District 12 zoning proposal meets opposition

The St. Anthony Park Community Council has tabled a proposal to change the zoning code in north St. Anthony Park to allow additional dwelling units to be built on single-family lots. The council is considering creating an ad hoc committee or task force to study housing density in District 12 and hear neighbors’ views about the zoning proposal.

Nearly two dozen residents attended the community council’s regular meeting on April 10 to express their opposition to zoning code changes in the neighborhood. The council had not planned to review any zoning proposal on April 10 but had intended to hear a report from the District 12 Land Use Committee, which met the week before.

The Land Use Committee was to hear a proposal on April 3 by the Land Use Efficiency interest group (not an official committee of the District 12 Community Council) to change the zoning code to allow property owners to build additional dwelling units—small separate units or attached additions to an existing home. The units could provide living space for aging parents, caregivers or seniors looking to downsize but stay on their property, proponents say.

More than 60 residents crowded into the meeting space at South St. Anthony Rec Center on April 3 to state their opposition to or support of the proposal.

The Land Use Committee did not review the proposal that night but instead allowed the crowd to give statements and ask questions about the proposal and the community council process in St. Paul.

The Land Use Efficiency interest group is part of a larger initiative in District 12 called Transition Town ASAP. A group of residents formed Transition Town ASAP in 2013 to look at ways residents of St. Anthony Park could reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. The initiative established nine working groups tasked with projects that include establishing communal solar power grids, sustainable gardening and food production, transportation and land use efficiency.

Land Use Efficiency group members met one-on-one with several dozen area residents in August and September 2013 to assess interest in pursuing a zoning change to allow accessory dwellings on properties currently zoned as single-family. The group also conducted two public meetings, in November and in January, at Luther Seminary. The group’s draft ordinance was made public in late March and is posted on the District 12 website at sapcc.org/adus.

Residents interested in being involved in a group that would examine the issue should send an email to Amy Sparks, District 12 executive director, at amy@sapcc.org .

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