West St. Paul city council taking a photo with the City of Excellence award.

City Council Recap: July 8, 2019

The West St. Paul city council meeting included passing several changes about garbage hauling, pet licenses, and the I/I ordinance—but the most important issues came during the Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting and two potential developments.

Potential New Developments

The EDA approved development agreements on two potential projects:

Brew Pub

A 4,000-square-foot brew pub and 3,600-square-foot bank on the corner of Wentworth and Robert Street. These are the former Maaco and Car X sites, part of the long-term redevelopment project known as Town Center I.

If these projects continue to be approved, construction would begin in the spring of 2020. The brew pub is modeled after a taproom in Roseville, though the West St. Paul brew pub would focus more on food.

Apartments on the Former Golf Course

The yellowish ‘z’ shape is the proposed apartment complex.

A 152-unit, four-story, market-rate apartment complex is proposed for a five acre portion of the former Thompson Oaks golf course.

The golf course site has proven to be a challenge to develop due to issues with the soil (it was a former dump). Much of the site will be restored wetlands, and a portion to the east of the proposed apartment complex along Thompson will remain green space thanks to issues with the soil that would cost $2 million to address. There’s also a potential phase two of the project that would include townhomes along Oakdale—there are also soil issues with the western half of this section of the site, restricting what’s possible here.

The development agreement does note that the River-to-River Greenway Trail will be completed adjacent to the project by Dec. 31, 2021.

During the public hearing, one resident living adjacent to the proposed project complained that a four-story apartment building doesn’t fit the context of the site and raised concerns about traffic on Thompson. Some council members echoed his concerns and Council member Bob Pace assured the resident it would be addressed.

If this project continues to be approved, construction would begin in the spring of 2020, with the apartment building opening in the spring or summer of 2021.

Other Notes

  • I/I ordinance change: The inflow and infiltration (I/I) ordinance (basically keeping rain water out of the sanitary sewer) saw some proposed tweaks that would lengthen the term of compliance for some residents and cleaned up the language to make it easier to understand. Council member Anthony Fernandez again expressed his frustration with the Met Council and the entire I/I ordinance, voting against it. It passed 5-1 and will come up at the next meeting for a public hearing.
  • Earlier trash pickup: After a six month trial and minimal complaints, the city is making a change to allow trash haulers to start pick up at 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m.
  • Lifetime pet licenses: The city is officially switching from an annual to a lifetime license for dogs and cats. The change will take effect Jan. 1, 2020, and there might be an increase in the fees between now and then.
  • Awards: West St. Paul received two awards, the City of Excellence award from the League of Minnesota Cities for our work on I/I and the Step 2 award from Minnesota GreenStep Cities for our work on cost effective sustainable development practices.
  • Pride in the Park: The recent Pride in the Park event, a city first, drew more than 200 people.
  • Art park: There’s an event later this week to help imagine how the city can bring art to the empty “art park” on the corner of Oakdale and Butler. Mayor Dave Napier reminded everyone that the art park started under former Mayor Jenny Halverson but progress stalled due to lack of funds. Both Council members Fernandez and Pace encouraged residents to attend and help bring more art to West St. Paul.
  • Police chief survey: The city is welcoming input as they start the search for a new police chief. Take the short, online survey and share your thoughts (the survey is available in both English and Spanish).

City council meetings are open to the public and generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch this meeting online (as well as the EDA meeting)

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