March 27, 2023 West St. Paul City Council meeting

West St. Paul City Council Recap: March 27, 2023

Thanks to Inver Grove Ford and Clover Montessori School for their support.

Nine months after the state of Minnesota allowed intoxicating THC products, the West St. Paul City Council took the final step of the regulatory process by approving official licenses. Other business included discussion of accessory dwelling units, a parks department reorganization, and a remodel at Petco to add vet services.

THC Licensing

After approving intoxicating THC ordinances and licensing rules at the last meeting, City Council approved licenses for THC retailers. The ordinance differentiates between regular and specialty retailers, with specialty retailers devoting more than 10% of floor space or receiving more than 10% of their income from THC products. There’s a limit of two specialty retailers.

  • Regular license: Steven’s Tobacco
  • Regular license: Marathon Gas
  • Specialty license: Nothing But Hemp
  • Specialty license: Lafayette Tobacco (Didn’t fit the code requirement of being at least 1,000 feet from a school, but staff recommended an exception since they were operating before the moratorium and any subsequent ordinances were passed.)

Accessory Dwelling Units

During the Open Council Work Session (OCWS), Council discussed an initial proposal to explore allowing accessory dwelling units, known as granny flats, carriage houses, and in-law suites (whether attached or standalone structures).

Why?: That kind of flexible housing is encouraged in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan and could be a potential way to allow additional housing options at a time when there’s an extreme shortage of housing.

Discussion: Council seemed split on the idea.

  • Mayor Dave Napier and Council Members John Justen and Julie Eastman all expressed concerns about a range of issues including equity, future use, rental licensing, and how it could conflict with existing code.
  • Council Members Robyn Gulley and Lisa Eng-Sarne were more receptive, interested in the idea if the appropriate guardrails could be put in place.

Moving forward: City staff will continue to explore the idea and bring something forward if they can address the equity and management concerns.

Other Items on the Agenda:

  • Vet at Petco: An interior remodel to add veterinary space at Petco was approved for a conditional use permit (CUP).
  • Park maintenance: During OCWS, Council discussed a potential reorganization of park and facility maintenance to be cleaner and clearer. The biggest shift would be to bring management and maintenance of the sports dome back in house to be handled by staff instead of the outside management company. Shifting things around has the potential to cost about $20,000 more, but offers a number of benefits, including better maintenance coverage at parks, a recent problem residents have complained about. Council was receptive to the idea, though expressed concern about keeping the dome fully booked so it can quickly pay off its debt.
  • Appointment: Mayor Napier appointed Andrew Franta to the Lower Mississippi River Watershed Management Organization in the consent agenda.
  • Public safety meeting: The Public Safety Committee met in early March and the minutes were approved in the consent agenda, showing discussion on a number of topics including crime trends, animal control, gun safety, school safety, and more.
  • Roundabout and trail: We previously reported that the Thompson/Oakdale roundabout and trail project would have a public hearing to accept the bid, but that was an error in the agenda and it was moved to the consent agenda.

You can watch the City Council and OCWS meetings online.

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

Thanks to our members for enabling us to do these City Council recaps. Join them and support neighborhood news in West St. Paul.

One comment

  1. I so appreciate your council summaries, I have had a recurring Monday night gathering for a while so I miss watching them live, and this way only access the taped meeting if there’s an issue I want to see more. Of course I like all your emails!

    Happy Spring!

                Lyn C

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