344 SUMMIT, File #14-316-432:
respectfully request that the St. Paul Planning Commission and
its Zoning Committee deny the conditional use
permit for reuse of large structure for a boutique hotel and deny
the modification of standard §65.132(d).
Since 1992 my
family and I have owned and lived at 361 Summit.
Although we can look out our front windows and across the
street at 344 Summit, unfortunately (for us) we live just 18
feet too far away to fall within the Boutique Hotel’s 100-foot
radius for required solicitation of petition signatures.
the granting of a conditional use permit for a “Luxury
Boutique Hotel” at 344 Summit that would:
(1) dismiss the
concerns of neighbors who live almost directly across the
non-residential (commercial) "hotel activities"
in our RT2 residential neighborhood;
requirements for off-street parking; or
(4) disregard the
fact that the site provides almost zero ingress/egress for the
Section 66.214. Intent, RT2 townhouse residential district.
"...Because of its
residential nature, this district is
for more intensive uses such as small conference centers,
private retreat centers and reception houses."
supposedly-residential RT2 neighborhood already has four
"party venues" located within two blocks of 344 Summit
[275 Summit + 301 Summit + 420
Summit + 79 Western Ave N].
In my opinion, we do not need one more. [See Parcel
Map and Zoning
Map and Aerial
Photo that show the area along Summit from Selby to
parking spaces shall not be within a required front or side yard
and shall be a minimum of four (4) feet from any lot line.”
reasonably be provided on site at 344 Summit and existing
requirements should not be waived. Long
ago, today's overall site had two
houses and two sets of
gardens, not just one. This
very large double lot has more than enough space for lovely
gardens and the required off-street parking.
Experienced owners and developers of luxurious hillside
property anticipate complicated construction and above-average
costs, and they adjust purchase and/or sale prices accordingly.
Although the CUP
application is silent on this topic, developer John Rupp stated
(verbally to the SUPC District 8 board on 07/22/2014) that he
will continue to seek a liquor license for his luxury hotel. Along
with up to ten rooms filled with overnight sleepers and their
three cars, a hotel with a liquor license will bring events,
events will bring employees and service workers and traffic, and
traffic means lots of cars…plus plenty of trucks…including
demands by commercial users for vehicle ingress and egress –
all trying to enter, exit and park at the property via the
single narrow driveway on frequently-busy Summit Avenue. Bottom
line? Large and
small delivery and service trucks will be forced to back into
traffic, or truck drivers will simply choose to legally
double-park and block traffic whenever curbside spaces are
occupied (see City code Sec. 157.09.
The City of St. Paul’s Comprehensive Plan highlights a
report by the Brookings Institution, “Mind the Gap.”
The Gap widens when Cities hand out special favors that,
almost exclusively, are for the benefit of very-high-end
clientele (in this case, by waiving requirements for residential
zoning, off-street parking, and adequate ingress/egress).
Yes, the previous users of 344 Summit filled our
neighborhood with their cars and eclectic ways.
And, yes! I
appreciate walking out my front door, along Summit, and
throughout my neighborhood knowing that the City has handed
opportunities to public education, to residential treatment
centers and to sober houses filled with a diverse mix of adults
who need relief so that good people can create new directions in
Although not part
of the current discussion, if community conversations continue
regarding reuse of this large structure, I want to acknowledge
that I will support
purely residential uses for more than four units at 344
Summit if conditions are attached that ensure long-term
follow-through by current and future property owners, that clearly
commercial activities (i.e. receptions, retreats, conferences,
banquets, etc., etc., etc., etc.,);
the temporary use or permanent transfer of a liquor license for
use at the property;
all delivery & service trucks, limousines & busses to
park & load/unload on the property (not in the street; not
blocking the city sidewalk, etc., etc.);
current and future owners to create and at all times
maintain access to sufficient off-street parking (on-site; not
stacked; without modification of standard §65.132(d)); and
the concerns of other nearby and across-the-street neighbors.