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Zoning variances cause trouble in St. Paul

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Business Law

When you want to open a commercial business and need a prime piece of real estate, it can sometimes be hard to acquire. You may need to go through a planning process and put your development ideas out for a vote.

Take for example this case in St. Paul in which a group of neighbors opposed a redevelopment by a local restauranteur and west metro developer. The two men submitted redevelopment designs to open a major commercial-residential space and to replace Dixie’s on Grand with a five-story mixed-use business.

When neighborhoods get involved, development may slow

In this case, the neighbors went ahead of the St. Paul City Council and stated that the St. Paul Planning Commission had mishandled zoning variances related to the density and height of the proposed structure. The neighbors argued that the business didn’t need to be as tall as the plans made it.

The Planning Commission, one St. Paul City Council member found, had erred when it granted a height variance because it didn’t see anything about the lot that required a taller building. On the other hand, it didn’t think that the Planning Commission erred when granting variances for the building’s front setback or overall footprint.

Still, despite dissenting opinions, the St. Paul City Council determined that the neighborhood appeal would be denied. This decision didn’t determine if the development should or should not be allowed but instead focused on if the St. Paul Planning Commission had erred.

Getting variances is necessary for some developments

Sometimes, zoning variances are needed for building projects. Your project might be taller or wider than is normally allowed in a space, but if you have a good reason to seek the variance, then the local Council may approve it.

In this case, one neighbor indicated that they could take legal action to alter or stop the development, which is something you could face if you can’t get local residents on board with a project. It’s important to know your business’s legal rights and responsibilities if you’re dealing with real estate and commercial development so that you can handle those complaints and lawsuits if they happen to you.