Minutes - March 2, 2015

Como Community Council--District 10

Land Use Committee

Monday, March 2, 2015

Street Car Station




Present: Kim Moon, Chris Harkness, Bill Sylvester, Kevin Dahm, Frank Dolejsi, and Linda Hinderscheit


Absent: Joao Medeiros and Ryan Flynn


Others: Approximately 30-40 community members attended this meeting.


Call to Order:  Kim Moon called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. 


Adoption of Agenda: Motion to approve the agenda (Dolejsi-Dahm) Passed.


Approval of Minutes: Motion: Approve the minutes of the 02/02/2015 meeting. (Dahm-Dolejsi) Passed.


Chair Report: Last month's meeting was devoted to train safety with guest speaker, Dave Christianson, from MNDOT. Kim presented some facts on recent accidents, which involved rail oil tanker cars, around the country. Railroads may not carry enough insurance to cover the damage, so taxpayers pick up the rest. Two accidents happened within the past month. Approximately 80% of the Bakken oil travels through our neighborhood.


Guest Speaker: Deputy Chief Butch Inks, St. Paul Fire Department, was present to discuss St. Paul's fire preparedness plan in case of rail oil tanker fire. Chief Inks reviewed the general capabilities of the St. Paul Fire Department. He reported that the railroads stress safety. The railroad has funded specialized training in Pueblo, CO, which have been attended by St. Paul firefighters. There are several different relevant courses offered. However, hiring replacements for fire fighters, who are sent to training, is not funded by the railroads. There is a minimum staffing level the fire department must maintain. Funding for that is a problem.  More funding is needed. Oil trains are about 110 cars in length with 30,000 gallons in each car.  Bakken oil is highly flammable. If there is derailment with a fire, it will be very challenging to fight it. Most likely the area will be evacuated with half a mile. Hazmat units would be sent in. There is a minimum of 115 fire fighters on duty at any time. The St. Paul Fire Department has agreements with surrounding communities to work together. They partner with MTC to bring buses to help transport people who are being evacuated. There would be approximately 30-40 fire fighters responding to a rail oil fire immediately. Chief Inks indicated that there is an emergency alert system that residents can sign up for. He will get that information to Kim for distribution. Typical response time for arrival on the scene is 4 minutes. Chris Harkness asked how we can work with the fire department to better inform the community on an evacuation plan. Chief Inks responded that the department is willing to work with us on this. The fire department has not specifically worked with Parks and Rec to develop an evacuation plan for Como Park and Como Pool. Chief Inks suggested that we get a representative of Burlington Northern in to speak to us and answer our questions specific to railroad questions. Each city has an emergency manager, who is also another person with whom to work for developing a community evacuation/readiness plan.


Guest Speaker: Kenneth Piper, architect for Tanek Architects, was present to discuss current plans for the former Sholom Home site. The plans continue to be an assisted living facility. There is a proposal for 170 units: 140 for assisted living and 30 for memory care. They are asking for a conditional use permit. (Because the building has been vacant for so long, they must re-apply for a permit.) The first building was built in 1923 and housed 40 residents. Mr. Piper reported that the original building is the most architecturally significant part of the complex. Current additions were added between 1955 and the 1977. In the past, there were over 300 units in the current building. Tanek specializes in restoring and renovating old buildings, one of which includes the old Whitney Hotel. Mr. Piper reported that the building is structurally sound. There is no plan to change any of the parking. They would like to present to the Planning Commission in April. They hope to have a building permit by July, and construction can start very soon afterwards. Financing is in place, and it is all private funding. The care provider partner is Oxford. They currently manage 11 facilities around the state and have been in business for a decade.

Motion: Recommend to the board that we support the conditional use permit for the renovation of the old Sholom Home site. (Harkness-Sylvester) Passed.


New Business: None.


Adjourn: Motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:28 p.m.


Next Meeting: The next meeting is Monday, March 30, 2015, at the Street Car Station.


Future meeting dates: 5/4, 6/1, 6/29, 8/3, 8/31, 10/5, 11/2 & 11/30


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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