Minutes - November 5, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012 6:20 PM

Como Community Council—District 10

Land Use Committee

Monday November 5, 2012

Java Train



Members Present: Chris Harkness, Linda Hinderscheit, Kim Moon, Tom Eyre, Curt Stock, Betsy Wehrwein and Bill Sylvester


Staff Present: Jessie Bronk


Others Present: Metropolitan Council Member Jon Commers, MTC Representative John Levin, MTC Project Manager Scott Thompson, State Representative Alice Hausman, City of St. Paul Traffic Engineer Monica Beeman, Lee Slagter from Sussel Builders & 18 Como Park Neighbors


Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m. 


Adoption of Agenda: Motion to approve the agenda (Stock-Sylvester) Passed.


Approval of Minutes:

  • Motion: Approve the minutes of the 08/27/2012 meeting. (Stock-Eyre) Passed
  • Motion:  Approve the minutes of the October 1, 2012 meeting (Stock-Eyre). Passed.


Chair Report: The license application from the pallet recycling business, which was discussed at our last Land Use meeting, was denied by the City.


Metro Transit: Jon Commers, a member of the Metropolitan Council, was present to take part in the discussion regarding the proposed MTC bus line 83 on Lexington Ave., which is currently slated to travel on Hamline Ave. between Horton and Larpenteur. This route has raised some concerns in the neighborhood, particularly among residents along Hamline Ave. Jon Commers shared his contact information: 651-645-4644 or jon.commers@metc.state.mn.us. John Levin indicated that the Central Corridor Transit Study has lasted a year. The main purpose was to plan connecting routes to the Central Corridor Light Rail line. Scott Thompson, the project manager, was also on hand to present most of the information and answer questions. A new route on Lexington was proposed in 2000. There were limited resources to operate the new route and they could not operate the route as frequently as they would have liked. In 2002, the route was eliminated due to budget cuts. Mr. Thompson stated that there was always the intent of revisiting the Lexington route, but with an "improved opportunity to succeed."  Feedback at that time included more frequent service and better service to Como Park. The previous route 83 (in 2001) ran successfully up Horton and Hamline. Mr. Thompson stated that the issues with operating up Lexington Ave. through Como Park include: many curves, limited sight lines, and limited safe sites for bus stops. The Metropolitan Council felt that the Hamline Ave. route better serves the needs of visitors getting to Como Park and the residents of the area accessing the Central Corridor Light Rail. Proposed route frequency will be every 30 minutes. There are about twice as many residents within a quarter mile of Hamline as there are within a quarter mile of Lexington. Bill Sylvester pointed out that residents along Lexington are not within ½ mile of a north-south bus line. Demographic studies have shown that there are more people near Hamline than Lexington who will likely use mass transit because of income and less access to their own automobiles. One of the missions of the MTC is to increase the number of people who take mass transit and not use single-occupancy vehicles as frequently. MTC had considered a route up Midway Parkway through the park (stopping near the Conservatory), but had determined it was too congested to operate safely and efficiently at certain times of the year. The Transportation Committee of the Met Council met and has approved the proposed plan, including the route up Hamline Ave. It will be on the agenda of the next full Met Council meeting. Hamline Ave. neighborhood residents in attendance were concerned about increased traffic congestion and safety issues in a neighborhood with a school and rec center. Lexington Ave. residents are concerned about traffic congestion because of the traffic back ups north of the park during peak hours. Future considerations include running the line up Lexington north of Larpenteur into Roseville, if funding allows. State Representative Alice Hausman indicated that the City of St.Paul may be coming to the State for bonding money to improve parking and transportation. She suggested that it would be a good time to seriously discuss these issues, including the consideration of mass transit needs.


1538 Chelsea St. Zoning Variance: Lee Slagter, from Sussel Builders, was present to discuss the proposal to build a 14' x 26' garage in front of the current garage at a home on 1538 Chelsea. The current garage would continue to be used for storage, with future plans to turn it into living space.  The variance is needed because the new garage will be built in front of the house. The new garage will still be located to the rear of the adjacent homes. The adjacent neighbors have submitted statements that they do not object. Flyers were distributed in the general area to give notice about tonight's meeting and no objections were heard. 

  • Motion: Send a letter of recommendation in support of the variance requested for the construction of the new garage in front of the home at 1538 Chelsea. (Wehrwein-Harkness). Passed.


Putter There Putt Putt Golf Course: Tom  Annunciada , owner of the miniature golf course in Como Park, was on the agenda tonight, because the City had told him that they were considering putting out a bid for a different operator for the course.  He has recently been informed by the City that they have re-considered and are going to honor the last five years of his contract.  They are increasing his rates, so he will need to increase the fees he charges. He is also considering an expansion in the future. No action was needed at tonight’s meeting.


New Business: We received an email today informing us that the Hmong Academy has requested a sound level variance for 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the period of their construction (November, 2012 to August, 2013). The public meeting is November 21 at 5:30 p.m. We have no additional information at this time. Kim Moon is going to call the Hmong Academy and ask them why they are requesting a sound level variance and then will get back to the committee in order to determine if we need to take any action. 


Betsy Wehrwein raised a question about how we can make sure that the neighborhood is informed of issues in the community. Many in attendance expressed how much they appreciate the information in the weekly District 10 e-newsletter. Katie Plese suggested posting copies of our weekly newsletter at neighborhood gathering spots.  This would make the newsletter more accessible to those who do not have email, as well as encourage those who do have access to email to sign up for the weekly e-newsletter. Betsy also expressed concerns about the Council’s communication with the Como Park Regional Park work group. We talked about revisiting our representation on the Como Park Regional Park at a board meeting.


Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned at 9:01.

Future Meeting Dates:  The next meeting is Monday, December 3, 2012, at Java Train.

Additional meeting dates (Mondays at Java Train unless noted otherwise): To be determined.


Minutes recorded by Linda R. Hinderscheit, Committee Member

These minutes are not official until approved.







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