Minutes - 4/2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008 2:50 PM

  

DISTRICT 10 COMO COMMUNITY COUNCIL 

Board Meeting 

April 15, 2008 -  7:00 p.m. 

Historic Streetcar Station 

1224 N. Lexington Parkway 

St. Paul, MN 

 

The agenda and supporting materials were mailed and emailed to directors prior to the meeting. 

Directors present:  David Arbeit, Sehoya Cotner, Sharon Frisell, Tony Hainault, Chai Insook, Kim 

Klose, Luke Kuhl, Mike MacDonald, John Marino, Marcy Micek, Dennis O’Rourke,  Sue Phillips, 

Marc Prokosch, Matt Schmitt. 

Directors absent and excused: Nathan Volz   

Staff excused: Sue McCall, Community Organizer  

Guests present:  Bob Bierscheid, Mike Hahm 

BOARD SECTION 

1. Call to Order 

David Arbeit called the meeting to order at 7:01p.m. 

2. Review, Amend, Approve April Agenda 

One amendment to the agenda, a correction to a date.  Kim moved to accept the agenda as 

amended. Sehoya seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

COMMUNITY SECTION 

3. Community Section 

Invited speakers: Bob Bierscheid, Director, Parks and Recreation Department and Mike 

Hahm, Como Campus Manager.  Dennis, on behalf of Events & Institutions – invited public 

to the committee meetings. 

A. Bob B. led the discussion regarding the Como shuttle/circulator project.  He doesn’t see any 

road blocks, it’s just a matter of working through the processes.   

It will provide off-site parking for visitors to the Campus.  

Como Campus is defined as the zoo and conservatory.  

Parks and Rec received a start-up federal grant to study the issue, create an initial 

planning phase, make initial purchases and begin implementation.  

The goal is to have it running by 2009, operating during weekends April 1-Sept 30.  

They will consider the option of adding week-days if it successful.  

Currently working on agreements for the off-site lots (State Fair, St. Paul School 

District).   

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Met Council Transit is assisting with the routing system. One possible route would go 

from the Fair grounds to Horton/Como to Lexington to Estabrook, to the front of the 

Park. 

Parks & Rec wants contract with Metro Transit to operate the busses, but wants to 

own the asset (buy at least 2 busses – seats 20-25, ease of access – 

strollers/wheelchairs).  “green” busses are being discussed, but no clear plans for that 

option right now. Goal is to offer service without a fare, but the City will be 

responsible for long-term maintenance. 

They will create a couple of bus shelters.   

Advertising/marketing plan is part of their timeline, may ask for help from District 10 

when they get to this phase.   

Other items for discussion:  Bob acknowledged his desire that Como have better bus 

service.  They are studying the possibility of parking meters, without compromising 

the success of the voluntary donations at the zoo.  They would like to increase & 

improve bike access. Desire to increase, improve ease of bike access - Brian Belfanz 

is the lead project coordinator.  Storm replanting is getting ready to begin. 

 

Mike Hahm provided updates on the zoo: 

Polar bear construction has begun, thru 2009, even without the bonding bill from the 

legislature.  Funds from Met Parks and open parks will cover some of it.  Plan A – go 

back to legislature next year.  Plan B, do without the funds.  Flyers were sent to 300 

local residents regarding construction issues.  Mike is maintaining an email listserv 

for announcements regarding construction updates.  Please email 

Michael.hahm@ci.stpaul.mn.us or call 651-487-8296 to be added to that list.  

Overflow parking is fenced off for construction staging.   

The Children’s gallery is open, official opening this weekend (age 6 mos. To 5 yrs). 

There is a temporary butterfly exhibit now through summer 2009.  

Planned facelift to Sparky’s amphitheater (paint, designated stroller/handicapped 

area).  

Renovations to the gorilla exhibit are on hold.   

B. Other Public Comments: CM Lee Helgen requested the conversation about the design 

Charrette  be moved up in the agenda.  Luke provided his committee update. 

Node Study/MGM Update 

Charrette update: Luke  reviewed the process and issue to date. This will be an 

ongoing issue for next year. There is nothing new to report regarding the MGM court 

case.  As we go forward: PED (Yang Zhang) will present the recommended plan, the 

it will go to the Land Use committee, Land Use will hold a public meeting, Land Use 

will bring their recommendations to the Board, the Board will decide how to act.  

Then the recommendations will go to the planning commission, they will hold a 

public hearing, make their recommendations, and then it will go to the City Council 

for a vote.   Ideally the City Council vote will be held 3-4 months from now.  Another 

goal is to create the CIB proposal this year to receive funds from the City.  

