West St. Paul City Council chambers

West St. Paul City Council Preview: Feb. 14, 2022

We provide these West St. Paul City Council previews with your support.

West St. Paul City Council will meet on Valentine’s Day to consider public art, requiring fewer public hearings, and more.

Public Art Policy

During the Open Council Work Session (OCWS), West St. Paul City Council will begin a conversation about potentially allowing more public art. Last year the city drew national attention when a Black Lives Matter mural violated ordinances and had to be removed. Council weighed potential changes to the residential sign ordinance, but public sentiment seemed to be in favor of the status quo.

Now the discussion is centered around public art and whether or not to create space for murals or other art forms both in publicly owned spaces but also in the wider community. This is an initial conversation to see what council members are willing to support and what, if any, ordinance changes should be considered.

There are proposed mural projects in the works that would require ordinance changes, but the policy discussion is focused on making broader change and not just accommodating a specific project.

Fewer Public Hearings

There will be a public hearing about whether or not to reduce the required number of public hearings. Currently two public hearings are required for site plans and conditional use permits, one before Planning Commission and one before City Council. Only one is required by state law and the reduction can help streamline the process, reduce costs, and avoid confusion. The downside is less opportunity for public input, though City Council could always invite public comment at their discretion.

Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed change though no one from the public spoke.

Other Items on the Agenda

  • Park naming policy: Several city parks are unnamed (pool park, art park, etc.), so before diving into a naming process, the council will consider a naming policy.
  • Limiting self storage: Council will consider a proposed ordinance change to limit self storage facilities to industrial areas.
  • Budget projections: If you like to dig into the weeds and/or look into the future, you might be interested in the 10-year projection report that offers a glimpse at the city’s finances over the next decade.
  • Ice arena: The stalled ice arena expansion project will come up again, with a proposal to lease the building.
  • Solar: There will be another public hearing on an ordinance change to allow free-standing solar power systems.
  • Police: A new police officer will be sworn in, the fourth new officer since October.

The public can watch the meeting live on Town Square TV or cable TV starting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday (5:30 p.m. for the OCWS).

Learn more about how city council works with our Guide to West St. Paul City Council.

Keep City Council previews and recaps coming by supporting West St. Paul Reader.

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