Boulevard garden fight resolved

The battle over boulevard landscaping on Sherburne Avenue is over – for now. But ordinance changes to help boulevard gardeners citywide take effect this month. More changes could be on the way, with the work of Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) and others on behalf of Sherburne Avenue resident Iris Logan. (Read earlier story online or in the December 2023 edition of the Midway Como Frogtown Monitor.)
Logan’s elaborately landscaped boulevard and yard had long been a neighborhood showplace, until she was ordered to remove boulevard rocks and landscaping by the city. The city doesn’t allow permanent structures in a boulevard due to the need to access underground utilities.
Logan appealed the order to remove items, but in the meantime largely cleared her boulevard this fall. She lost her appeal, and her case went to the city council on Dec. 6, 2023. Neighbors and district council members went to the hearing with her.
Logan was initially given until Dec. 22 to remove everything, but cold weather caused mounded dirt to freeze.
Marcia Moermond, legislative hearing officer, told council members that much of the work was complete, except for the mounded dirt. She outlined her meetings with Logan, her supporters and HMC. Moermond said an extension to June 6 is warranted to regrade and clean up the dirt.
Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali acknowledged the many calls and emails her office got about Logan’s boulevard. While noting that the city has clear and broad language about what can and cannot be in a street boulevard, there is a need for a more holistic way to address situations such as Logan’s.
One frustration Logan’s supporters have cited is that complaints like the one about Logan’s boulevard can be made anonymously. Another is that while some residents are told to make code-based property corrections, others don’t face penalties because their boulevard art or other items aren’t turned in.
St. Paul has allowed boulevard gardens since the 1990s. Many people put up structures including plant pots, planter beds, benches and other items in violation of the city code. The council by year’s end passed an ordinance allowing removable planter beds and pots, if a $20 encroachment permit is obtained and conditions on height are met. Outgoing Ward 3 Council Member Chris Tolbert brought forward the ordinance changes to make the boulevard gardening process simpler. His changes came forward independent of Logan’s situation.


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  • TRexBex

    Bruh, move the the rocks and landscaping. The city will inevitably need to "reach underground utilities". We live in Minnesota, a state with extreme weather. All that stuff in the yard could delay or even prevent people getting things like water and electricity back on.

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