The Saint Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted 6-1 on June 28 to approve a parking variance that will allow a Snelling-Hamline building that housed manufacturing businesses for many years to become an auto repair garage. The decision is final unless appealed to the City Council.

JWP Automotive LLC wishes to move into a building at 1457 Marshall Ave. that has housed different industrial uses, including a foundry. The property is zoned light industrial.

Sai Paige and John Vang want to open an auto repair business in part of the building. That use requires 30 off-street parking spaces. They plan to create 14 employee parking spots at the northeast part of the property, requiring a 16-space variance.

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The couple said vehicles brought in for repair will be parked inside and they do not plan outdoor storage of customer vehicles. They are renting more than 10,000 square feet of space inside the building.

BZA member Diane Trout-Oertel cast the lone vote against the variance. She questioned whether the BZA is setting a precedent for a future tenant who rents the remaining space and will also need a parking variance.

The building is in a mixed-use area with other businesses, including a taxi company. “The area is pretty well parked,’ said BZA member Robert Clarksen.

The Union Park District Council Transportation Committee recommended approval of the variance.

— Jane McClure

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