Minutes - 5/2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010 1:35 PM


Joint Meeting of the
District 10 Community Council, Land Use Committee and
Lexington Larpenteur Node Plan Design ad hoc Committee
Monday May 10, 2010, 7:00 PM
Historic Streetcar Station
Land Use and Lexington Larpenteur Node Plan Design ad hoc Committees, Board and Staff Members Present: Chris Harkness, Jon Knox, Chris Martineau, Barbara Frick, William Sylvester, Sally Worku, Tom Eyre, Larry McMahon, Linda Hinderscheit, Nathan Volz, Dwight Nelson, Pete Bolstad, Panod Klongtruatroke, Matt Schmitt, Mike McDonald, Rhonda DeBough
Number of community members present: 40, including Andrew McGlory and Ken Busch representing Saint Paul Public Schools; Paul Setter and Mike Maglich from MGM; Howard Paster and Ken Henk from Paster Enterprises; Councilmember Lee Helgen; and St. Paul Traffic City Engineer Elizabeth Stiffler.
Called to Order at 7:00 PM: Agenda approved with one item omitted at request of the petitioner (Paster Enterprises) and one item delayed pending the appearance of the petitioner (St. Paul School District).
Approved Minutes from the April 12 Land Use Committee and the April 19 Lexington Larpenteur Node Plan Design ad hoc Committee Meetings respectively.
Considered request by petitioner Ed Nelson (via Barbara Frick) to make the intersection of Cottage and Grotto a four-way stop. It is currently a two-way stop. Public safety concerns spurred the petition of 64 homes. Mr. Nelson reports support from 58 homes. The intersection and neighborhoods are heavily utilized by pedestrians. North Dale Rec Center is approximately two miles from the intersection. Como Elementary and High Schools are located approximately three blocks from the intersection.
Heard report from St Paul Traffic Engineer Elizabeth Stiffler, who said that while neighbors have the right to petition for a stop sign, she generally recommends traffic calming intervention be tried first. Painting the pavement, lawn signs, and temporary pedestrian crossing signs in the intersection are three such suggestions. Electronic speed indicating signs can be erected if the 85% rate is 5 mph over the speed limit (which would be 35 mph). With 85% of the traffic traveling 34 mph this intersection does not qualify. Ten miles per hour over the limit at 85% is required for permanent pedestrian signs. The average speed through this intersection is 27 mph.
Bill Tschida, who lives at the corner, requested the committee not support the petitioners’ request. He stated that stop signs do not slow traffic and that by stopping, idling and starting up again, cars add to the noise and air pollution in the area. Mr. Tschida also read an e-mail from a neighbor saying he had signed the petition, but only because he “didn’t know what else to do.” One other neighbor, who lives nearby at a four-way stop, attested that four way stops do not slow traffic. One resident did speak for the petition saying the given the number of children in area a stop sign was needed.
Approved action item drafted by Barbara Frick supporting this four-way stop request to be brought to the May 18th Board meeting.
Considered request by Saint Paul Public Schools project manager, Andrew McGlory, and architect, Kevin Busch, for variances to erect a new digital display sign on Wheelock Parkway for Como Park Elementary School. SPPS identified school signage as a deficiency and wishes to improve, enlarge and standardize signs across the district. The new sign would be 6.75 square feet larger and nearly 3 feet higher than the City currently allows. The digital display would be lit from 7 AM to 10 PM. While the software is capable of dynamic display, the moving features would not be activated. No one else spoke in support of the proposed sign. The committee objects to the size and placement of a lighted sign on a parkway in close proximity to Como Lake and Como Regional Park and believes the school should be able to convey messages with signage that complies with current stipulations.
Land Use Chair Chris Harkness will draft an action item to be considered at the next Board meeting indicating lack of support for the requested variances. Because the Board of Zoning Appeals will have its hearing on this issue on May 17th before the Board meets on the 18th, the Executive Board will be asked to authorize a letter from the Land Use Chair indicating District 10’s lack of support.
Received, approved and thanked the Lexington Larpenteur Node Plan Design ad hoc Committee for their work on their report on the Node Plan Design Workshop for the Lexington Larpenteur corner. Co-chair of the ad hoc committee, Barbara Frick, reviewed results of a neighborhood survey regarding the committee’s Report and Recommendations.
Approved action item drafted by Ad Hoc Committee Chair, Barbara Frick, to “adopt the entire Report and Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee as a Development Guide Appendix/Supplement/Amendment to the District 10 Land Use Plan; 2) That the Report and Recommendations adopted be considered by District 10 prior to any and all proposals for present and future development at or around the Lexington-Larpenteur intersection; and, 3) That the Report and Recommendations adopted by the Board will be sent in letter form to the Mayor, City Council, PED, City and County Public Works, City and County Public Safety/Traffic, Zoning, any other agency involved in development, and all parties known to be interested in development of the Lexington-Larpenteur site at the time.” Land Use will bring the item tothe May 18th Board meeting.
Reviewed final concept plan from MGM depicting the proposed redevelopment of the Southwest corner on the Lexington Larpenteur intersection. Changes to the previously viewed plans included alley termination with a turn around, store size (now approximately 14,000 sq.ft.) and green space restored to 25’ along Lexington. While some neighbors expressed approval of the plan and gratitude toward MGM and Semper for incorporating residents’ input, other neighbors wanted a smaller store so that residential lots would not be rezoned as commercial. Concern was expressed about the safety of proposed traffic patterns, in particular vehicles making left turns onto Lexington, given the frequency of traffic stacking on Lexington at Larpenteur. One resident believes the shared driveways on California do not fit in the neighborhood. A straw poll by show of hands showed 25 in favor of the conceptual plan and 13 opposed.
Approved action item supporting the concept be submitted to the District 10 Council Board with the provision that developers continue to work with the committee and the community going forward with the design and details.
Next meeting: June 7, 7:00 pm, at Java Train unless otherwise announced.
Adjourned: 9:00 PM.
Respectfully submitted by Chris Harkness

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

Site donated by: Havens Design, Matt Schmitt Photography
and UrbanPlanet Software LLC