District 12 ADU Task Force to present draft proposal Oct. 5

A District 12 task force that has been exploring neighborhood zoning changes that would allow additional dwelling units (ADUs) to be built on single-family lots in St. Anthony Park will present a draft recommendation on the issue at a public meeting at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Ave., on Monday, Oct. 5, 7-8:30 p.m.

The draft recommends that internal and attached ADUs be allowed with restrictions but that detached ADUs not be allowed.

ADUs are separate living quarters added to the back of a house, over a garage or built as freestanding structures.

The eight-member ADU Task Force was formed a year ago by the District 12 Land Use Committee with the charge to recommend whether or not ADUs are appropriate for the neighborhood after the Land Use Efficiency Group—an interest group that is a part of Transition Town ASAP—proposed the zoning changes to the committee as a way to help provide living space for aging parents, caregivers or seniors looking to downsize but stay on their property.

That proposal came after the City of St. Paul began looking at a residential zoning change that would allow ADUs along the Central Corridor, which would affect the southern portion of St. Anthony Park. Some community members felt that potential change should apply to the north part of the neighborhood, as well.

The task force met 10 times and held one community in March.

The draft recommendation acknowledges a range of opinion among St. Anthony Park residents and task force members. “Some accept that there may be good reason to allow them; whereas, others are concerned about their possible negative impact on green space and overall character of [St. Anthony] Park,” the draft says.

“Some task force members are also skeptical about whether any or all of the reasons discussed are valid, or whether we know enough about potential concerns to mitigate possible negative impacts. Equally important is the feeling shared by most members that we should not limit reasonable use of private property for an ADU if there is no compelling reason to deny this use. In an effort to strike some middle ground, the task force’s consensus is that internal and attached ADUs should be allowed with certain restrictions, but that detached ADUs not be allowed.”

The draft recommendation, which can be found at www.sapcc.org/adu-task-force-draft-recommendation, lists the following recommended criteria for the internal or attached ADUs:

* They must be owner-occupied, with clear, reasonable enforcement provisions for verifying owner occupancy.

* Only internal and attached ADUs would be allowed; detached ADUs would not be allowed.

* Building an ADU over a garage would not be allowed.

* One ADU would be allowed per lot as an accessory to a single-family home. Owners of duplexes would not allowed to add an ADU.

* Occupancy limit would be the same as for a single-family home and would not increase with the addition of an ADU. St. Paul code defines a family as any number of people related by blood or marriage, plus two unrelated individuals.

* Enclosed stairways would be required.

* A plan review by city staff would be required for verification and enforcement. All other code provisions would apply relating to setbacks, height, lot coverage, design standards and so on.

* No additional on-street parking permits would be provided in areas where parking is restricted.

* No additional off-street parking space would be required.

* There should be a minimum and maximum size for an ADU. Typical minimums elsewhere are 300 to 400 square feet; typical maximums are 800 to 1,000 square feet. The task force has not reached consensus on the size limits.

After considering community input from the Oct. 5 meeting, task force members will decide if they want to revise their recommendation and then send it to the District 12 Land Use Committee, said Phil Carlson, one of the task force members. Other task force members include Karen Hovland, Glen Skovholt, Jon Seltz, Mark Thieroff, Jim Stout, Claudia Wielgorecki and Nancy Plagens.

The Land Use Committee would have to approve the recommendation before it went to the District 12 board of directors, which in turn would need to approve it before sending it before the various city committees that would have to review it before it reached the City Council.


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