Minutes - 2/1/2008
Friday, February 01, 2008 2:50 PM

  

DISTRICT 10 COMO COMMUNITY COUNCIL 

Board Meeting 

February 19, 2008, 7:00 p.m. 

Historic Streetcar Station 

1224 N. Lexington Parkway 

St. Paul, MN 

 

Directors present:  David Arbeit, Sharon Frisell, Tony Hainault, Kim Klose, Luke Kuhl, Mike 

MacDonald, Marcy Micek, Dennis O’Rourke, Sue Phillips, Matt Schmitt, Nathan Volz 

Directors excused: Sehoya Cotner, Chai Insook, John Marino 

Staff and guests present:  Sue McCall, Community Organizer    

BOARD SECTION 

1. Call to Order 

David Arbeit called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. 

2. Review, Amend, Approve December Agenda 

Marcy moved to approve the agenda, Mike seconded the motion. The motion passed with 

unanimous approval. 

Action item:  Museum sign-up list (Sundays, 12-4 pm) was circulated so people could sign up. 

COMMUNITY SECTION 

3. Community Section 

A. Election for vacant position (Sub District 3).  David opened the floor for nominations, and 

nominated Marc Prokosch.  Nathan seconded the motion.  Marc introduced himself and 

expressed an interest in land use and crime prevention. He ran unopposed, the vote was 

unanimous.  

B. There was no guest this month.  The Council has extended a standing invitation to brief the 

Council to Harriet Mednick, an advocate for seniors for Northwest Senior Chore Services, 

which provides help to seniors within St. Paul neighborhoods.  David has spoken with 

Councilman Russ Stark about speaking to the Council.  He will be invited to attend the 

March meeting.  

C. Councilman Lee Helgen spoke briefly and introduced his new staff member: Leila Paye, 

available at 651-266-8650.  She will be the regular point of contact for the Council.  He also 

  

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spoke about land use issues related to the MGM site and the Lexington-Larpenteur Node 

Study.  He distributed a memo from planner Yang Zhang sent to Tom Sanchez and Larry 

Soderholm describing plans for the Node Study. Funding would be provided by the City.  

The process would include a design charette involving representatives from the community 

and facilitated by City staff and the Neighborhood Design Center. 

As of today, the City’s action against MGM has been elevated to civil litigation.  Sue McCall 

noted a meeting planned between City staff and the California area residents regarding the 

city’s actions related to the fence issue at the MGM site.  The meeting, originally scheduled 

for 2/20/08 has been rescheduled for 2/26/08.  Luke plans to attend.  Dennis asked if 

neighbors will be well represented in the Node Study process.  Lee Helgen said he believes 

so and described the charette as a very intense, interactive design process.  David asked for 

clarification whether the Node Study intent was to include representation from the 

neighborhood or the Council.  CM Helgen said neighborhood representation is ideal, and it 

will be important to find the right person, someone who is able to communicate clearly.  

David asked what is expected from the Council?   CM Helgen suggested that the Land Use 

Committee should study it and that the Board would vote on a resolution and forward it on to 

the City.  

D.   Other public comments – Nancy Sabin addressed the Board as a resident.  As we work on 

2008 work plans, she requested that we survey residents and Board members to determine the 

most important issues: crime prevention, communications, environment, family service 

options, resident/business services & partnerships.  She asked that resident input be 

considered as we address the top 5 issues.  See handout for more details. 

4. Community Section closed, return to Board business 

5. Review, Amend, Approve January Minutes 

Board members pointed out changes/corrections to the January minutes.  Luke moved to accept 

the minutes with the changes implemented.  Nathan seconded the motion. The adopted minutes 

passed with unanimous approval. 

Action Item: Change the date from December 18 to January 15.  Fill in the blank: Bill’s last 

name is Sylvester, Tony’s name was misspelled and corrected to Hainault.  Marcy will make the 

requested changes to the January minutes. 

6. Board Updates 

A. Financial Reports 

1) Review and Accept Financial Reports: David explained transition to new language 

“review and accept” rather than “review and approve” the financial reports.   

