For specifics on "Space" conflict, click here.

Click here to find out why the answer to this question might be a matter of life and breath!

Is 100 year old Cottonwood in the way of underpass?

And if it is, what should happen to it?

One CO2 Vacumn to go?

LITIGATION UPDATE 12/21/2020

 

We wish to express our sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed to the Neighbors For A Livable Saint Paul Legal Action Fund. We greatly appreciate your support and generosity. The following is an update on the status of the petition.  

 

As many of you are aware, several Saint Paul residents affiliated with Neighbors For A Livable Saint Paul filed a Writ of Mandamus action under Minn. Stat. § 586.01 in Ramsey County District Court. The purpose of this action is to compel the City to follow their own law by applying the plain meaning of "open space" in the Zoning Code and Ford Site Master Plan. The City and Ryan are trying to count private apartment balconies and private decks within the limits of the building as "open space", conflating the clearly codified distinction between lot coverage by buildings and lot coverage for open space, and inflating the scale of this already out-of-scale project. 

 

The City responded by filing a motion to dismiss arguing that the residents' claim is a land use dispute that is to be adjudicated under Minn. Stat. § 462.361. The City also argued that the court has no jurisdiction and the residents have no standing because the residents did not appeal within 10 days of the Zoning Administrator's failure to execute their legal duty to apply the Code and the Master Plan in accordance with its plain meaning. 

 

Actually, the Writ of Mandamus action is often applied in the context of land use issues; especially to compel governments to perform a clear legal duty. Interestingly, in their motion to dismiss the action, the City actually cited (for a different reason) case law which clearly stands for the notion that a § 586.01. Writ of Mandamus is a perfect remedy for the residents' claim.

 

Also, the City's insinuation that the residents had a duty to appeal within 10 days of the Zoning Administrators failure to follow their own law is really difficult to take seriously and there are several very strong counter arguments to be made. What were the petitioners supposed to appeal? A back-room decision, to which the general public was not privy, and where the intention was to knowingly circumvent the plain meaning of the Code and the Master Plan?

 

Our team of lawyers, both paid and volunteer, is exploring all available arguments and is working diligently to prepare a response asking the court to deny the City's motion to dismiss. We anticipate that response will be filed in mid January. There is a hearing scheduled for late January on the City's motion to dismiss. 

 

We will continue to keep you posted on this matter. 

 

NLSP remains committed to promoting responsible community development that enhances the existing neighborhood and the City overall. we need your financial support to ensure that we have the resources to help fund this effort, the pending petition, and future legal action. Please consider making a contribution to support NLSP's Legal Action Fund by clicking HERE.  

In the City's own words, Neighbors are confused  (p13):               

"Petitioners dispute is based on a
simple confusion between two different concepts of Amenity Space (i.e., “Open Space Coverage”) and Parks and Open Space in the Ford Site Master Plan."

"(the) Zoning Administrator interpreted this definition of Amenity Space (sic) to mean, 'All private property areas that meet the [Amenity Space] definition – ground level or above grade – apply 100% towards meeting the [25% Amenity Space] requirement. (Id.)'."


"armed with this interpretation, the Zoning Administrator then made its June 16, 2020, decision on Ryan’s variance application: Therefore, for [The Property] the 25% [Amenity Space] requirement is met based on perimeter  landscape/hardscape (including the
dog run area in SW corner) as well as the above grade amenity deck and green roof area. (Id.) 

 

In other words, under the Zoning Administrator’s interpretation
of the Amenity Space in the Master Plan, all private patios, walkways, play areas, etc. can be added up. And when we add up all these areas in The Property, we reach that magic 25%
minimum. No variance needed."

If you go to the Master Plan (click here, and search for 'Amenity Space,' well, try it. We are understandably confused. It's obviously 'magic.'

We are regaled daily with articles about the need for higher density buildings (usually linked to multi-family, higher-rise buildings).

These clarion calls for change are typically linked to racism, i.e. if you oppose high-density you oppose affordable housing. If you oppose affordable housing you are racist.

Is this the connection which our city should be making? Is it really a good way to go or is it actually an unintentional form of discrimination?

Click here and see what science says.