Thomas Schroeder, 1446 Summit Ave., can add a larger detached garage to his historic property following a Saint Paul City Council vote on December 22 to overturn a Board of Zoning Appeals decision to deny the variance request.

The BZA voted 4-2 against the variance in November, saying it did not see any practical difficulties in building a conforming garage. City Council members disagreed. Chris Tolbert said the property’s large lot size as well as other considerations warranted granting the variance.

The property is in the Summit Avenue West Historic District and has two existing detached garages totaling 908 square feet. A small older garage that dates from the 1920s and is used for storage is considered contributing to the historic district and will remain. A newer two-car garage is considered to be a non-contributing structure and will be removed. 

Schroeder plans to replace the deteriorated two-car garage with a three-stall structure that has upstairs storage and living space. That will result in a total of 1,438 square feet of accessory structures. City code limits accessory structures to 1,000 square feet, so a variance was needed.

City staff recommended approval of project, as did the Macalester-Groveland Community Council. The Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission did not object to Schroeder’s plans.

— Jane McClure

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