 

Motion: Nathan moved to accept the reports, Matt seconded the motion.  The motion 

passed unanimously.   

2) Marcy would like to add “Treasurer’s Report” to upcoming agendas so Board members 

can read the information prior to the meeting.   Marcy reported that there is a negative 

  

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bottom line this month, but February will show larger deposit.  The reimbursement 

contracts don’t always arrive in the current calendar month.  Marcy will implement a new 

format to show year at a glance, not just a single month.  This format will also show 

projections.  Marcy provided an overview of the January Income Statement and Balance 

Sheet.  Sue M. and Marcy have been working closely together to simplify the 

process/format.  They have set up the General Ledger and are beginning to use standard 

codes for invoices and look at separating fiscal years to reflect the true financial position.  

This is taking a lot of effort on the front end, but will be easier to maintain.  The goal is to 

make it user friendly in the long term. 

3) The District received a $600 donation to purchase a new scanner (Marcy and employer 

matched-USA Today). 

B. Staff Report 

 

Sue McCall reviewed the staff report (activities, issues, crime statistics, etc.)  and answered 

questions from Board Members.  The following are additions to the handout distributed in the 

packet:  

1) Sue M. has been talking to neighbors re: the Node Study, outreach & meeting with 

attorney 

2) She went to monthly police meeting - crime in Energy Park is up (vehicle break-ins).    

3) The newsletter has been written, the copier is broken. 

4) Arrangements have been made for signs on Midway Parkway – there is a problem with 

double parking in front of the houses on the frontage road while dropping off children at 

Holy Childhood. The signs will prohibit parking but allow drop-offs.  The signs will be 

installed when ground thaws.    

5) E-recycling survey of what we accept at the neighborhood clean-up.  We don’t want to 

accept household hazardous waste (volume is too large), and there will be a Ramsey 

County drop on the same day at the Fair Grounds.  Provide information for year-round 

disposal options (Ramsey County and Eureka).  To be held 9/20/08.  

6) Crime report, West District meeting.  Statistics are slightly higher than usual for this time 

of year (winter is usually slower).   

7) Executive Committee authorized the purchase of “slow down” signs for neighbors to post 

in their yards re: MGM issue. 

C. MGM Report 

Luke provided an update.  The Court denied the City the Temporary Restraining Order that it 

had requested. The case will move to an evidentiary hearing.  CM Helgen’s update suggests 

the hearing could be held late March/early April.  Now we wait.  The Court will decide if it 

will issue a permanent order (i.e. put up a fence).  Luke’s update is posted on the website in 

layman terms.  There will also be an update in the March newsletter.  Tentative meeting with 

neighbors is scheduled for 2/26/08 (an ad-hoc Land Use meeting).  There may be a 

  

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possibility for neighbors to submit “individual impact” statements.  Nathan and Sue M. plan 

to be at that meeting. 

It was noted that both MGM and Pastor have an interest in the Lexington/Larpenteur 

intersection.  The corner and area is under redevelopment pressure – Rainbow will be 

upgraded (with proposed drive-thru pharmacy).  The role of District 10 is to support our 

neighbors, and remain fair and neutral.  Dennis has concerns about us “pretending” to be 

neutral, stating that the Council has a responsibility to defend our neighbors in the face of 

development.  Luke agrees that as a Board we have taken action.  We also have a role to play 

in the Node study.  MGM is also a business represented in our district. 

David noted that this will be an ongoing issue and that we can expect to have differing views 

but urged us to be respectful in our communications. 

D. Committee Chair Reports 

Communications Committee – Matt Schmidt  

1) Newsletter options:  desire to make it visually appealing.  Job Corps is printing it for free, 

paying half the postage, and receiving free publicity.  It’s a win/win situation. Matt is 

looking for community input and investigating e-bulletins for real-time alerts.   

2) Meeting with Adam Robins from parks & rec – they have money for planting trees and 

desire to work SE of lake (Victoria to Lakeview).  This is a community issue as it will 

impact sight line for residents.  Matt would like to communicate with residents, and is 

hoping that Adam will come to the March Council meeting to give a brief presentation.  