Lee Helgen agreed with Luke per timeline and processes.  Community input matters 

regarding greening, traffic management.  He is involved in a parallel effort, talking 

with the City (PED) and with MGM regarding their development plans, as well as 

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other property owners.  There is a separation of processes between the  neighborhood 

and District 10 and the City.  Whatever the outcome, it will not be an amendment to 

District 10 plan.  Regarding the timeline, there is no intent to rush, but a desire to 

make all the pieces fit. David acknowledged that there will need to be ample planning 

time for the Land Use committee to organize community meetings – perhaps by June.   

There was a question about zoning – can a landowner sell property to a developer?  

MGM currently has a B3 zoning, which is the most generous form.  Developers can 

do almost anything they want.  The rezoning process is quite involved, and could 

effectively be stopped, given input with property owners.  At the time, there is no 

proposal to change zoning.  Recommendations would provide guidance and 

perimeters. 

Please direct further questions to the Land Use Committee.  Perhaps Luke could 

invite Lee Helgen to the next meeting, Monday, 5/12/08, 7:00, Historic Streetcar 

Station.  Luke will consider holding a special meeting sooner if needed. 

Public question regarding the petition related to Shiang Hai market.  There has been 

no follow-up. 

Community Section closed 8:11 pm 

4. Review, Amend, Approve March Minutes 

Motion: Luke made a motion to approve the March minutes.  Marc seconded the motion. 

Discussion item - there is a typo in Sue Phillips name. 

Motion: John moved to approve as amended.  David seconded.  The motion passed with 

unanimous approval. 

Action Item: Kim Klose will make the requested changes to the March minutes. 

5. Board Updates 

A. Board Chair Report – David Arbeit 

Sue M on vacation. 

Request that Chairs please email their committee minutes to David. 

Goals and work plans will be submitted soon.  Board will revise the process for next year 

so it is timelier. 

David attended a District 6 meeting, Marcy attended a Highland meeting.  Discussed the 

possibility of moving Board elections to spring, as other Councils do, to provide a 

common cycle. David encourages members to attend other Districts meetings. 

Web forum to discuss issues – open to public.  1 posting to date.  “Discussion Forum” 

link on the website. 

B. Financial Reports – Marcy Micek 

Review and Accept Financial Reports 

Marcy reviewed the financials as distributed to board members prior to the meeting.  She is 

not distressed about current status, but we need to submit the work plans in order to receive 

reimbursements.  Rain barrel registrations are coming in.  Marcy now has access to the bank 

accounts.  She is  continuing to work on improvements to paperwork processes. 

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Motion: Kim made a motion to approve the March  financial statements. Tony seconded the 

motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

C. Staff Report (activities, issues, crime statistics, etc.) 

In Sue’s absence, David reviewed the staff report as submitted and circulated to board 

members.   

D. Node Study/MGM Update 

Luke provided updates during the Community Section. 

E. Committee Chair Reports 

Executive Committee – David reviewed rain barrel contracts and workshops; cash reserve & 

financial issues, methods of recording revenues & expenses; work plan contract – the goal is 

to have draft ready for Sue M next Monday, then board members can review it by 4/30/08. 

Neighborhood Safety – Marc P reported that meetings are set for the first Monday of every 

month.  At their first meeting they discussed: “chat with a cop,” National Night Out, a 

database for neighborhood block leaders, committee goals/objectives (Sue M took the notes).  

David will confirm the notes he has with Marc as the contract becomes finalized.   

Events & Institutions –Chai reported that they have two main priorities for this year: the park 

shuttle, and creating a no-drive zone around Como lake.  Committee members recently polled 

neighbors and received mixed reviews. 

Communications Committee – John Marino reported that next mtg will be fourth _DAY__ of 

the month.  Discussion about the possibility of a Tai Chi class to build community & raise 

money. He is hoping to draft a proposal and submit to the Executive committee by their next 

meeting, then submit it to the Board as an action item.  Discussion about ad hoc fundraising 

committee that needs to be larger than the communications committee. Newsletter deadlines:  

please submit articles to John by 5/9/08. Garage sale is scheduled for 5/17/08.  The 

committee is promoting it via the website, newsletter, St. Paul and Minneapolis newspapers, 

a poster, and will create a map of participants.  Individuals wishing to participate can do so 

for free, but donations will be accepted to cover the cost of the event.  The committee sees 

the sale as a community building event and encourages Board members to visit a few sales as 

an outreach event (especially Energy Park).  Suggestion: It would be nice if we had a 

card/magnet/brochure to distribute to advertise District 10. 

