Minutes - August 1, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011 8:30 AM

Land Use Committee

August 1, 2011, Java Train


Members Present: Chris Harkness, Linda Hinderscheit, Bill Sylvester, Betsy Wehrwein and Kim Moon, Chair


Others: Jon Knox, Sally Worku, Panod Klongtruatroke, Pete Bolstad, Delores Rufenacht, Jessica Bronk, Christine and Steve Finnegan, Angie Guggisberg, Kim Krose, Amy Dunk, Joan Connolly, Mary Ellen Clasemann, Alvin Clasemann, Tim Dickinson, Pat Karris, Frank Karris, Audrey Clasemann, Mary Ginther, Michael MacMillan, Melissa MacMillan, Cindy Mitsch, Christopher Nelson, Sharon Dzik, Kate McCreight, Chet & Donna Mirocha, Stephanie Lohse, Lori Klongtruatroke, Jeff Lemmons, Rose Lemmons, Jennifer Victor-Larsen, Tim Chase, Pat Mackley, Mike & Lori Treiber, Paul & Carolyn Wilberg


Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.


Approval of Minutes:  The minutes of the 6-27-2011 meeting were approved.


Java Train Liquor License Request: Christine and Steve Finnegan, owners and operators of Java Train, have applied for a liquor license from the City of St. Paul. Information distributed in advance of tonight’s Land Use meeting indicated that a parking variance would need to be approved before the city would issue a liquor license to Java Train.  This information was given to the Finnegans by a city official but was in error. Java Train currently has a parking variance that will remain in effect. The Finnegans thought it was important to have the meeting in order to provide the community with an opportunity to ask them questions and express concerns.


The Finnegans reported that getting a liquor license is an expensive venture and it was not financially viable for them until recently. They want to serve strong beer and wine to accompany dinner—no hard liquor. The license would require that anyone ordering an alcoholic beverage also order food. They are not planning on expanding their hours of operation. Their current parking variance limits their closing time to no later than 10:00 p.m. A liquor license is issued to them and does not automatically transfer to any possible new owners of the property in the future. No bar is planned. They did not apply for an entertainment license, so no live music is planned. Owners and staff will have to get training from the city on recognizing when someone has had enough to drink. They plan to have managers on duty at all times that the restaurant is open. They have always had a policy to always have at least two staff people on duty at all times. Java Train has a contract with Holy Childhood parish across Pascal to allow Java Train’s customers to use the church parking lot. Chris and Steve offered to improve the signage inside and outside the restaurant so more customers know about it.


Many in attendance spoke in support of Java Train getting a liquor license because of all that the Finnegans have done for the neighborhood.


Concerns were expressed by some of the neighborhood residents who were in attendance:

  • Extra traffic on Pascal
  • Speed of traffic on Pascal and Bison
  • Visibility of traffic on Pascal and Bison (vehicles parked too close to corners at intersections limit visibility)
  • Some neighbors spoke against the consumption of alcohol and making it more available in the neighborhood.


Citizens can contact Elizabeth Stiffler in the St. Paul Traffic Department to consider possible steps to alleviate some of the traffic concerns:

  • Speed bumps (however, the city tries to avoid speed bumps because of snow plowing issues)
  • Re-evaluate current parking on both sides of Pascal.  The street becomes too narrow for two oncoming cars to pass. Consider having no parking on one side (preferably the east side nearest the church).
  • Paint the curbs yellow to more clearly delineate no parking areas (especially near curbs).
  • Consider additional stop signs.


Chris Harkness also informed those in attendance that she is one of the chairs of the Midway Parkway West Como Small Area Plan committee; issues to be considered in the small area plan development include traffic and parking. Chris invited anyone interested to become part of the process.


There are three issues to consider:

  1. the city’s approval of the liquor license in general
  2. allowing the consumption of liquor on the patio
  3. waiving the typical 45-day waiting period,


Waiving the waiting period would allow Java Train to start serving alcohol in anticipation of the liquor license getting approved. The public still has a 45-day period in which to offer input. It would be a financial risk for Java Train if the license does not get approved.  If the waiting period is waived it could serve as a trial period to see if any problems arise before the license is approved.


A straw poll was taken to determine how those in attendance felt about the three issues above.  The vast majority of those in attendance voted in support of all three issues. Four to six people voted in opposition, with the most opposition votes being cast against the waiver of the 45-day waiting period.


The Land Use Committee approved three separate action items (below) to submit to the next meeting of the District 10 Community Council Board for their consideration.  Community members will also be able to vote at that time. If residents of District 10 want to vote at the next meeting, they need to be registered.  If not currently registered, a resident can contact the District 10 office to register at least three days prior to the next meeting, which is August 16th at North Dale Recreation Center.


Action Items:

1. Support Java Train's request for a liquor (beer and wine only) license provided that the restaurant closes by 10:00 p.m.

2.  Support Java Train's request to serve beer and wine on the patio provided the patio closes by 10:00 p.m.

3. Support Java Train's request for a waiver of the 45-day waiting period.


Adjournment:  The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Next meeting:  The next Land Use Committee meeting will be held at on Monday, August 29, 2011 at Java Train.   (Future Meetings: October 3, 2011)


Minutes recorded by Linda R. Hinderscheit, committee member


These minutes are not official until approved.

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

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