A Merriam Park landlord will not be allowed to use a Cleveland Avenue home as student rental housing. The Saint Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted 8-6 on February 7 to deny Jim Eischen’s request for a zoning variance for his property at 346 N. Cleveland Ave.

The house is located in the student housing zoning overlay district that was established in 2012 around the University of Saint Thomas. Off-campus houses and duplexes in that area that are rented to undergraduate students must be registered with the city, and to register, a new student rental house must be at least 150 feet from any other student rental house. The five-bedroom home is within 150 feet of six other registered student rental houses.

Eischen’s attorney, Ted Wagor, argued that Eischen did not know about the zoning overlay district when he purchased the property. Nor did he know that his five tenants were college students, Wagor said. Now those five college students have until April 1 to move out.

The city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) revoked Eischen’s certificate of occupancy earlier this year because his tenants are students. A legislative hearing officer recommended that the students be allowed to stay until June 1, but the City Council moved that date up to April 1. The University of Saint Thomas has offered to help the students find other housing.

— Jane McClure


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