Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning Committee
The Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning Committee (CNPC) advises the Planning Commission on zoning studies, the adoption of zoning code text amendments, as well as comprehensive and district planning items. Planning staff conducts research and develops zoning studies that are prioritized as an implementation action of the Comprehensive Plan. District Plans are reviewed and following a public hearing and any updates, recommended to the City Council to be adopted as addenda to the Comprehensive Plan. The CNPC discusses both citywide and neighborhood projects, as described in this section. Figure 7 illustrates the locations of major CNPC projects discussed in 2022.
Figure 7: Neighborhood CNPC Projects
District Plan Guidelines Update
In 2022, Planning staff updated the District Plan Guidelines, which provide general process and content recommendations for all district councils to reference when updating a district plan. The 2022 update involved detailed reviews of district plan guidance resources dating back to 1975, including the most recent resource, District and Small Area Plan Guidelines, which was last updated in 2010.
On August 31, 2022, Planning staff provided an informational presentation to the CNPC of the Planning Commission. Members of the CNPC were given the opportunity to provide preliminary feedback on the draft District Plan Guidelines and proposed next steps. On September 22, 2022, Planning staff presented the draft District Plan Guidelines to the executive directors of district councils for initial review and feedback. Based on the CNPC’s and executive directors’ recommendations, Planning staff released the draft District Plan Guidelines for a 60-day review on October 5, 2022. Upon completion of the review period (December 9, 2022), Planning staff addressed comments provided by District Council members. Four district councils provided comments, which were generally positive and included clarifications on the roles of steering committees and Planning Commission task forces, intent and content of work plans, and maps, data, and general support that PED staff may provide to district councils.
Planning staff presented the revised District Plan Guidelines to the Planning Commission on January 6, 2023. Planning Commission expressed support for the update with minor comments and feedback. Planning staff expects to publish the District Plan Guidelines on the City website in early 2023.
Summit Hill District Plan Update
Over the past two years, the Summit Hill Association and neighborhood volunteers, with support from City staff, have been working on updating the Summit Hill/District 16 Neighborhood Plan, which will provide a 10-year vision to guide neighborhood growth, investment, and development. Following a consultant’s market analysis report and extensive community engagement that included several public meetings, an online survey, listening sessions, workshops, and other events and activities, the Summit Hill Association Neighborhood Plan Committee incorporated community input into draft Neighborhood Plan chapters that were released for public comment in 2022. The draft will be presented to the Summit Hill Association Board before formal submission to the City for staff review in early 2023, which will eventually lead to a final Neighborhood Plan draft that will go through the Planning Commission and City Council approval processes.
Anti-displacement and Community Wealth Building Project
This year, the Commission adopted a resolution supporting the establishment of a committee of community developers to advise the City and a consultant for the citywide Anti-displacement and Community Wealth-building Technical Study. This technical study will identify, explore and analyze the feasibility and likely effectiveness of a variety of potential strategies toward minimizing displacement risks for low-and-moderate income people and businesses, while simultaneously encouraging new housing production and business investment. Consistent with a related Commission’s 2021 resolution, the project includes an inclusionary zoning assessment and a study of financial and market feasibility of inclusionary housing policies given Saint Paul’s market context. The project kicked off in 2022, with preliminary community engagement, a landscape analysis, and a Community Advisory Committee convening. Additional engagement, technical reports and staff recommendations are to come in 2023.
For additional information, visit the Saint Paul Anti-Displacement Plan.
The Rondo African American Cultural Enterprise District
Between 1956 and 1968, the construction of I-94 demolished the once vibrant Rondo corridor, razing approximately 700 homes and 300 businesses and leaving the community damaged by the destruction of the social, cultural, and economic center of the African American Community in Saint Paul. See Figure 8 for an example of one of the businesses destroyed by the interstate. The direct impact of the construction of I-94 (see Figure 9), resulted in the Rondo community experiencing a 48% decline in home ownership, a 61% decline in population, and combined loss of $157 million dollars of unrealized home equity value, from demolished homes in the I-94 corridor. For more information on the history of the Rondo neighborhood, visit Reconnect Rondo.
Figure 8: Interior of the Crediafawn Co-op Store, 678 Rondo Avenue, 1950 (Credit: Reconnect Rondo)
Reconnect Rondo is leading an effort to reignite a vibrant African American Cultural Enterprise District anchored by a community land bridge. The intent of these efforts is to help restore the past prosperity of the Rondo neighborhood and reduce the disparities that still exist today, as a direct result of the construction of I-94. Reconnect Rondo is supported by the Rondo Roundtable, a group of advisors representing various local businesses and organizations. Planning Commission aims to continue to support and elevate the work being completed by Reconnect Rondo and the Rondo Roundtable.
The Rondo Land Bridge project aims to create up to five blocks of newly developable land above and along the I-94 right-of-way, which would be leveraged to create new opportunities to build intergenerational wealth for Rondo elders, descendants, and current Rondo residents. Through the establishment of a Community Enterprise Trust, the Rondo community will have a mechanism to directly own and invest in future development on the land bridge and surrounding area, and through the establishment of a Community Reinvestment Fund, a portion of the revenue generated from the development would be used to fund housing and economic development in the broader cultural enterprise district.
Having secured $6.2 million dollars from the Minnesota Legislature, Reconnect Rondo has begun work on numerous studies that are being supported by its staff and City staff. Staff is anticipating that the project team will ask the Planning Commission to initiate a small area planning study in the first quarter of 2023.
Figure 9: I-94 Construction Causing Destruction of the Rondo Neighborhood (Credit: Reconnect Rondo)
Rondo Area Property Research in Support of the Inheritance Fund
This year, City Heritage Preservation and PED Research staff collaborated on researching and mapping historic data about properties that were taken in the Rondo community during planning and construction of I-94 (see Figure 10), as well as during other disruptive and displacing urban renewal events such as: the Western Area Addition (1958), the Cathedral Hill Redevelopment Area (1963) and the Central Village Addition (1976) that impacted thousands of residents and businesses. This work will help support Mayor Carter's Inheritance Fund initiative which will assist current and former Rondo residents (and their descendants) who lost properties with the construction of the Interstate with loans for down payments to purchase homes, or to rehabilitate existing housing in Saint Paul.
Figure 10: Example of Rondo Blocks/Lots Destroyed by I-94