Environment Committee – Mike MacDonald reported that the committee meets on third 

Wednesdays of the month.  The Park clean-up event was held last week.  Bird festival 

(Ramsey Co. Audubon) will be held 5/3/08. Rain barrel workshops will be held 5/10 and 

6/14/08.  The Boy Scouts are volunteering to distribute flyers for the event, and Mike would 

like to make a donation to them, from the participant fees.  A shore line weeding event is 

scheduled for 5/13/08.  The tree trek is schedule for June.  Val Cunningham received award 

for environmental stewardship on the bluebird trail.  Val also received grant for native plants 

in the garden at the pavilion.  The nominations we submitted for Sustainable St. Paul 

Environmental services did win, and will be awarded on Wednesday.  

Land Use Committee – Luke Kuhl provide updates during the Community Section. 

F. 2008 Work Plan and Contract Status 

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David reported on this earlier in meeting.  He asked members to review  the draft that was 

distributed via email.  There are few items left to fill in, but Sue M can help complete it when 

she returns on Monday.  Chairs are asked to review their committee sections.   

6. Action Items 

A. Resolution EN0415081 (Environment Committee) – Contract with Verde, Inc. to conduct 

rain barrel workshops.  

The original letter read payment is $800 per workshop, for $1600 each day, for a total of 

$3200.  Mike amended it to read that we’ll pay them $600 each day (from participant fees) 

with remainder payable after we receive the grant from CRWD. 

Motion: David moved to adopt the resolution.  The Environment Committee is asking for 

board vote of approval to sign a contract with Verde Strategies to provide rain barrel 

worksheet. Tony seconded the motion.  

Tony moved to accept the letter as amended.  David seconded the motion. The motion passed 

with unanimous approval. 

B. Resolution EX0415081 (Executive Committee) – Approval to complete and submit city 

contracts.  The contract needs to be submitted prior to the May Board meeting.  David will 

call a special meeting of the Executive Committee if necessary.   

Motion: Marcy made a motion to  approve the resolution. Sue P. seconded the motion. There 

was no discussion.  The motion passed with unanimous approval.   

C. Resolution LU0415081 (Land Use Committee)  – Support for Java Train parking variance 

request. 

Motion: David made a motion to support the request for variance. Marc seconded the 

motion.  

Discussion:  Current parking is on the street, behind the building, and the owner has written 

permission Holy Childhood to use the church parking lot.  The City has a formula (based on 

the size of the building) to determine how many spaces are necessary.  The variance goes 

before the City Council on 4/21/08. 

Community input: Bill Sylvester (neighbor to the Java Train) raised a concern that the 

parking variance is related to the possibility of application for wine & beer license. He 

requested that District 10 not support the resolution.  He stated his concern that community 

members holding opposing views were invited to the Land Use committee meeting to have 

input in the letter from the Council.  Community and Board members have different 

recollections of neighborhood support regarding possibility of beer/wine license.  David 

called an end to the comments, and redirected the conversation to the issue at hand – a 

variance for two parking spaces. 

Sue Phillips has a conflict of interest, and will abstain from voting.  Nathan Volz asked Kim 

to vote for him by proxy, as per email.  David stated that a proxy vote, especially on a 

controversial issue, is not allowed..   

Q:  Is the variance the last step before a beer/wine license?  Can Lee Helgen offer any 

comments on the required number of spaces for a liquor license?   

Luke will draft an amended letter and circulate it to Board members.  District 10 is 

supporting only the parking variance.  There are some concerns expressed as to future 

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impact, we are not prepared to take any action toward the liquor license at this time.  The 

board has no opinion regarding that issue at this time.  This notification came to us with 

limited time, and we were not able to solicit full neighbor input.  If any members have 

objections to the language of the letter, Luke will address those concerns. 

Motion: David called the question: asking for a vote in favor of resolution as amended.  

There were 11 ayes, one nay, and one abstention.  The motion passed. 

D. Resolution BD0415081 (Board) – Support for Central Corridor 

Discussion:  Sehoya would like to draft a letter to Governor & legislature to accompany the 

resolution as written.  Tony advocates for a clear but polite letter, nothing inflammatory.  

Luke encouraged members to recognize the loss of a half billion dollars to our area.  Sehoya 

and Tony will draft the letter, circulate it to Board members.  If any members have objections 

to the language, they will address those concerns. 

Luke and David will abstain from the vote.  David does not want to be the signatory on the 

letter.  

Motion: David made a motion to draft a letter to accompany the resolution, circulated and 

reviewed by members. Marc seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous 

approval. 

7. Discussion Items 

A. Other discussion items Tony acknowledged and appreciated the time delegations on the 

agenda.   

8. Adjourn  

 The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 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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