Neighbors Response to Ryan Proposal
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Neighbors for a Livable Saint Paul continues to closely follow developments related to plans for the Ford site.
HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW
Ryan Companies plans to purchase the Ford property and is proceeding with plans for build-out. Hundreds of community residents and members of NLSP attended the public meetings that Ryan conducted.
At these meetings, Ryan received the feedback that the community consistently provided to the City during the long planning process. That is, the City's plan calls for putting too many people on the site, too little park and open recreational space, and too-tall buildings incompatible with the existing neighborhood. The result will be intolerable congestion and traffic problems, and a deterioration of the quality of life for the Highland community.
To its credit, Ryan Companies seems to be listening to the community, and they are approaching the city to make these improvements to the City's plan:
Add single-family homes to the plan
Make a strong commitment to planting trees
Increase the amount of green/open space
Maintain two of the three little league fields
Reduce the maximum building height to six stories
Reduce the amount of business/retail space
HERE IS OUR OPINION
We applaud Ryan's work. They are definitely steps in the right direction and speak well for Ryan's concern for the Highland community. However, more changes to Ryan’s plan are needed.
Is Density Enough?
(from The Alliance report)
"In neighborhood debates about new housing development, the simplified battle of the yard signs and bumper stickers boils down to NIMBYs and YIMBYs — Not In My Backyard and Yes In My Backyard. At that surface level, the dividing line is often density, with NIMBYs opposing increased traffic and building heights while YIMBYs preach the benefits of more concentrated housing supply. But that conversation often overlooks the deeper issues related to the role of the private market and the public good."
The central difficulty with the City's plan is the extremely high (population) density, and so far the Ryan plan calls for only a very slight reduction in that density. The City's plan called for 4,000 housing units; Ryan's plan calls for nearly the same number -- 3,800. This could result in the addition of 7,000 to 9,000 new residents and a density that is nearly 8 times greater than existing Highland neighborhoods. We are urging Ryan Companies to push back much further on the City’s high-density plan for the Ford site. These unreasonably high density levels create negative impacts to our existing community:
Greatly increased traffic congestion, adding to the already difficult traffic problems in the neighborhood
Apartment buildings too tall (the neighborhood standard is three stories) and out of character with the neighborhood
No room left for open recreational fields. Highland already has a desperate shortage of recreational fields and green space and this shortage will be magnified with the addition of thousands of new residents.
General congestion and stress on local infrastructure and services including fire protection, police, schools, garbage collection, deliveries, maintenance, etc.
In addition to the above concerns, the contamination and pollution issues are unresolved. Because the development proposed by Ryan is adjacent to contaminated properties (CP Rail yard and the Ford’s Area C waste site) it is important that the community holds Ford, CP Rail, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency accountable for complete cleanup of these areas. Approval of any development plans at the Ford site should depend on there being a realistic plan and timetable for the cleanup of contamination.
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Attend the meetings and voice your concerns.
2. Stay tuned for upcoming efforts of Neighbors for a Livable Saint Paul. Visit our website.
3. Go to this Ryan Companies website and sign up for project updates.
4. Visit this or the Highland District Council website to review Ryan project documents.
New York City?
City to People of St. Paul: Don't waste your breath
St. Paul STRONG article from the Villager
The Missing Middle- Is this what we really want for the Ford site? Check it out here.