Mendota Heights City Council seat to be filled by appointment

The Mendota Heights City Council will interview candidates for a vacancy on the City Council during a work session scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, December 14, at a location still to be determined.

The vacancy was created by the November 12 resignation of Liz Petschel. Applications from prospective council members were accepted until November 30. The City Council and mayor-elect Stephanie Levine were scheduled to review the applications on December 8, after this issue of the Villager went to press.

The City Council is expected to appoint the interim council member later this month to serve in that role until Mendota Heights’ next general election on November 8, 2022, when voters will choose a council member to serve the remainder of the open term plus an additional four years.

For more information, call 651-452-1850 or visit

Three-story apartment building planned for 2132 Grand Avenue

Jerome Exley owns a duplex at 2132 Grand Ave. He and his family lived in one of the units from 2008-12 and watched as five- and four-story apartment buildings were constructed on the lots on either side of them. While he and his wife had hoped to move back to the duplex as empty-nesters, “we’ve just kind of been left in the dust with development on both sides,” Exley said. So now they want to tear down the duplex and build a three-story apartment building in its place.

The Exleys received the green light for the seven-unit building on November 30 when the Saint Paul Board of Zoning Appeals approved a 2-foot setback variance for the surface parking lot they are planning off the alley in back. The zoning code requires off-street parking to be a minimum of 4 feet from any property line. A setback of 1.9 feet is proposed from the east property line.

The apartment building will be just over 30 feet high—well under the maximum 40-foot height limit in that area. The property is zoned for multifamily use, so no zoning change is needed.


house ad


The Macalester-Groveland Community Council Housing and Land Use Committee had recommended approval of the variance.

Redesigned Dale Street bridge over I-94 reopens to traffic

After nine months of detours, the Dale Street bridge over I-94 reopened to traffic in late November with wider sidewalks, improved bicycle connections and public artwork that proclaims “We are Rondo” in 12
different languages.

The artwork pays tribute to the surrounding neighborhood’s history as the city’s predominantly African-American neighborhood and celebrates its diverse population today.

The Dale Street bridge continues to provide two lanes of motorized traffic in each direction. However, turn lanes have been added to improve traffic flow. The bridge work continues this month with the installation of new lighting, so travelers can expect short-term closures. The final details of the project will be completed next summer, including the reconstruction of Dale Street between Iglehart and Concordia avenues.

The $14.7 million project was a collaborative effort by the Ramsey County Department of Public Works, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Saint Paul Department of Public Works.


mayoral candidate
Liz Petschel

City Council orders demolition of home at 1904 Princeton Ave.

A house in Macalester-Groveland that has been on the city’s vacant properties list since 2007 must be torn down within 15 days due to its poor condition. The Saint Paul City Council voted 7-0 on December 2 to order the removal of the 1,230-square-foot home at 1904 Princeton Ave. with no option for repair.

Owners John Kattar and Mary Jo Durand have continued to pay property taxes and vacant building fees on the 1922 house. However, its chimney and foundation are in a deteriorated condition, as are interior and exterior walls and the detached garage in back.

The couple’s attorney, Steve Anderson, said that while the couple have made progress in clearing out the house and addressing some of the structural problems, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed work. Anderson asked that they be given more time to clean out the house. They have received offers to purchase the house, he said.

Ward 3 City Council member Chris Tolbertsaid that the problem had gone on for long enough. The house has been vacant longer than he has been on the City Council, he noted.

HPC approves new single-family home for vacant Summit Ave. lot

The second time was the charm for developer David Hovda. His plans for a new single-family home on a vacant lot at 1498 Summit Ave. were approved by the Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission on November 16.

The HPC had rejected his previous plans in April, citing a lack of information on the building’s height and on how the house would relate to neighboring structures in the Summit Avenue West Historic Preservation District.

Hovda changed the height of the house and the pitch of the roof in response to the HPC’s concerns. He is now planning to build a two-story house with fiber cement lap siding, an architectural asphalt shingle roof and a metal roof above the front porch. A detached garage will be built in back with access from the alley.

The house will occupy a 490-square-foot lot, which is a typical size for many Saint Paul neighborhoods but relatively small for Summit Avenue. The house will be situated so that its front lines up with other homes on the block.

News Briefs were compiled by Jane McClure and Dale Mischke.


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