Earth day 2021

Today is Earth Day, which started in 1970 making this the 51st anniversary.  Earth day used to be mostly about picking up litter. That is a good start and something we can all do. This year we have paper and cloth maks litter to add to the plastic bottles.

I don’t understand why people litter but they do. Saturday is City Wide Clean-Up day. from 9 to 11:30  AM. I’ll probably take advantage of the nice weather today and pick up some littler along my favorite bike trail. Litter is easy to find and there is plenty of it right out on the street.

pictures of trash
Earth day

We all pay for parking

You don’t need to own a car to pay for parking. The City of Saint Paul had a parking study. Before the pandemic, I managed to attend one of the meetings and have been following along. Where I live close to downtown there are always parking ‘issues”.

There are businesses located right in the middle of residential areas that have little or no off-street parking which is why we have so much permit parking in St. Paul.

The cost of parking is bundled into everything. I notice it with housing, especially condos. Some condos come with 20K worth of parking. The lowest price units offer some surface lot parking or just street parking. Multi-unit housing that doesn’t have off-street parking is much harder to sell than multi-unit housing with garages or surface lots.

Cars are parked more than they are driven and in St. Paul, according to the study approximately 35.6% of the City’s land area is devoted primarily to the purpose of moving and storing automobiles; 25.6% of Saint Paul’s land area is used for roadways and 8% is devoted to surface parking.

Parking requirements make building an apartment building more expensive and even people who do not have cars pay for parking. The city is designed for cars and parking and,31% of emissions in the city can be attributed to vehicles.

A parking space in Saint Paul requires a minimum of 252 square feet; 162 square feet is required for the parking space itself and 90 square feet is required for a maneuvering lane. There are minimum parking requirements for new construction and the city wants to change them.

Here is a link to the study: Final parking study. It is worth a read and in a nutshell, it is aimed at reducing our dependency on automobiles and doing some “unbundling” of the costs added to everything to accommodate parking.

parking
Parking on West 7th

 

New regulations for landlords

A new ordinance went into effect in St. Paul at the beginning of the month. Here is ab outline of the new rules. There are pages and pages of words in the new ordinance, which can be found on the StPaul.gov website on the S.A.F.E housing page.

Rowhouse

Here are some of the new rules:

Tenant Screening Guidelines
The Tenant Screening Guidelines policy ensures fair access to housing by creating uniform guidelines related to the use of rental, criminal and credit history in applicant screening.
Security Deposit Limitations
The Security Deposit Limitation policy ensures equitable access to housing by limiting the upfront charges related to Security Deposits and Prepaid Rent.
Just Cause Notice Policy
The Just Cause Notice policy improves housing stability by ensuring owners establish one (1) of ten (10) Just Causes and provide renters with written Just Cause Notice when nonrenewing a renter’s Lease.
Advance Notice Policy
The Advance Notice policy supports the preservation of affordable housing and addresses the displacement pressures renters may face during ownership changes by ensuring that current owners provide notice of proposed sale to the City of Saint Paul and renters before an *Affordable Housing Building is placed on the market and new owners provide a notice of sale after the transfer of ownership occurs, coupled with a Tenant Protection period.

Here is a list of reasons tenants can be evicted under the new rules:

Non-payment of rent, Repeated late payment of rent, Material non-compliance, Refusal to renew, Occupancy by property owner or family member, Building demolishment and dwelling unit conversion, Rehab and renovation 8. Complying with a government order to vacate, Occupancy conditioned on employment, Exceeding Occupancy 

Also, see St. Paul has more renters than owners

Learn and get involved

The city of St. Paul is split up into 17 district (neighborhood) councils. St. Paul loves to redo the city website and during their last makeover, they removed a lot of information about district councils, and most of the links from this site are broken and I am in the process of removing them.

Stpaulnhood  The city of St. Paul has 17 district community councils.  Community Councils are a way to give residents a voice in the decisions that affect their neighborhoods and our city.   Each of the city’s planning districts has a Community Council as its official citizen participation organization. When considering which St. Paul neighborhood to buy a home in, the district council staff and websites can be an excellent resource.

The map is an old one to use as a guide to figure out which district each neighborhood is in. If you are buying a house in St. Paul this is a wonderful way to learn more about each neighborhood.

Here are the actual names of the district councils. Just put the name in a search window and you will get to the correct website.  District councils have information on neighborhood issues and there are opportunities to volunteer.

District Neighborhood District Council name
1 Eastview – Conway – Battle Creek – Highwood Hills District 1 Community Council
2 Greater East Side District 2 Community Council
3 West Side West Side Community Organization
4 Dayton’s Bluff Dayton’s Bluff Community Council
5 Payne-Phalen Payne Phalen Community Council
6 North End North End Neighborhood Organization
7 Thomas-Dale/Frogtown Frogtown Neighborhood Association
8 Summit-University Summit-University Community Council
9 West 7th/Fort Road Fort Road Federation
10 Como District 10 Como Community Council
11 Hamline-Midway Hamline Midway Coalition
12 St. Anthony Park St. Anthony Park Community Council
13 Union Park Union Park District Council
14 Macalaster-Groveland Macalaster Groveland Community Council
15 Highland Highland District Council
16 Summit Hill Summit Hill Association
17 Downtown Capitol River Council

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s day 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here are some photographs from past Saint Patrick’s day parades. It is kind of a virtual parade.  For the second year in a row, there won’t be a real in-person parade. Now we have something to look forward to in 2022. The biggest difference in the parades from one year to the next is the weather.

We can have temperatures hovering around zero or they can be as high as 70. Some years it rains or snows and other years there is sunshine. One year it was so windy that I got a picture of a little green dog’s ears blowing in the wind.

Saint Patrick’s day is a very big deal in St. Paul. There is always a St. Patrick’s day parade downtown except for this year and last year. We thought last year would be the only year without a parade. We were wrong about that and about many other things.  This year is a little different though. some bars and restaurants are open.

Be careful out there. Don’t let St. Patrick’s day become a super spreader event. The US still leads the world in the number of COVID-19 deaths.

The houses are old and this isn’t California

So many of the “how to sell a house” articles come straight from California. Probably because California has more real estate agents per capita than any other state. Many of the tips apply to most markets but there are a lot of differences too especially for the closing and inspection processes.

Real estate is local and that does complicate things a bit. The process of selling a house differs by state and somewhat by the city as far as what kind of inspections are required and sometimes even where the for sale sign can be placed.

Selling an old house in say St. Paul Minnesota isn’t the same as selling a house that was built in the last 50 years in the suburbs. In fact, if you go check out some of those websites where homeowners can get instant offers they often stipulate that the house has to be built after 1970 or sometimes 1940.

In St. Paul, the median age of our houses is about 99 years old. Older homes offer a little more complexity to the buying and selling process. We don’t know what kind of repairs an old house might need. and it probably has lead-based paint. Older homes are more likely to have asbestos too.

Pricing and old St. Paul house takes experience. There won’t be a house that was built the same year that is the same size just down the street that recently sold that we can use as data to estimate the value. We have to look at sales prices in the area and make adjustments. To be honest some of it is at least partly a hunch based on experience.

age of houses
Age of housing stock

Personally, I believe that the best houses were built before 1960.  I like to think of St. Paul as the city of historic housing.