Matt would also like to post the information on the Council website.  This issue overlaps 

with Environment & Land Use Committees.  What is role of the Council to the Hearing 

(scheduled for 3/18/08)? We can sponsor it as a neighborhood meeting (a City meeting).  

This will be brought back as an action item. 

 Action Item:  The Communications Committee will discuss fundraising at its next 

meeting, possibly creating an ad-hoc committee.  Marcy volunteered to help Matt. 

Environment Committee – Mike MacDonald 

1) There were 4 people at last meeting.   

2) Discussed workplan (goals/activities):   

They are working with the Audubon society to promote a bird walk.   

Looking at residential buckthorn removal.  

Wrote a grant proposal for a rain barrel workshop.  

Como outdoor classroom – how can we be involved.  

Water quality events this summer.  

Rock-Tenn issue (power plant) – Dist. 10 member offered to be liaison & 

communicate to neighbors.   

  

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Question: What is the Como Pool task force?  It has not yet been created, but will be 

used by the City’s Parks & Recreation Department during the planning process for 

upgrading or redeveloping the Como Pool site.  The planning study will not begin 

until funding is received from the Metropolitan Council, probably in late summer.  

Residents want to be involved.  Events & Institutions, Environmental, Land Use 

committees will likely be involved too – this should be reflected in work plans. 

District 10 is not advocating either side yet, but want to be part of the process.   

3) A “Friends of Como Park” group is forming.  Members intend to focus on a range of 

issues affecting Como Park, including the pool.  

4) Sue M. drew attention to NW Como – reminder that walkable/sustainable neighborhoods 

are funded through 2008 – this applies to the Rec Center at Hamline & Hoyt.  Sharon 

lives in that neighborhood, and volunteered to stay on top of it by getting in touch with 

the group that saved it last time around.  Does this issue fit with the Events & Institutions 

Committee?   

Land Use Committee – Luke provided the MGM updates earlier. 

Liaison with District Councils Collaborative/Central Corridor – No report. 

Events and Institutions Committee – Dennis O’Rourke 

1) Dennis has scheduled upcoming meetings with Bob Bierscheid on Wednesday and 

Russ Stark on Friday.  He will mention community Rec Center issue (overlaps many 

committees), and report back to the Council.  He asked that Board members please 

email Dennis if there are specific questions for these people. 

2) Identify parking shuttle as a priority. 

Crime Prevention Committee –  

1) Future issue:  Rec Centers and youth programs.  Reminder that it is more economical to 

keep a program going than to start a new one. General budget cuts impact everyone.  The 

“suburban model” provides fewer rec centers that offer more things.  Janice Rettman 

reminded us to think holistically, looking at what is happening city-wide: parks are being 

closed, and then there is a push to open them elsewhere.  Parks should be located near 

where the kids are. 

E. 2008 Work Plan status 

1) 2008 Workplans: The Environmental Committee made revisions based on comments 

from the Executive Committee.  David would like to use it as a template and distribute to 

other committees.  Reminder from Sue M. that we must meet guidelines established by 

the City (inclusivity/diversity).  David wants to submit them in a timely manner so we 

continue to get grant funds.   

2) Historical timeline provided by Nathan: Board elections are held in October, training of 

new members occurs after that, and then workplans are written.   

  

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F. Communications: website and newsletter issues.   

David asked the Communications Committee to think holistically.  What is the purpose of 

each medium?  What strategic role does the newsletter play?  Is the news timely?  Is the news 

too general?  We are aiming to make better use of website, get the word out, keep it current, 

and develop a strategy to deliver information.  Nancy Sabin suggested we add a question to a 

survey, asking residents how they would prefer to receive/access communication. 

7. Action Items 

A. Resolution EX0219081 (Executive Committee).  Policy and Procedures Guide. 

Several Board members did not receive the packet of materials prior to the meeting and are 

unable to comment on the contents.   

 

Motion: Nathan made a motion to table the P& P resolution until the next Board meeting.  

