344 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102
  
   
www.344summit.mn.cx 
  

Proposed "Luxury Boutique Hotel" 

Support   or   Oppose ?

    

Summit Ave (north side; left to right)   --   361    353    345    339    335    329    323
Summit Ave (south side; left to right)   --   370    366    364/362    360    344    340    332    324    318    312
Irvine Ave (north side; left to right)   --   372 (Summit)    365    (360 Summit)    339    333
      

 

REQUEST to Planning Commission & Zoning Committee to:
·   DENY conditional use permit &
·   DENY modification of standard 65.132 (parking)

Public Hearing - Thursday, 08/28/2014, 15:30 hrs

Opposition & Support
by across-the-street neighbor, Eric Lein (361 Summit):

Zoning Code Section 66.214.  Intent, RT2 townhouse residential district.   "...Because of its residential nature, this district is not intended for more intensive uses such as small conference centers, private retreat centers and reception houses."

  

 

344 SUMMIT, File #14-316-432:    I 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. 

 

I OPPOSE 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 street;
(2)  allow non-residential (commercial) "hotel activities" in our RT2 residential neighborhood;
(3)  waive requirements for off-street parking; or
(4)  disregard the fact that the site provides almost zero ingress/egress for the hotel’s traffic.

 

·         Zoning Code Section 66.214. Intent, RT2 townhouse residential district. "...Because of its residential nature, this district is not intended for more intensive uses such as small conference centers, private retreat centers and reception houses."

·         EVENTS.  Our 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 Arundel.]

·         PARKING.  “…off-street 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.” (Sec. 63.312. Setback.)  Off-street parking can 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.

·         INGRESS/EGRESS.  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. Double parking).

·         MIND THE GAP.  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 their lives.

  

  

 

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 and permanently:

·        PROHIBIT commercial activities (i.e. receptions, retreats, conferences, banquets, etc., etc., etc., etc.,); 

·        PROHIBIT the temporary use or permanent transfer of a liquor license for use at the property; 

·        REQUIRE all delivery & service trucks, limousines & busses to park & load/unload on the property (not in the street; not blocking the city sidewalk, etc., etc.); 

·        REQUIRE 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

·        ADDRESS the concerns of other nearby and across-the-street neighbors.