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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Monitor In A Minute Aug. 2018

Posted on 06 August 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Historic Resources Survey
The Hamline-Midway Neighborhood Historic Resources Survey has won a nod from the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). The commission reviewed and made comments on the report, and then sent it on to state historic preservation officials for further review.

The study, which was reviewed at a neighborhood meeting in June, won HPC praise for its focus on neighborhood people as well as places. But there were questions about why the study didn’t draw more on historical archives including Ramsey County Historical Society, Hamline University, Hamline Midway History Corps and Hamline Church United Methodist. But HPC members also noted the survey is a ‘reconnaissance’ document, meaning more studies can be done in the future. Such a survey is intended to be a basis for future surveys.

Conducted by Summit Envirosolutions, Inc., the survey area included the geographic boundaries of District 11: Pierce Butler Rte., Lexington Pkwy., University Ave., and Transfer Rd. This area includes about 3,000 properties, and the survey focused on 515. Of those, 182 had been previously inventoried and 12 torn down. It included five schools, one university campus, one public library, nine parks and playgrounds, ten religious properties, and one barn, along with single-family homes, multi-family homes, and commercial buildings.

The last assessment, the St. Paul and Ramsey County Historic Sites Survey, was conducted 35 years ago.

The individual properties and areas of the neighborhood identified in the survey may be designated as St. Paul Heritage Preservation sites and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Trend Bar
The Trend Bar, 1537 University Ave., must pay a $500 fine for a license violation, the St. Paul City Council decided July 11. But the fine will be stayed for one year and waived if there are no further violations.

In May an assault occurred outside of the Trend Bar. The bar is required to have working video cameras inside and outside of the premises, but the cameras malfunctioned. The St. Paul Police Department wasn’t able to get a videotape of the assault, said Assistant City Attorney Therese Skarda.

Bar co-owner David Imsdahl admitted the violation and said he would pay the fine but asked for a hearing before the City Council. He has since purchased new surveillance equipment.

“It’s a really tough neighborhood right now,” said Imsdahl. He and his staff deal with behaviors that take place outside of the bar, including loitering, illegal drug transactions, public intoxication, and fights. “We struggle with it every day. We’re doing our best.”

Imsdahl said he had gotten feedback that the Trend Bar isn’t being cooperative with police, which he said is not the case.

Ward Four Council Member Samantha Henningson said she is aware of the business’s cooperation with police and the area’s problems.

“I know it has been tough,” she said. Henningson said while she is sympathetic to the issues the bar owners and staff face, she is recommending that the fine is paid. But she agreed with a suggestion by Council President Amy Brendmoen that the fine could be stayed and waived if there are no more violations in one year.

Skarda said the last violation was in 2016 when a patron left the bar with alcohol.

Zoned single-family;
City staff say duplex;
Planning says triplex;
approved as fourplex
A Hamline-Midway building owner can use its property as a fourplex, the St. Paul City Council decided July 18. The council upheld an appeal by Brett Ripley to use 1685 W. Taylor Ave. for four dwelling units, with conditions to ensure tenant safety during building renovations.

Ward Four Council Member Samantha Henningson said the appeal should be granted. She noted it was used as a fourplex until 2006, and that the complex history of the property shows that the St. Paul Planning Commission erred in ruling that the building should be a triplex but not a fourplex.

The commission made its decision in June. She said the building size and configuration calls for a fourplex. Approval is with conditions, including requirements for a building inspection in one year.

The St. Paul Planning Commission in June recommended that the property could be used as a triplex but rejected Ripley’s request to allow four units there. City staff had recommended use as a duplex. The property is zoned for single-family use.

Planning staff told the Planning Commission Zoning Committee that the building has never been zoned for use with more than two dwelling units. But records show its use as a fourplex dating back to the 1980s until about 12 years ago. There are also city records showing the property was approved for triplex use at different points.

Ripley purchased the property in 2012 and unsuccessfully tried for a nonconforming use permit for the property in 2014 for a fourplex. It has been vacant for some time. He said the building’s layout would make the conversion to fewer than four units difficult.

The Zoning Committee debated the issue with some sentiment toward converting the property for triplex use. Instead, the commission approved a duplex.

The conversion to four units has the support of several neighbors and the Hamline Midway Coalition.

Permit parking program
St. Paul’s first residential permit parking program makeover is complete, as the City Council July 25 approved several regulatory, time limit, and district boundary changes. But as almost two years of citywide studies wrap up, a new neighborhood parking study is being launched. Also getting underway is a study of how to make changes in the enforcement of permit parking regulations.
Residents will pay more for permits starting in 2019. Some areas will not be able to buy as many resident permits as they could in the past.

“It’s been a long road,” said Ward Four Council Member Samantha Henningson. While she and other council members had hoped for more changes, they are satisfied that key steps have been taken to streamline a complicated and cumbersome system.

The council is asking that the city’s Innovation Team immediately convene a working group of staff from the departments of Public Works, Police, the Office of Technology and Communications and the City Attorney’s Office to vet and plan for permit parking enforcement using license plate reader technology. This is to start in September 2019 in conjunction with a new online permit renewal system. The council is also asking the Police Department to increase the capacity of its parking enforcement ranks, as well as the efficiency of deploying officers.

Henningson said license plate reader technology would be a big step in residential permit parking enforcement. One complaint she and other council members have heard is that in areas where two-hour business parking is allowed in a permit district, the time limits aren’t enforced. Officers currently chalk tires and recheck after two hours.

Many changes approved July 25 are technical, including rolling all of the plus-two dozen districts into one ordinance and replacing more than three decades of separate council resolutions creating and amending districts.

Changes were approved to create standardization in residential permit parking rules among the districts. Time limits will still vary by districts and by street.

While hours won’t be consistent citywide, many other changes will be. From now on, three vehicle permits and two visitor permits will be made available to each household. Some districts including Irvine Park and Summit Hill had as many as six resident permits per household.

Permit fees will change starting in 2019, with churches and nonprofits within residential permit parking areas paying $5 and not $1 apiece for visitor placards. Vehicle and visitor permits will be $25 each, up from $15. A fee of $25 will be charged to replace lost permits, a jump from $15. Anyone buying a new vehicle will pay $10 for a new permit and not $1. Hang tags for visitors will be $3 each, up from $1. Vehicle and visitor permits will be no longer be offered at prorated prices after May 1.

People who drive a leased vehicle will be able to buy permits in their home districts, something that wasn’t available before.

Permits will be uniform in design for all districts.

No permits will be available to owners or employees of commercial or office buildings. That won’t change, despite some suggestions during the recent study.

Some changes are proposed district by district, to time limits and streets where permit parking is allowed. One key change allows residents of multi-family buildings to sign petitions. Property owners were the only ones who could sign before. Seventy-five percent of residents or property owners in a district must sign a petition for a permit.

The change also allows more flexibility for city staff when permit extension requests are made.
Changes go into effect 30 days after the council actions or published, or after sign changes are posted.

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