Luke seconded the motion.  It passed unanimously.   

Action Item: David and Sue M. will investigate the email problem to ensure that all Board 

members are successfully receiving communications. 

B. Resolution LU0219081 (Land Use Committee).  Support letter for Gabe’s St. Patrick’s 

Day noise variance. 

Several members noted that the Board had supported the variance in the past and that it 

created no problems. 

Motion: Luke moved that the letter will come from the Land Use Chair.  Marcy seconded the 

motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

C. Resolution  LU0219082 (Land Use Committee).  Support letter for DeVine 

Management’s acquisition of State property.  

The letter would note that DeVine has kept the Council informed of its plans and involved in 

the process and that the Council is supporting the purchase only and not any specific request 

related to the zoning, site planning, or stormwater management issues.  The parcel is to be 

sold to City of St. Paul, then sold to DeVine. 

Motion: Luke made a motion to provide the letter.  Dennis seconded the motion. The motion 

passed with unanimous approval. 

D. Resolution LU0219083 (Land Use Committee).  Remove the maps about “potential 

uses” from the District 10 Land Use Plan. 

Motion: Luke made a motion to remove the maps.  Marcy seconded the motion.  It was 

opened for discussion.   

 

Residents have raised question/concerns in conversations with Nathan and Luke.  Nathan 

agrees that the maps are being interpreted in ways they were not intended.  These were 

intended as brainstorming maps.  They could still be useful, but do not need to be included in 

  

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the packet.  Members discussed the need for institutional memory and questioned whether all 

the work that went into these simply be discarded.  Sue M. clarified that the maps belong 

solely to District 10, the text was officially adopted by the City Council.  David asked how 

we might present the change on the website.  Members agreed that it would be amended with 

a note to reflect the change.  Brian Tucker will remove the pages from the website.  Nathan 

will review the text to see if there are references to the maps.  Sue M. said we cannot alter the 

text.  Nathan said we can alter our document, and identify that we amended the plan.  Tony 

suggested that the motion be tabled to provide time to review the text.  Sue M. reminded us 

that the Node study will begin on 3/6/08, and these maps could influence discussions in an 

unintended manner.  David encouraged us to approve the resolution with an amendment to 

clarify the change.  

Amended Motion:  David moved to amend the resolution to reflect the change that the maps 

(labeled “potential”) will be removed and the plan narrative will be adjusted to reflect the 

change.  Marcy seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

E. Resolution EN0219081 (Environment Committee).  Apply for CRWD Grant 

Mike MacDonald presented the Environment Committee request to approve an application 

for a $2000 grant from the Capitol Region Watershed District for a rain barrel workshop that 

will raise awareness of storm water runoff.  Participant fee ($25 each), grant monies and in- 

kind donations will cover the cost.  There was discussion about the probable attendance and 

the financial risk incurred by the District.  Mike explained his strategy for minimizing the 

risk. 

Motion: Luke moved to proceed with the grant application.  Sharon seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

F. Resolution EX0219082 (Executive Committee).  Appointment of Crime Prevention 

Committee Chair.   

David asked Marc if he would be willing to serve as Chair.  David will commit to help, Sue 

P. will also help.  Marc would like some time to think about it.  Technically, his term starts 

one week from today.  David will offer to meet with Marc, Sue P. and Marcy.   

Motion: Luke moved to table the appointment.  David seconded the motion.   The motion 

passed with unanimous approval. 

7.  Discussion Items 

A. Nancy Sabin raised a concern about data privacy issues.  All the districts except one have not 

given out personal contact information (to be shared with block clubs).  How will District 10 

proceed?  Will District 10 require/recommend background checks? 

B. District 10 will host a meeting host a meeting on March 18th, at 6:00 p.m. for the City of St. 

Paul for the purpose of informing the residents on Como Blvd East about a landscaping 

proposal.  The meeting will be scheduled for one hour.  Luke moved to proceed with the 

invitation.  Dennis seconded the motion.  The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

8. Adjourn  

  

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 The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m. 

 

 

Minutes submitted by Kim Klose. 

 

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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