Plans for a new three-unit townhouse at 540-542 Portland Ave. can proceed, the Saint Paul City Council decided on a 6-1 vote on January 27. The council upheld an appeal by the developers and overturned a Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) vote to deny the building permit. The HPC weighed in because the development site is in the Historic Hill District.

The council’s action allows Sullivan Property Investments LLC and their partners to build a Dutch Colonial-style townhouse on the rear of a lot that already has a three-unit townhouse facing Portland. The design of the proposed building is similar to the existing structure, which dates from 1908. The proposed building would face Summit Avenue.

portland development
The front elevation (facing Summit Avenue) of the proposed three-unit townhouse at 540-542 Portland Ave.

The project still needs the approval of an easement from a neighboring property owner.

The City Council had voted last December to deny an appeal by neighbors and uphold a Board of Zoning Appeals decision granting the project six variances for primary entrance location, number of off-street parking spaces, lot coverage, lot size and width, and rear-yard setback.

One condition of the variances’ approval is that the building permit have the support of the HPC. The HPC voted to support the plans, then reversed that decision and denied the permit in December.

— Jane McClure


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