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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 09 July 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Changes to permit parking eyed
Proposed changes to St. Paul’s residential permit parking system are on hold until Wed., July 18. After public hearings on the changes on June 20, the St. Paul City Council laid the matter over for additional feedback. Most concerns about the changes were heard from neighbors of the University of St. Thomas in Merriam Park, and in the West End. About two dozen people attended the public hearing.

The city currently has 27 residential permit parking districts, in areas where institutional and commercial uses have caused spillover parking on residential streets. A study of changes, led by the Department of Public Works, took place over the past two years. While sweeping changes, including the elimination of some districts, was originally suggested by city staff, the resulting changes are more modest.

Changes are proposed to create standardization in residential permit parking rules among the districts, including consistency in the number of resident and guest permits a household can purchase. Under the proposed rules each household in a permit district would have the option of buying up to three resident permits and two visitor placards. Some districts have allowed up to six resident permits per household.

Other proposed changes would allow residents to buy permits online and would allow people who drive leased vehicles to get a permit.

Hamline-Midway resident Linda Jackson wants to see further restrictions on spillover parking. Jackson, who lives on Sherburne Ave., said her neighborhood currently has no parking except by permit 8am-6pm weekdays posted. She’d like to see permit parking enforced all of the time. Her block has seen an uptick in commuter parking since Green Line light rail began operates in 2014.

“We’re a park and ride … it has become an issue,” she said.

Tobacco licenses to be capped
Businesses wishing to sell tobacco products in St. Paul may be out of luck. The St. Paul City Council June 27 adopted an ordinance that caps the number of tobacco licenses in the city. The ordinance change, which would take effect in 30 days, wouldn’t allow new licenses to be issued. Instead, any business wanting a license to sell tobacco would have to wait until an existing license holder goes out of business, leaves the city, or gives up its license.

The city has between 240 to 260 tobacco license, held by grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, tobacco shops and other retailers.

A youth advocacy group from Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation was the only group to speak for the license cap at a June 20 public hearing.

No one spoke against. City Council members did get correspondence from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), a group of tobacco retailers. NATO Executive Director and Legal Counsel. Thomas Briant said the cap is unnecessary as the city’s previous efforts to restrict tobacco have already taken a toll. Restrictions on mental, mint and wintergreen tobacco products take effect Nov. 1. Briant said the existing regulations will result in store closures.

The city has taken a number of steps in recent years to try to reduce youth access to tobacco, and to restrict various types of flavored tobacco products sales to tobacco shops. That restriction raised concerns about a potential proliferation of tobacco product shops. Council members said the license cap would prevent an influx of new tobacco shops in the city.

Midway Pro Bowl seeks compensation
The ownership of the longtime Midway Pro Bowl, which closed last year to make way for the Allianz Field Major League Soccer stadium, is asking the city of St. Paul for relocation expenses. The request was made in early June to the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings. No hearing date has been set.

A hearing officer will have to decide whether the city is required to compensate Midway Pro Bowl or if the relocation was a private matter between tenant and landlord. The wrinkle is that the stadium, being built by a private partnership, will eventually be conveyed to the city.

Midway Pro Bowl was at Midway Center for more than 50 years. It and several other businesses were demolished to make way for the stadium. City officials contend the relocation expenses are a private matter between the business and its landlord, RK Midway, and that the landlord exercised a lease buyout clause.

Bowling center co-owners Alan Loth and Scott Koecheler had owned the business for 34 years. While they’d hoped to relocate in the new development, they were instead issued an order to vacate the property. They now run an Apple Valley entertainment Center, Bogart’s.

They are seeking just compensation including relocation benefits under the state’s Uniform Relocation Act. No specific amount is stated.

Big Top move approved
It’s official: Big Top Wine and Spirits, 1574 University Ave., can move into the former Midway Perkins restaurant. The St. Paul City Council June 13 approved technical changes to the city’s longstanding distance requirements between off-sale liquor stores.

No one appeared at a June 6 public hearing to speak for or against the changes.

The council approved changes for off-sale liquor establishments outside of the downtown business district that were licensed before Jan. 15, 2003. The changes allow the council to waive the current one half-mile distance requirement between stores if certain findings are met.

The new store location must be within a one-half-mile radius of its current location. The relocation of the off-sale liquor establishment is related to hardship or circumstances outside of the licensee’s control. Also, the new location of the off-sale liquor establishment meets the intent of the ordinance in preventing the over-concentration of off-sale liquor establishments in a small area. The potential for negative impacts on surrounding neighborhoods must also be considered for a distance exception.

Big Top’s current building is slated to be torn down, to make way for an east extension of Shields Ave. into the Allianz Field soccer stadium site.

Perkins closed last year. The move is considered an interim step as long-term plans for the Midway Center property call for redevelopment of the site.