Rebecca Noecker

CANDIDATE FOR ST. PAUL CITY COUNCIL — WARD 2

1. How do you feel about the issue of teardowns in your Ward? 

I’m concerned about the increasing tendency of developers to buy homes, tear them down, build anew, and then sell the new house at a far higher price. This practice could make some of our neighborhoods virtually impossible for low­ or middle ­income families to move into and this trend over the long run will result in increased segregation. From my conversations with neighbors and from the data I’ve seen on the Planning Commission, I know this issue is not limited to one ward but is spread throughout the city.

2. How do you feel about the issue of teardowns in the City of St. Paul?

I’m concerned about the increasing tendency of developers to buy homes, tear them down, build anew, and then sell the new house at a far higher price. This practice could make some of our neighborhoods virtually impossible for low­ or middle ­income families to move into and this trend over the long run will result in increased segregation. From my conversations with neighbors and from the data I’ve seen on the Planning Commission, I know this issue is not limited to one ward but is spread throughout the city.
< NOTE: She gave same answer as above >

3. What do you feel is the best approach to addressing and regulating teardowns?

There needs to be a process that looks at historic and non­historic structures separately, but also allows for building owners to make decisions about their property within specified guidelines. ​St. Paul’s process for demolition reviews of historic structures is not robust compared to other cities and I would be in favor of making it more intensive. A first step in this direction is to understand which of our structures are historic, which is why I support the effort to conduct a historic survey of the Summit Hill neighborhood.

For non­historic structures, my main concern is to ensure that what goes up in place of the original building is in character with the other structures in the neighborhood and that it doesn’t create hardship for its neighbors by depriving them of sunlight, air, privacy, etc. I voted in favor of extending the residential design standards, which were recently approved for Ward 3 and parts of Ward 4, to the entire city so as to ensure that when demolitions occur, the new structure is compatible with its neighbors. When a building is torn down, the city should also require that it is not just a demolition, but that deconstruction techniques are used to reclaim/recycle as much material as possible and avoid sending them to a landfill. There may also be some reuse of items such as radiators, windows, or flooring in certain instances, and care should be taken to dispose of any environmentally hazardous materials (lead, asbestos, etc) in a safe manner. Currently, there is a rating system for vacant buildings based on the number of code compliance issues they have. I am interested in seeing if there may be opportunities to work with partners like Ramsey County and St. Paul College building trades students and their unions to avoid teardowns of some buildings while providing learning experiences for trainees.

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, I support a moratorium. We need to make sure that we are taking a comprehensive look and creating a plan that can apply across the city, taking into account the historic and non­-historic properties, as well as other concerns discussed above. A moratorium in these neighborhoods will give us the time to do that, while also providing the necessary urgency to complete the process efficiently.

OTHER WARD CANDIDATES

Sharon Anderson

Patrick Fearing

Bill Hosko

Michael Johnson

Darren Tobolt

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