Kimball Court, which provides supportive housing in Hamline-Midway, can be enlarged with a new conditional use permit. The St. Paul Planning Commission July 20 approved a new conditional use permit for the facility at 545 N. Snelling. The decision wasn’t appealed to the city council within 10 days, so the permit stands.
The permit allows the housing facility to expand to 555 N. Snelling, a commercial building housing small businesses including Star Foods Market. The small commercial building would be torn down and a new four-story structure built. The expansion allows Kimball Court to increase its number of residents from 79 to 98. Kimball Court currently has 54 single-room units with shared bathrooms and 12 single-room units with kitchens. The expansion would allow more living spaces where residents can have their own kitchen access.
Kimball Court was built in 1925. It was originally a hotel, known as the Kimball Hotel and Hamline Hotel over the years. It later served as housing and eventually became a single-room occupancy facility owned by Wilder Foundation. Wilder sold the building in 2010 to Beacon.
In 1986 the Planning Commission issued the property a conditional use permit for a 76-room boarding house. This was at a time when the commission was debating whether boarding houses and single-room occupancy dwellings should be phased out by the city.Since then the property has been rezoned for traditional neighborhoods, as part of larger series of Zoning changes along N. Snelling.
Chris Dettling is director of housing development for Beacon. He told the Planning Commission Zoning committee that a new management company is overseeing Kimball Court. Beacon also has contracts to provide mental health and casement management services for residents.
Taco Bell decision appealed
Hamline Midway Coalition has appealed the St. Paul Planning Commission’s approval of a condition use permit to rebuild Taco Bell at 565 N. Snelling Ave. As of the Monitor deadline, no appeal hearing date had been set.
On Aug. 7, the Planning Commission reversed a July Zoning Committee recommendation that the permit be denied, on a 10-3 vote. A similar margin prevailed as the commission voted down a motion to deny the permit.
Taco Bell owner Border Foods sought the permit so that the existing restaurant, which was damaged during civil unrest in May, could be razed and rebuilt. Border Foods has since cleaned up, made repairs and reopened Taco Bell. If the appeal is upheld, Taco Bell could still continue to operate the restaurant as is.
City staff has typically recommend denial of the requests for a new permit tied to reconstruction of Taco Bell. This time around the recommendation is for approval, based on changes to the drive-through lane location 61 feet away from the nearest home.
Commissioner Adrian Perryman took issue with statements from community members about “undesirables” in the area, noting that the statements target youth of color. He said those issues cannot be blamed on Taco Bell as there are other businesses in the area. “We shouldn’t put this all on Taco Bell,” Perryman said.