Why we oppose these three Ford Plan amendments

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Ryan Companies has proposed additional amendments to the Ford Plan. The Sustain Saint Paul Board reviewed the proposed amendments and find many of them to be logical and acceptable. These include three out of five townhome amendments, all affordable housing amendments, some land use amendments, and the signage amendment.

There are also a few amendments that city staff oppose, and for which they offer a solution to address Ryan Company’s stated concerns without making the amendment.

For the most part, the Sustain Saint Paul Board supports these solutions. However, there are three proposed changes that we are concerned about. We believe that they would undermine some important urban design and community-oriented features of the site. These proposed amendments went before the Zoning Committee and are going to the full Planning Commission for consideration on April 3.

We need you to voice your opinion on these three key issues.

  1. Proposed amendment to decrease commercial zoning from 10% to 0% on the northwest and southeast areas of the site. We oppose. 
    • The amendment would decrease the minimum requirement for 10% commercial uses in the F6 zone from 10% to 0%. The 10% requirement ensures that at least some commercial use will exist in these areas of the site, particularly in the southeast corner where it’s a 10-15 minute walk for neighbors and ballfield visitors to shops in the Highland Village area.
  2. Proposed amendment to allow all usable rooftop space to count towards the Minimum Lot Coverage for Open Space. We oppose.
    • It is important to prevent internal courtyards built as “roofs” over underground parking from counting toward the open space requirement of a lot. Instead, required open space should be visible in some way to the public right-of-way.
  3. Proposed amendment to redesign the south end of Woodlawn Avenue from a shared lane design with one-sided parking, to a traditional street with separated sidewalks, boulevards, and one-sided parking. We oppose.
    • Shared lanes are a community-oriented design used in cities around the world to create an intimate, neighborhood right-of-way where people share the space and cars must move very slowly. We support the current design of Woodlawn Avenue (south) as described in the Master Plan:

“Woodlawn Avenue is a shared lane for local travel only to the adjacent blocks and residences, with one-side of on-street parking. There is no demarcation within the 30-foot wide right-of-way to separate cars, pedestrians and bicycles. All users will share the lane and travel speeds will be very low. Since pedestrians and bicyclists are intended to use the lane for travel, there is no adjacent boulevard or sidewalk space. A private setback for vegetation and driveways will separate buildings from the roadways.”

The proposed amendments went before the Zoning Committee in March and are going to the full Planning Commission for consideration on April 3.

You can read more about the proposed amendments in the Zoning Committee Staff Report and review the Zoning Committee recommendations (pages 2-4) to Planning Commission.

Please email your comments on the proposed amendments to: