In September of 2017, the Saint Paul City council voted to approve the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan. That plan was crafted and endorsed by city planners and the St Paul Planning Commission.
In November of 2018 Ryan Companies- selected as the master developer – proposed an expanse of changes to the plan. Some of these changes are academic and simply follow industry standards such as allowed building materials. On April 3, 2018 the Saint Paul City Council will hold a public hearing to hear comments about the proposed changes and then vote on them the following week on April 10, 2018.
There are several major changes proposed that Sustain Ward 3 feels are contrary to the Master Plan’s vision, goals, and directives and we encourage you to email your City Council member about them:
Single Family Homes Along Mississippi River Blvd
A major change is a proposal to downzone the F1 zoning along Mississippi River Boulevard to allow for single family homes. Originally the F1 zoning code called for multi family homes composed of 2-6 units.
While the overall units on the site are not dramatically affected by these single family homes, Sustain Ward 3 does not feel that downzoning lot 11 along the Mississippi River is 1) in keeping with the directives of the Master Plan’s goals for housing mixes, 2) is not a sustainable vision, and 3) creates de facto exclusionary zoning in favor of high value single family homes.
Increased Parking But Decreased Commercial & Mixed Use
In its amendment proposal, Ryan Companies has requested to reduce the minimum amounts of mixed use and commercial spaces. This change comes on top of a reduction already of nearly 40% of the overall commercial and retail spaces and will result in less tax revenue and fewer jobs available on the Ford Site. Moreover Ryan is requesting changes that allow for increasing the parking for this reduced commercial and retail at the north portion of the site.
The elimination of mixed use spaces throughout much of the southern half of the site is contrary to not only the vision of the Ford Site Master Plan but also to the City of Saint Paul’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
Both the Ford Site Master Plan and the 2040 Plan emphasize mixed use development that focuses on creating neighborhood nodes. These nodes will allow for better walkability and aim to reduce reliance on cars and increase mixed use in neighborhoods. The changes proposed discourage or eliminate mixed use in some parts of the site and instead of encouraging transit or mode options, increasing the parking capacity of the site will only encourage more car traffic to, from and within the site.
Elimination of Eastern Transit, Emergency Vehicle, Pedestrian, & Bike Access
Ryan Companies has proposed the elimination of Saunders Avenue as an access point on the eastern side of the site citing grading and infrastructure issues. They have not as yet offered a substitution for the Saunders connection.
Without a viable alternative Montreal Avenue will be the sole access to the site for transit and emergency vehicles as well as force car, bike and pedestrian access to a single point of entry on the eastern side of the site.
What We Are Asking You To Do
Sustain Ward 3 encourages you to join us at the public hear on April 3 to speak against the proposed changes above.
April 3, 2018 5:30pm
St Paul City Hall Council Chambers
15 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
If You Can’t Make It
If you can’t make it to the public hearing, please email your St Paul City Council Member. The email addresses are:
Ward 1, Dai Thao email@example.com
Ward 2, Rebecca Noecker firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 3, Chris Tolbert email@example.com
Ward 4, Mitra Jalali Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 5, Amy Brendmoen (Council President) email@example.com
Ward 6, Kassim Busuri firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 7, Jane Prince email@example.com
If you don’t know which ward you live in you can use this tool to look up your ward and Council Member.
If you don’t live in St Paul, please email CM Chris Tolbert who is the sponsor of the amendment.
Rob lives with his wife Amanda in their small Highland Park home with their two dog-sized cats. He is an avid bicyclist and musician.