Join our action squads on single-family zoning and parking minimums

If you are passionate about Sustain Saint Paul’s mission to champion abundant housing, low-carbon transportation, and sustainable land use policy in Saint Paul, please consider joining an action squad to advance one of two key priorities:

  • Reform single-family zoning
  • Eliminate parking minimums

During the next two years, Sustain Saint Paul expects to see important opportunities to advance these two policy priorities. The Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) recently completed a study on parking minimums, and has presented its findings and two policy recommendations to the Planning Commission. Meanwhile, PED is also studying potential reforms to the single-family categories of the zoning code. It is likely that the City Council will vote on proposed reforms in the next two years. 

We’re looking for members to step up and help form new action squads to plan advocacy campaigns around these two issues.

We need 4-8 people per action squad:

  • Roles: Policy writers, narrative crafters, data wonks, politicos, strategists, and project manager-types! Whatever skillset you have, we’ll find a job for you.
  • Initial commitment: to attend a Zoom meeting in March (1-2 hours?) to hash out a plan and a calendar for a campaign over the next several months.
  • Next step: help write a Letter to the Editor and other content for social media, website, etc. before our general member meeting in March.

What is single-family zoning?

Since the 1970s, the vast majority of the residential land in Saint Paul is zoned “Residential: Single-Family.” For a half-century, it has been illegal to build any type of home except for a single-family house in all but a few small areas of the city. This is a key reason for our housing affordability crisis in Saint Paul. It has constrained the supply of housing units and contributed to rising rents and home prices. Sustain Saint Paul believes it should be legal to build duplexes, accessory dwelling units, townhomes, and small apartment buildings on any residential lot: that’s what we mean by “single-family zoning reform.”

What are parking minimums?

In Saint Paul’s zoning code, there are requirements that all new houses, commercial buildings, office buildings, and other land uses include at least a certain number of parking spaces for private motor vehicles. This is bad, because it effectively subsidizes travel by car, and the pollution and carbon emissions it produces, often at the expense of low-carbon modes of transportation like walking, biking, and transit. Furthermore, it increases the cost of constructing a new building, which results in high rents for residential or commercial tenants and causes unaffordability in our communities. Sustain Saint Paul believes that the zoning code should not require the provision of car parking spaces in new buildings. Developers can decide for themselves how much parking is necessary (if any). That’s why we want to “eliminate parking minimums.” 


Fill out this form, and we’ll get in touch with you to share more and invite you to a meeting: