today's Planning Commission meeting, the nonconforming use permit was granted. As a non-dog owner, the whole dog day care concept seems impossibly tortured. If you need to pay for "day care" for your dog, why have a dog? Dogs are not humans. Get a cat. -Ed.]

Headline: To cover rising costs, city increases fees for vacant buildings, problem properties
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Vacant buildings will have to pay $300 more in fees to the city. [This seems highly reasonable. We need to incentivize property owners to do something anything, to re-use vacant buildings. OTOH, maybe this will just encourage people to bulldoze vacant homes, which is bad. -Ed.] There are 1200 vacant buildings in the city of St Paul.

Headline: New Highland Village sign district rules are released
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: You cannot have flashing or changing signs in the "Highland Village." [We're looking at you, Ford Parkway Super America.]

Headline: Council seeks more time to tweak permit changes
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council is changing proposed changes to the city's non-conforming permit structure. The Planning Commission had recommended rules making it easier to get non-conforming use permits, reducing the number of signatures from neighbors, and capping the total number of signatures. Neighborhood groups didn't like these changes. [The City Council seems to be siding more with the neighborhood groups. -Ed]

Headline: Grand Ave. zoning study on fast track for hearing
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: There was a public meeting about the redevelopment and zoning study for the West side of Grand Avenue [the one that was initiated because there was an apartment building built near St Thomas]. Article includes [sensible] quote from CM Tolbert: "students and student rentals need to go somewhere."

Headline: St. Paul finds matching funds for Charles Ave. bikeway; City Council taps $166K in unspent CIB money for 750K traffic calming plan
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city found some Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) money to pay for the Charles Avenue bikeway, approved earlier by the City. Most of the money for the project comes from the Feds, MN-DOT, and from a STAR grant.

Headline: Against All Odds; The former St. Francis Hotel has survived a few setbacks since its days as the center of St Paul's entertainment district
Reporter: Lisa Heinrich

Short short version: Historical article on the building on 7th Place Mall [which houses the Palace, Breuggers, Candyland, and Wild Tymes, &c]. Article includes lots of historical tidbits. This site used to be home to a temporary state capitol building, the city's largest "soda fountain," and the USA's biggest "single-room pool hall."

Headline: Local affordable housing projects receive funding
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The state Housing Finance Agency gave out a bunch of money for affordable housing, including some for the Old Home dairy site on University and Western, the Episcopal Homes site, and the old Midway Chevrolet site. [This all sounds great! -Ed.]

Headline: No Time For Poverty seeks helping hands for new clinic
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A St. Paul nonprofit is trying to open a clinic in Haiti.


Julie said...

For the record, I think some of the rising costs for vacant properties are the inspection offices trying to create job security for themselves.

I say this as a responsible owner of a Class I vacant property who has been downright harassed by no fewer than 3 city departments who fail to communicate with each other and are, generally speaking, nuts. (I had a recent conversation about "there is a sofa in your porch so this means the property isn't vacant!" with one, I kid you not. Because apparently the presence of a sofa is Highly Meaningful.)

If they'd spend more time harassing banks about ill-kept bank foreclosures with squatting winos and less time harassing me, I'm sure that would be useful.

Bill Lindeke said...

Julie, excellent point. Also reminds me of my couch post from a while back (http://tcsidewalks.blogspot.com/2009/04/couches-on-porches.html)m

Jeff Z said...

If the Ford Pkwy Super America is Considered part of the Highland Village (which I don't) then Charles Schultz arena falls in the same boat.