Bill and Lisa Jansen are seeking rear-yard setback and lot coverage variances to turn a former church at 1671 Summit Ave. into a private home. The structure, built as a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1952, was the longtime home of the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches—later Interfaith Action—and the Division of Indian Work. Many congregations also used the building for services.

The Jansens, who bought the property earlier this year, presented plans and won a recommendation of support from the Union Park District Council on June 1. Their request will be considered by the Saint Paul Board of Zoning Appeals on June 13.

The Jansens want to add a three-car garage behind the building. The garage would be 18 feet 9 inches from the property line, while the minimum setback is 25 feet.

Adding the garage, a porch addition at the east entrance and a lower-level ramp access requires a lot coverage variance of 6 percent. Lot coverage of up to 35 percent is allowed and 41 percent is proposed.

The property is zoned for single-family use. Bill Jansen told the UPDC that the couple intends to keep the building’s front exterior much the way it looks now. “The steeple stays,” he said.

The property is in the Summit Avenue West Historic district and any exterior changes would also require review and approval by the Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission.

— Jane McClure


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