Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Monitor in a Minute

Posted on 11 September 2017 by Calvin

Compiled by JANE MCCLURE

Super USA is fined
The Super USA convenience store at 1333 Thomas Ave. must pay a $200 fine for selling tobacco products to an underage person, the St. Paul City Council decided Aug. 23. The penalty is the first under the store’s current ownership.

Store staff failed a tobacco compliance check in June when a 16-year-old female came in to purchase cigarettes. The young woman was not asked to show her identification before making the purchase, and she was sold a pack of cigarettes in violation of state law and city ordinance.

City licensing staff routinely do compliance checks to see if businesses are selling tobacco products to underage customers.

Como funding is accepted
The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory will benefit from additional grant funding, thanks to a multi-year Legacy Grant received from the State of Minnesota for arts and cultural heritage projects. The St. Paul City Council voted to accept the funding in August. It was approved earlier this year.

Legacy grants are provided through a statewide sales tax.

The council resolution provided that $500,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $1,500,000 in fiscal year 2019, are appropriated from the arts and cultural heritage fund for education programs, habitat enhancements, special exhibits, music appreciation programs, and historical garden access, and preservation.

The city must seek quarterly reimbursement for grant work.

Healthcare dwellings denied
The St. Paul City Council has decided that temporary health care dwellings will not be allowed in St. Paul. The council voted in August to opt out of a 2016 state law allowing the small dwellings.

The intent of the law was to allow family members to take care of an ill loved one at home while allowing that person to live in a small structure or trailer on the home property. The law defines “mobile residential dwellings” as tiny houses, trailers or pods.

While the law was passed with good intentions, cities around the state raised red flags. One concern is that cities, not the state, typically regulate zoning. Another is that it could be difficult to permit and track the dwellings, to make sure they do not become permanent housing. The law was written with a provision that cities could opt out. Many cities have chosen to do so, with the idea that city officials could later craft their own zoning regulations if they wish.

Several city departments including fire, safety and inspections, and planning and economic development studied the state law after an interim ban was passed almost a year ago. One concern is that the temporary structures don’t typically meet state building, plumbing, and mechanical codes, and could pose risks for residents. Placement of the temporary dwellings too close to homes and garages could create fire hazards. The temporary units are also seen as being inconsistent with the city’ housing plans.

Area district councils have reviewed the recommendations. Most have agreed to support the opt-out. Summit Hill Association sent a letter in support of opting out to the City Council. Como Community Council asked that the opt-out be reconsidered, stating that the state law has benefits for families.

No one appeared at an August public hearing to speak to the issue.

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