Let's look at our neighborhood's homes through the lens of environmental and community sustainability. How can we lower our per-capita carbon footprint and stay viable for young families, diverse households, and small businesses? In both North and South St. Anthony Park, we have a range of housing choices. We love our neighborhood—how it looks, how it feels, how it works. That’s why we take a careful, multifaceted approach to densification.
One option is to allow more accessory dwelling units: secondary units on lots zoned for single-family homes. Minneapolis has already done so, and St. Paul has now approved ADUs within 1/2 mile of the Green Line as far east as Lexington, which could lead to broader rezoning. (Read the ordinance here.) Varying restrictions could apply: for example, requiring one unit to be primarily owner occupied.
At a community meeting in 2013, a Housing Options sub-group of Transition Town ASAP invited experts to outline the issues for us. Then, to envision how ADUs might work here, we paired residents with architects (working pro bono) to develop designs for workable ADUs, both internal and external. At another open meeting in 2014, neighbors examined the designs.
designed for ten actual SAP properties (62 slides).
How might ADUs benefit the neighborhood and the environment?
Energy savings: Smaller dwellings use less energy. Housing accounts for about a third of our society’s total energy use. Let’s help improve that statistic!
Aging-in-place options: Older homeowners might choose to downsize, living in the smaller unit.
Affordability and generational mix: High-quality but lower-cost dwellings help attract young families (good for local schools), artists and other creative professionals (good for our Creative Enterprise Zone), and more faculty and grad students.
Transportation efficiency: ADUs could offer more live-where-you-work choices for both South and North—for employees in clinics and schools, for example
Business vitality: More people patronizing local businesses means a stronger local economy. And this, too, reduces transportation needs.
Over several years, residents have debated whether to support the ADU option, and if so, with what restrictions. After concerns were raised, the SAP Community Council appointed an ADU task force, which hosted two public meetings in 2015 to offer information and gather input. Read the Task Force's recommendations and compare them to what our own Housing Options group originally suggested.
For more information, contact Philip Broussard.