A package of zoning changes meant to promote more one- to four-unit infill housing will go before the Saint Paul City Council for a public hearing at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, at City Hall. 

The changes, which won Planning Commission approval in the fall, were reviewed on January 5 by city planning director Luis Pereira. He pointed out that the current set of changes are the first two that will be acted on this year, as the city seeks to encourage more housing construction. A key goal is to address so-called “missing middle” housing.

Changes are proposed for building setbacks, lot sizes and how many units can be built on a lot. The changes would make it easier to build on small lots that do not meet current minimum standards. Another goal is to make it easier to place more than one dwelling on lots zoned for lower density.

One big pending change is that accessory dwelling units (ADUs) would be allowed on properties that are not owner-occupied. Dropping the owner-occupancy requirement was a last-minute change made by the Planning Commission.

Proponents see the changes as adding more needed housing. Opponents contend the change could be exploited by some absentee landlords. 

— Jane McClure

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