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RM Zoning Study
The Saint Paul City Council will hold a public hearing on text amendments to Saint Paul’s Zoning Code regarding the RM1, RM2, and RM3 Multiple-Family Residential Districts on Wednesday, September 2nd, (was August 26), 2020 at 3:30 p.m. A summary of the amendments starts on the second page of this notice. Additional materials can be viewed at;
The chair of the Planning Commission has determined that it is not practical nor prudent for the Planning Commission to meet in-person or pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Section 13D.02. In light of the COVID-19 health pandemic, it is not feasible for any member of Planning Commission to be present at the regular location, and all members of the Planning Commission will attend the May 1 meeting by telephone or other electronic means. It is also not feasible for members of the public to attend the meeting at its regular location due to the health pandemic and emergency. Accordingly, no meeting will be held in City Hall at 15 W. Kellogg Boulevard in the City of Saint Paul. Members of the public may monitor this meeting remotely the following way: Join by phone (choose one):
(651) 267-3988 meeting code 2570450#
(651) 266-5758 meeting code 2570450#
(651) 266-5767 meeting code 2570450#
DATE: January 22, 2020
TO: Planning Commission
FROM: Comprehensive & Neighborhood Planning Committees
RE: RM Zoning Study
ISSUES The current housing affordability crisis has generated interest in amending zoning regulations so new housing units can be produced in Saint Paul in a way that aligns with our plans for growth. The Saint Paul 2030 Comprehensive Plan, in Strategy LU-1.3, specifically calls for studying the RM multi-family zoning districts to determine how they can accommodate more intense residential development. Likewise, the Saint Paul 2040 Comprehensive Plan, to be adopted soon, calls for encouraging transit-supportive density (Policy LU-1), using zoning to respond to social conditions (Policy LU-7) such as the housing affordability crisis, ensuring that zoning supports environmentally and economically efficient land use (Policy LU-8), reducing the amount of land devoted to off-street parking (Policy LU-14), and supporting the development of housing options. Most regulations applying to the RM zoning districts were enacted decades ago and may not reflect these modern policies.
Additionally, over recent years there has been neighborhood interest in rezoning corridors to Traditional Neighborhood (T) districts to enjoy the benefits of transit- and pedestrian-oriented form. However, given that some areas that could benefit from transit- and pedestrian-oriented form are not necessarily desired to have the mix of uses provided in T districts, it makes sense to consider whether the RM districts, which are primarily residential, can provide similar form via their dimensional standards. A more transit- and pedestrian-oriented residential district could be desirable in many places as we plan for increased density along new and improved transit lines.
BACKGROUND Due to its length and complexity, the background section is broken down into several subsections:
- Existing RM Zoning;
- Differences in Uses: RM vs. T;
- Differences in Dimensional Standards: RM vs. T;
- Examples of Potential Change to Existing RM-Zoned Areas;
- Potential New RM Zoning; and
- Recent Traditional Neighborhood Residential Example - Pages 21-24 of the study give an example of these possible changes at 401/405 Robie Street East. The information below is copied from pages 21 - 24.
401/405 Robie Street East This 0.45-acre, 69-foot-wide site is zoned RM1 and is not near a planned or existing transitway. It currently contains a single-family home and garage.
Under RM1 zoning, you could construct up to 9 residential units on the property in a building of up to 6,860 sq. ft. footprint, likely two stories, with surface parking. Maximum density is the limiting factor. Parking and setbacks would not be limiting factors. Under T1 zoning, you could construct up to 11 multi-family residential units with surface parking due to the higher permitted density. Structured parking would allow another 5 to 6 units under either zoning, due to the density bonuses – there is room in the rear yard for such a structure under T1 zoning, but the 35% maximum lot coverage in RM1 would require structured parking to be under the residential building. See Figures 21-25.
Figure 21: New Units Plausible by Zoning District at 401/405 Robie Street East
Scenario # of New Units Plausible
- RM1, surface parking only 9
- T1, surface parking only 11
- RM1, structured parking added 14
- T1, structured parking added 17