Commission also supports rezoning former auto repair shop

By Jane McClure

Several variances were unanimously approved by the St. Paul Planning Commission on May 29 for TJL Development’s plan to construct a five-story apartment building at 594 Selby Ave. Commissioners also supported rezoning an adjacent property at 156 N. Dale St. from business to Traditional Neighborhoods 3 (TN3). That part of the project involves converting a former auto repair shop into possibly a hair salon. The rezoning will be taken up by the City Council for final approval this summer.

The apartment building will have about 80 units ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms, with 110 parking spaces underground and on the first floor. A second-floor deck will be located on the west side of the building.

A drawing of the five-story, approximately 80-unit apartment building proposed at 594 Selby Ave.

The development team is currently considering what levels of rent to charge. The Summit-University Planning Council voted in April to ask that some affordable housing be created as part of the project based on the Twin Cities’ median household income level. However, developer Jim LaValle has asked city officials that affordable housing not be required as a condition for the project.

The apartments would front 594 and what was 600 Selby. The latter lot housed a convenience store until it was demolished in 2005. The lots at 156 N. Dale and 600 Selby were combined in 2016 after a prospective developer considered converting the former auto repair shop into a restaurant.

Most of the apartment building will be in an area already zoned for RM2 multifamily use. The rest will be in the area to be rezoned TN3. “It’s very complicated,” said city planner Tony Johnson.

Most of the apartment building will be in an area already zoned for RM2 multifamily use. The rest will be in the area to be rezoned TN3. “It’s very complicated,” said city planner Tony Johnson.

The Planning Commission approved the following variances for the apartment building: 22 units on one part of the property instead of a maximum of nine allowed; no front setback on Selby instead of the 20 feet required; a 5-foot setback on the property’s east side instead of the 9 feet required to allow room for balconies; a 21-foot setback instead of the 25 feet required for four balconies at the rear of the building; a 53-foot height instead of the maximum 50 feet allowed in an RM2 district; 58 percent lot coverage instead of the maximum 35 percent allowed; and access to parking from both Selby and the Selby-Hague alley.

A variance also was needed for the former auto repair shop on Dale in order to allow two off-street parking spaces in front of the building. TN3 zoning does not allow front-yard parking, but there has been parking in front of the garage ever since it was built in 1915.

The original development plan called for the former garage to be demolished to make way for part of the apartment building, but that was rejected by the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission. The HPC was involved because the development site is in the Historic Hill District.

selby-dale project
A rendering of the former service garage located at 156 N. Dale St.

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