Minutes 2/28/11
Monday, March 28, 2011 7:25 PM

District 10 Land Use Committee

Java Train, 02/28/2011


Committee attendance: Chris Harkness, Linda Hinderscheit, Bill Sylvester, and Betsy Wehrwein


Others present: Triesta Brown (resident of District 11), Board Members Kim Moon and Marsha Milgrom, Mary Wawro (resident of District 6), Mark Erickson (resident of District 10), Josh Williams (City of St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development)


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


The agenda for the meeting was approved.


Minutes of the 1/31/2010 meeting were approved after being amended to include discussion of Tim Weiss’ (owner of Gabe’s) past legal difficulties.  These difficulties affected his ability to obtain a liquor license for a period of time. He has met his legal obligations, expressed his remorse and indicated the issue would never happen again. He is now eligible to obtain a liquor license from the City. The issue is considered resolved. 


Pierce Butler/Lexington Parkway Bicycle Connection CIB Project: Triesta Brown, a resident of District 11, was on hand to explain the project. A group called District 11 Neighbors initiated this project. A bicycle path bridge is scheduled to be built parallel and to the west of the Lexington Avenue bridge crossing Pierce Butler Route. District 11 Neighbors are looking for a letter of support for a ramp, connecting the new bicycle bridge directly to Pierce Butler Route. Pierce Butler and Lexington are not on the same grade.  If a ramp is not built, cyclists will need to cross Lexington and travel through the neighborhood streets, using an indirect and possibly confusing route.


Motion: The D10 Land Use Committee will prepare an action item requesting support for the proposal to connect the Pierce Butler and Lexington Avenue bike routes and will bring this to the D10 Board for approval.  (Motion approved.)


McMurray Field Improvement CIB Project:  A representative of the City of St. Paul’s Parks and Recreation Department was not in attendance at tonight’s Land Use meeting as expected. The Parks and Recreation Department had presented information at the last District 10 Board meeting regarding proposed redevelopment of McMurray Field.  Information about this proposal is on the District 10 website.  Spectator stands, artificial turf and possible concession stands are included in this proposal. Mary Wawro, a resident of District 6, was concerned about the lack of public input into this process. Residents of District 6 would be directly affected by this redevelopment; however, as far as we know the CIB proposal has not been sent to District 6. In general, the process is not as open as it needs to be, and we need to stay on top of it. The District 10 Board needs to decide on whether to support the proposal at the 3/15/11 meeting.  The Land Use Committee will bring the community’s concerns to the Board meeting (see addendum to these minutes*).  The City’s CIB committee meets at the end of March.  A bus tour of possible projects occurs at the beginning of April.  Those opposed to the proposal will have an opportunity to express their concerns at both of the aforementioned events. One of this committee’s major concerns is that there was no representative from Parks and Recreation present at tonight’s meeting to discuss our concerns.


Motion:  Chris Harkness will communicate this committee’s serious concerns to the District 10 Board. There are too many unanswered questions for this committee to support the funding for the McMurray Field Improvement Project. (Motion approved.)


Midway Parkway West Como Small Area Plan: Josh Williams was present to answer our questions regarding the update of the Midway Parkway West Como Small Area Plan. The last plan was written and adopted in the mid-1990s. The City no longer has sufficient staff to assign a planner to each small area plan.  The Planning department staff will assist residents in starting the process of revising the plan.  There does tend to be more staff involvement in small area plans than district plans. The small area plan is particularly useful when addressing zoning questions. The staff will review District and Small Area Plans as well as the City’s Comprehensive Plan when deciding on zoning questions. Page 13 of the District and Small Area Plan Guidelines is a useful guide when constructing the revised plan.


The Land Use Committee needs to recruit members for a Steering Committee as a first step in the process. A variety of stakeholders should be represented in the Steering Committee. The co-chairs should be a resident of the area and a member of the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission member should not be from the neighborhood. The Small Area Plan will ultimately be adopted as part of the City’s Comprehension Plan.


