Council gives final approval for 5-story apartment at Selby-Dale

TJL Development’s plans to construct a five-story apartment building at 594 Selby Ave. won unanimous approval from the Saint Paul City Council on July 15. The decision also clears the way for rehabbing and converting a former auto repair shop at 156 N. Dale St.

The apartment building will have 81 units ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms, with 110 parking spaces below ground and on the first floor. A second-floor deck will be located on the west side of the building.

The project won Planning Commission approval for seven variances and rezoning earlier this spring. The Heritage Preservation Commission supported the design for the apartment building, which is in the Historic Hill District. However, the HPC rejected a request from the developer to demolish the former auto repair shop

The variances approved by the Planning Commission for density and building setbacks were final and did not require City Council approval.

Electric scooters are charged up for next go-round in Saint Paul

Electric scooters are returning to Saint Paul streets. The City Council approved contracts with two scooter vendors on July 8, allowing the vehicles to operate until November 30.

Lime, which is based in San Francisco, can place up to 500 scooters throughout the city. Bird, based in Santa Monica, will place another 500 scooters around town. Around 338,000 electric scooter rides were reported in Saint Paul last year.

The scooters have generated controversy in recent years. Riders love the convenience of using an electronic payment system to make a quick trip, but critics contend the scooters are often left in places where they do not belong. One disability rights advocate last year sued the city of Minneapolis over scooters that were left to block sidewalks.

 

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Scooters are not to be driven on sidewalks, but can be used on streets, in bike lanes, and on bike paths. They can be parked on city right-of-way, but are not allowed to block sidewalks.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lime and Bird must meet strict cleaning protocols. That will be done when a scooter is moved by contractors or picked up for charging overnight.

A drawing of TJL Development's proposed five-story apartment buidling at 594 Selby Ave.

Look what’s new in Summit Hill: Mirrors to end traffic blind spots

A long-awaited safety improvement in Summit Hill neighborhood is now a reality. A limited number of parabolic mirrors are being installed to provide greater safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists at the ends of alleys and streets with blind spots.

“Folks are excited to finally get the mirrors up,” said Summit Hill Association board member Bridget Ales. According to her, the SHA has heard from more than half a dozen neighbors wanting mirrors. The mirrors will be provided free of charge and will be placed in consultation with the district council. Residents will do the installation.

Such mirrors are typically seen on parking structures where vehicles exit. Three mirrors have gone into place in Summit Hill, including one on the south side of Grand Avenue between Grotto and Saint Albans streets.

Department of Public Works spokesperson Lisa Hiebert said the few mirrors her department is aware of prior to this have been placed on private property and are maintained by the owners. She said any mirror placed in the public right-of-way would require a permit. 

Saint Paul OKs sound variances for sewer relining work this fall

The Saint Paul City Council approved sound level variances on July 15 for the relining of sewers at 11 locations around the city. The variances are in place for September 8 through October 9.

Area locations include Aldine Street between Saint Anthony and University avenues, Cleveland Avenue between Marshall and Dayton avenues, Cleveland between Portland and Ashland avenues, Grand Avenue between Cleveland and Prior avenues, Marshall between Prior and Howell Street, Marshall between Snelling Avenue and Asbury Street, Pelham Boulevard between Wabash and Myrtle avenues, Portland between Hamline Avenue and Syndicate Street, and Snelling between Upper Saint Dennis and Edgcumbe roads.

The variance allows for two overnight work periods on each project. From 6 p.m.-7 a.m., pumps and other equipment will not be allowed to exceed 80 decibels at 50 feet. Affected property owners within 400 feet of each project will be notified.

News Briefs were compiled by Jane McClure.

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