Letter: An invitation to architects, property owners to explore housing options
There was overwhelming support at the Nov. 5 community meeting for further consideration of allowing additional housing units, of modest size, in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood to fill a need for seniors or empty nesters to downsize without leaving the neighborhood, to allow more flexibility in use of current and new housing units, and to accommodate returning children, aging relatives, visitors or other renters.
Several options were discussed, including Accessory Dwelling Units (small living units, either separate from the existing main house or attached to it), conversion of existing space in a larger home to create a separate living unit and the “house within a house” concept. The presentation by Dr. Lyn Bruin from the University of Minnesota was excellent, as was the involvement of staff from the St. Paul Planning and Economic Development Department, who discussed details of a draft Central Corridor ordinance that would include south St. Anthony Park.
Several issues need to be addressed. To facilitate that discussion with real-world examples, the District 12 Land Use Efficiency action group is asking local architects and property owners to participate in the creation of conceptual designs for specific properties.
For each site, the property owner will provide a statement of needs and goals. In collaboration with the owner, the architect will develop preliminary design options, consisting of floor plans, site plans and sketches of the exteriors. These will be available for discussions with neighbors and for public review and comment. Neither party will be obligated to pursue the plans further, and we ask the architects to participate pro bono for this phase.
These plans will reflect a variety of owners’ needs, site conditions and architectural solutions. They may identify the controls needed for a local zoning overlay (unit size limits, need for off-street parking, etc.). Instead of discussing these issues theoretically, these plans will allow more concrete examples.
Architects, residential designers, and property owners wishing to participate should contact me, Philip Broussard, at 651-645-0266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Anthony Park