By JANE McCLURE
COVID-19 measures continue
St. Paul city officials were working to help restaurants open for outdoor dining June 1. It’s the last effort in a flurry of activities since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.
St. Paul City Council members and Mayor Melvin Carter’s administration discussed next steps May 27. City officials are working to provide flexibility with sidewalk cafes, patios, parking lots, green spaces and even street parking lanes to provide outdoor dining space. In some places restaurant owners are seeking city approval to close short sections of streets and install small park areas or parklets.
The loosening of restaurant restrictions are just part of the city’s response to the pandemic. It has closed and then slowly reopened some parks facilities. Business license fees have been lowered. City employees have been redeployed into different jobs.
One measure that took effect June 1 is that everyone must wear a mask before entering city-licensed businesses.
Changes in regulations are happening constantly. Keep up at https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/emergency-management/coronavirus-covid-19
Snelling property’s fate
A Snelling Ave. property that has been called out for its historic significance will be the topic of city hearing June 23. The St. Paul City Council May 27 postponed action on the fate of 678 N. Snelling Ave.
Past historic surveys of the Hamline-Midway neighborhood have noted that the longtime commercial building is considered to be significant. But it has no local or national historic designation, and has been vacant for more than three years. Recently its certificate of occupancy was revoked.
The city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) has determined that the two-story brick structure is a nuisance building and is in need of rehabilitation or demolition due to its condition. The property’s owner is SG National LLC out of New York City. The owners have indicated to city officials that they are trying to sell the property.
The original remove or repair order from the city was to be met by mid-March. The building, which housed a lighting and fan company and other businesses recently, has been on the city’s vacant building list since fall 2016.
The property has an estimated market value of $158,400 on the land and $282,200 on the building. Real estate taxes are current, as are vacant building fees. City property code staff estimate that costs to repair the structure exceed $250,000. Demolition costs exceed $75,000.
The building has been on the city’s radar for some time with 14 summary abatement orders for trash, building boarding/securing, tall grass and weeds, ands now and ice removal. The city has asked that a $5,000 performance bond be posted and that a detailed work plan be prepared. Another request is that the prospective buyer attend the upcoming legislative hearing.
Events center obtains licenses
Despite concerns from a neighboring property owner, the St. Paul City Council May 13 approved licensed for Essence Event Center, 1217 Bandana Blvd. N. Licenses approved are liquor on-sale for 291 or more seats, Sunday liquor on-sale and entertainment Class B.
Wellington Management, which owns and operates office and commercial buildings in the area around Bandana Square, raised objections about potential problems with spillover parking, noise and litter. The licenses were sent to a legislative hearing this spring, and operating conditions agreed upon.
No liquor sales, service, display and/or consumption is allowed outdoors without prior written approval and additional licensing from the Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI). Sunday liquor sales may only occur in conjunction with food service, the establishment shall close at midnight and all patrons must be off of the premises by 12;30 a.m.
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