CANDIDATE FOR ST. PAUL CITY COUNCIL — WARD 7
1. How do you feel about the issue of teardowns in your Ward?
I am very concerned about teardowns in my ward. The fabric and character of our neighborhoods is a vital asset to our livability and attractiveness. “Missing teeth,” or McMansions in our distinctive neighborhoods hurt neighborhood character and marketability.
In my ward, I am deeply concerned about the demolition of properties in our historic district. As a historic district, Dayton’s Bluff represents both grand Victorian architecture and more modest worker housing, as well as distinctive commercial buildings that are irreplaceable. Public and private disinvestment in the East Side, with the loss of industry in the neighborhood, has resulted in many significant architectural properties falling into disrepair. Maintaining our historic district – and our East Side history – represents a special challenge as we try to spur investment in historic restoration without gentrification of our richly diverse community.
2. How do you feel about the issue of teardowns in the City of St. Paul?
As I said above, I think teardowns threaten the fabric, architectural character and marketability of our neighborhoods citywide. Whether it is in Dayton’s Bluff or Frogtown where neighborhood homes have been poorly maintained and/or condemned through a public process, or in Macalester Groveland or on Mississippi River Boulevard, where homes are torn down to make way for out-of-scale houses that have come to be known as McMansions, it is critical to safeguard the character that makes Saint Paul, Saint Paul.
3. What do you feel is the best approach to addressing and regulating teardowns?
Cities like Austin, Texas, provide examples of McMansion and demolition delay ordinances, which I would like to consider for Saint Paul. I have proposed the idea that an application for home demolition should be considered and handled by the city as a “major variance,” requiring the same amount of neighborhood notification, and community input. If a homeowner is required to go through a neighborhood notification and public hearing to build a dormer, it follows that the demolition of one’s home would merit this much process. I am researching this issue
4. A petition is currently circulating (see attached) which asks for a teardown moratorium in the Highland and Mac-Groveland areas to allow the development and implementation of a better city-wide approach to teardowns. Is this something you would support as a City Councilmember? Why or why not?
Yes. Moratoria are a tool available to cities to get ahead of destructive trends, in time to create a planning or regulatory framework that represents the best interests of the community at large.
A moratorium of limited time and duration can focus the attention of all interested parties to achieve workable solutions and compromise.
OTHER WARD CANDIDATES