Some of the recurring issues/concerns to address in the Small Area Plan include:

  • Como Park
  • Including concern about how Parks and Recreation Department is working with neighborhoods affected

State Fairgrounds

Shalom property

Other institutional properties in the area with aging facilities:

  • Holy Childhood school closing, possible closure of parish in the future
  • Booth Brown House
  • HHH Job Corps
  • Lyngblomsten


State Fair Peddling concerns: Mark Erickson, who lives at the corner of Snelling Avenue and Midway Parkway, rents some yard space to a vendor who sells bottled water. The vendor pays a fee to the city in order to be licensed. The business of the vendor is being affected negatively by traveling peddlers also selling bottled water. The peddlers pay a small licensing fee to the City and are not obeying the rules set for peddlers within the parameters of their license.  Mark Erickson has complained to the City of St. Paul and requested enforcement, but enforcement by the City has not been forthcoming. It was recommended that he communicate with the Business Review Council. Bob Humphries, who is the relatively new Director of the Council, can inform him which city departments need to be involved and how to get the licensing violations enforced. Mark Erickson will contact his department and bring information back to the Land Use Committee, as this is a concern of the committee as well.


Upcoming meeting: Monday, 4/4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Java Train.


Future meetings:  Mondays 5/2, Tuesday 5/31, and Monday, 6/27


The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.


These minutes are not official until approved.


Linda R. Hinderscheit, Committee member



*Addendum to the 2/28/11 Land Use Minutes


Concerns expressed by neighbors regarding St. Paul Parks & Recreation's

CIB proposal for the redevelopment of McMurray Field.


1.       The proposal was submitted by the Parks & Recreation Department to District 10 for comment, although District 6 residents are also affected by the proposal.


2.       There is grave concern that this is an attempt by the Parks & Recreation Department to develop McMurray fields without adequate public process. This proposal would result in a high impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, why did it not go through a wider, public process?


3.       The CIB proposal is very vague as to what is being proposed. The Parks & Recreation Department proposes a "premiere softball facility" with artificial turf, spectator seating and another concession stand. The proposal lacks specificity.


4.       Representatives of the Parks and Recreation Department did not attend the 2-28-2011 meeting of the District 10 Land Use Committee to more fully delineate its proposal and answer questions. 


5.       Traffic and Roads:

·         Development in Como Park in the past decade has caused traffic surrounding and in Como Park to be very congested on weekends in the spring, summer and fall, and the new pool facility has not yet opened.

·         The current proposal lacks specificity in terms of road realignment.

·         There is concern that road realignment is not in the CIB category for roads.

·         The Parks & Recreation Department’s explanation of traffic appears contradictory. In the CIB proposal, Parks & Recreation says that traffic is increasing on Lexington, but a traffic study completed in summer 2010 showed traffic had not increased.  However, if traffic counts were wrong and traffic has increased on Lexington, why would Parks & Recreation propose more development that would increase traffic to greater levels?

·         There is concern that the proposed redesign of roads only refocuses traffic congestion rather than solving it. For example, traffic congestion would probably increase at Como and Lexington and where the rerouted Jessamine would intersect with Como.


6.       There are already 4 concession stands in Como Park. This is a park, not a food court.


7.       The Parks & Recreation Departments proposal does not appear to be fiscally sound, especially in the current era of limited public funding resources. For example, Parks and Recreation has said they do not have the resources to replant trees in the area of the blow down from several years ago (corner of Lexington and Horton). However, they are now proposing expensive artificial turf for softball fields.


8.       The increasing commercial over-development of Como Park very likely will endanger home values in the neighborhood.  People want to live next to green space and low-impact recreational materials, such as picnic areas and well-planned bike and pedestrian paths.  Increased vehicle traffic, lights, and noise do not increase property values, and very likely will result in a decline.


9.       Residents currently living in the vicinity of McMurray fields often leave town during the annual Hmong Festival.  Some of the residents even check into hotels in the Twin Cities, so they can escape the noise and congestion generated by the Hmong Festival.  Parks and Recreation’s proposal would expand these problems beyond the July 4th weekend.


10.  The McMurray Field CIB proposal does not address community concerns regarding the Como Park Transportation and Implementation Plan as outlined in the minutes of the October meeting of the District 10 Council.

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

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