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File #: RES PH 17-261    Version:
Type: Resolution-Public Hearing Status: Passed
In control: City Council
Final action: 9/27/2017
Title: Adopting the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan as a master plan for use with the Ford zoning districts for the Ford site redevelopment area.
Sponsors: Chris Tolbert
Attachments: 1. 1 - PC Memo on Ford Zoning and Master Plan to Mayor and CC 8-21-17, 2. 2 - Ford Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan - Proposed PC to CC 8-4-17, 3. 3 - PC Resolution on Ford Plan 7-28-17, 4. 4 - PC Action Minutes 7-28-17, 5. 5 - Presentation to PC on Ford 7-28-17, 6. 6 - PC Approved Minutes 6-30-17, 7. 7 - Public Comments on Ford for PC public hearing 6-30-17, 8. Tolbert Amendment to RES PH 17-261
Related files: Ord 17-40, RES 19-2066


Adopting the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan as a master plan for use with the Ford zoning districts for the Ford site redevelopment area.



WHEREAS, in late 2006, Ford Motor Company announced plans to close its Twin Cities Assembly Plant with the intention of eventually selling the site for a new use; and


WHEREAS, in January 2007, the Planning Commission initiated a Ford site redevelopment planning process to consider future reuse of the Ford site property and created the Ford Site Planning Task Force to help review planning ideas and provide a forum for community engagement; and


WHEREAS, over the past decade, the City has engaged in extensive research, studies and public engagement to review the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of development options for the former plant site, including fourteen (14) professional studies conducted on behalf of the City, as well a few for Ford Motor Company, to examine redevelopment considerations such as industrial reuse, geotechnical analysis of the tunnel system, open space priorities, sustainable design, stormwater management, traffic impacts, market potential, and financial feasibility; and

WHEREAS, these studies were essential to understanding opportunities for and limitations on the redevelopment of the site - economically, environmentally, socially, and within the context of the community, as well as identifying infrastructure efficiencies, cost-effectiveness, opportunities for environment design and conservation, and how to balance development with the creation of vibrant public spaces; and

WHEREAS, during the decade of planning work, the City undertook an extensive public engagement process, hosting 39 Ford Site Planning Task Force meetings, dozens of large public meetings, over 80 presentations to business, civic and non-profit groups, 18 neighborhood focus group meetings in spring 2017, and sent meeting notice and project updates to over 3,500 subscribers on the Ford email list regularly, and the process was covered extensively in the media; and


WHEREAS, the City has received extensive technical and financial support for project research, studies and policy consideration from regional, state and federal agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Metropolitan Council, Capitol Region Watershed District, the Saint Paul Port Authority, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater MSP, Metro Transit, Xcel Energy, Ever-Green Energy, the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research, the University of Minnesota Metropolitan Design Center, as well as philanthropic partners and non-profit organizations; and


WHEREAS, a technical advisory committee of City staff from PED, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Safety and Inspections, Fire, Water, Financial Services, Mayor’s Office, City Council, and the public artist worked throughout the planning process to review professional studies and findings, to consider public input, and to discuss options to shape and refine the proposed zoning and public realm master plan; and


WHEREAS, in 2015, the City led eight large public, topic-based meetings on Ford site planning priorities to further refine redevelopment concepts with public input; and


WHEREAS, in 2015 and 2016, the City worked with a real estate advisor and market and infrastructure consultants, as well as transportation consultants, to evaluate the economic viability of site redevelopment based on basic city needs for the site, such as a connected street grid, in balance with development that could work within the neighborhood context; and


WHEREAS, the City kept open lines of communication with Ford Motor Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the primary property owners, throughout the planning process; and 


WHEREAS, the Planning Commission released the Ford Site Zoning Study and Public Realm Master Plan for public review on May 19, 2017 and held a public hearing on June 30, 2017; and 


WHEREAS, on July 28, 2017, the Planning Commission adopted Resolution #17-50, following review and discussion of over 350 hearing comments and key elements of the zoning and plan, proposed some revisions and recommended:

(1) amending Saint Paul Code of Ordinances to establish six new ‘Ford’ zoning districts under Article IX, 66.900, Ford Districts;

(2) rezoning four parcels owned by three property owners in the zoning study area to one or more of the six new zoning districts; and

(3) adopting the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan; and


WHEREAS, the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan identifies the Ford site area as part of a ‘Mixed Use Corridor’, described by the Comprehensive Plan as an area along a primary thoroughfare that is well-served by transit and intended to accommodate the highest-density development outside of Downtown; and


WHEREAS, the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan provides a redevelopment framework sensitive to the unique context of the site and introduces six new zoning districts that allow a flexible mix and level of uses that can expand job opportunities, provide more diverse housing options to meet market demand, and support new retail and services for the community; and


WHEREAS, the public realm master plan reconnects the site with the surrounding neighborhood, creates a vibrant, high quality place that is pedestrian- and transit-friendly, preserves over 20% of the site as parks, trails and public open space, and is carefully designed to balance development with public amenities in a manner that is financially viable, technically feasibility and environmentally sustainable; and


WHEREAS, a public hearing before the City Council, having been conducted September 20, 2017, at which all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard, the Council having considered all the facts and recommendations concerning the proposed plan; and


WHEREAS, the Saint Paul City Council finds that the goals of the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan and applicable neighborhood plans are advanced by the zoning recommendations and public realm master plan;


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, after considering all public testimony, that the Saint Paul City Council hereby adopts the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan as the master plan for use with the Ford zoning districts for the Ford site redevelopment area.

Now, Therefore, Be It Further Resolved, That the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Plan, at page 132, is hereby amended as follows:

9.4 Affordable Housing Goals

Overview and Intent

Housing affordability is an important need across the region, the city, and within the Highland Park neighborhood.  The Housing Chapter of the city’s Comprehensive Plan identifies the Ford site as an “opportunity site” for housing activities.  The Housing Chapter calls for ensuring the availability of affordable housing across the city and the Ford site provides an important opportunity to provide affordable housing for the community and the city.  The following Ggoals for affordable housing at the redeveloped site should guide public and private entities to pursue implementation strategies through policy making, funding, and developer selection.

Housing Affordability Goals for the Ford site:

                     10% of housing units should be affordable to households earning 60% 30%  or less of Average Area Median Income

                     10% 5% of housing units should be affordable to households earning 50% or less of Average Area Median Income

                     5% of housing units should be affordable to households earning 30% 60% or less of Area Median Income

                     Affordable units should be a mix of housing types, including townhomes, rental, ownership and senior

                     Provide some affordable units within mixed-income buildings - - a blend of market rate and affordable units

                     Locate affordable units throughout the site; do not cluster or concentrate them in one area


For any housing development seeking subsidy from the City or the City’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the affordable housing standards under Strategy 3.3 of the Comprehensive Plan’s Housing Chapter shall apply as determined by the City Council or the Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s Board of Commissioners.


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