• 18Dec

    I am committed to a fair & equitable process for all parties on this building. Here is how I believe we can achieve this.

    The Carlton Hotel was found by our Heritage Preservation Commission to be a Historic Site. As such the city should proceed with respect for the property and a fair determination as to whether the building should be demolished. It is no secret that there are rifts between Rochester’s preservation community, building owners, elected officials and city staff. So how can we make a decision that is both fair and equitable? I would suggest we hire an independant group, give them a through mission, and live by the professional recommendation they make. Here is one such group Collaborative Design Group. I would recommend using this group as they have credibility with staff, council, and the preservation community.

    On Monday I plan to introduce a resolution hiring Collaborative Design Group, preventing staff / developer interference, and executing the following scope of work to inform the demolition process:

    • Site observation, description and building document research for the existing structural system.  Determine columns spacing, floor to floor height, construction type, and condition.
    • Site observation, description and building document research for the existing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems.  Determine existing systems, capacity, and useful life.
    • Hazardous materials assessment and handling report
    • Site observation, field measurement and building document research for existing life safety and accessibility systems (stairs, ramps, elevators, etc.).  Document deficiencies per 2015 Minnesota Building Code requirements.
    • Building code and life safety evaluation along with potential floor plan layouts.
    • Eligibility and feasibility of renovation/rehabilitation for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

    Thank you to community design professional(s) that helped me put this list together. My guess is that this contract would be in the range of $15k-$25k and would potentially inform tens of millions in development.

    Once I introduce the resolution under other business it will require a “second.” Assuming that happens; we will then vote on the resolution. Not sure of the chances of this passing. Even if it fails to garner 4 votes it should help apply sunshine to the level of commitment to preservation on the council. It will also give the community a full month to contact elected officials in advance of a hearing on January 18.

    Tags: , ,

  • 13Oct

    Answers coming soon.

    Affordable Housing:
    Considering the massive crisis that we face in the availability of affordable housing for households with income below $55,000 per year, what do you think is the responsibility of City government to help create affordable housing and what specific measures do you think the City could take now to facilitate the development of affordable housing?

    We recognize that you are running for City Council, not the School Board. However, given the importance of our children’s education, we are asking this question:
    What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Rochester related to the education of our youth, and what, in your role as a City Council member, are the factors you will consider to address this?

    Living Wage:
    Do you support tying a Living Wage to any business seeking public funding from the city?

    Historic Preservation:
    What do you think would be the appropriate response by the city council regarding the current situation with the Kutzky House?

    Social Services:
    How are you going to get input from the working poor of Rochester on an ongoing basis? Will you include housing, transportation and living wages in your conversations?

    “The workforce we want is attracted by sustainability. Our Mayor has made a proclamation that Rochester will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2031. And the one formal city initiative on energy sustainability is our Climate Smart Municipalities partnership with German cities. What are three ways you would lead the city council to capitalize on our German partnership to create a more attractive and sustainable city?”

    Plans for the DMC and the City Comprehensive plan call for a significant shift away from people driving alone into Rochester for work and other trips. Much of the public investment in the DMC revolves around improvements to public transit, especially buses. Biking and pedestrian route upgrades are also included, and demand for them is growing. However, we’ve also seen a recent uptick in crashes involving people walking or biking. Recent figures show that 2016 is on par to be the deadliest year for pedestrians in Minnesota as a whole, and this is especially true in Rochester. Two of the seven bicycle related deaths were in Rochester. What are your priorities on making it easier for people to drive less so we can meet these goals and to do so safely?

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • 15Sep

    I promised to answer any follow up questions from the neighborhood forum last week. I did get some so here are additional answers.

    Do you favor expanding the public library?


    Do you believe that Soldier’s Field is an appropriate location for a new library?

    Not without infrastructure to make it more accessible by walk, bike, transit, car & broadband. With infrastructure I could support.

    Would you prefer expanding the current location or some other option?

    I support whatever best provides critical library service to our community.

    When reviewing a building for inclusion on a list of protected buildings for heritage preservation protected by City government, should a property owner be able to remove his building from being included on a list and opt out (assuming the building is in satisfactory condition)?

    No, a building is either historic or it is not. There should be a fair process to be delisted for valid & verifiable reasons.

    Should any Rochester resident be able to nominate a building for a heritage preservation ordinance and protection, even if he/she does not own that building?


    In the nomination of buildings for a heritage preservation list, should a fee be charged be charged by the City to an owner or a non-owner to nominate a buildings (Pay to Play)?

    Maybe not, I previously suggested a fee to prevent games, but it has been pointed out that this might be a solution in search of a problem. I’m open. I disagree that the cost of providing a service is pay to play.

    Should a fee charged to someone, either owner or non-owner, who wants to appeal a decision of the Heritage Preservation Commission to the City Council?

    See the previous answer.

    Tags: , ,

  • 14Sep

    Here is some good news for fellow supporters of the Arts in Rochester. The City Administrator has come out in support of the ACI proposal! I remain strongly supportive of the ACI proposal from both an arts & inclusivity perspective.

    Here is the memo.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Brede, Ardell
    Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:18 PM
    To: Kvenvold, Steve <skvenvold@rochestermn.gov>
    Subject: RE: Armory Reuse Matters

    Steve; as you know even before you sent the attached email to Council I had expressed some thoughts.
    While I agree getting an appraisal of the Armory was wise and appropriate I have never thought we should actually put it up for sale. I would not support that.
    Initially, I thought the proposal from the Collaborative lacked depth and am not sure what the “cultural” component entails.
    I personally would like to Armory contain the focus on the Arts. I would expect the proposers would have to tighten up their proposal and the City would need to define out financial role. I believe we should be involved in their management structure.
    I think we should consider covering the buildings utilities expenses. I believe the Armory’s focus on the Arts could complement the Chateau Theatre in creating an ‘artisitc quarter.’
    Please share with the Council.

    Tags: , ,

  • 08Sep

    Here is a copy of the completed Chateau Theatre Study.

    It would appear that the glowing recommendations for the ACI proposal at the armory have been scrubbed from this.



    Tags: ,

  • 09Nov

    Here is a note that I sent to staff and council. I will not be at the committee meeting today as I have to spend some time on my real job; the one where I spend less time but pays the bills…. Read more…

    Tags: , ,

  • 27Dec

    Thanks to local historian extraordinaire, Tim Schmitt for finding this ahead of its time gem.

    PB Editorial from 1971


    Tags: ,

  • 02Dec

    I am friends with members of both sides of some extensive disagreements on the HPC. Jeff Allman and company have a terribly difficult job to do. The dedication of the board members who show up and participate is to be respected.

    That said one of the most basic requests we have to elaborate local criteria so that we can consider properties against that criteria, we also want all preservation groups and other groups to be heard in the process.  Previously we asked for focus on these areas.

    Now we formalized that by way of a resolution.

    Rochester resolution on HPC direction.


  • 08Apr

    Proponents of historic preservation were given a small 2 week window to show an adaptive reuse of 723 2nd street SW is feasible.  The city council had to answer 2 questions in compliance with the law.  RCO Chapter 19B.04

    19B.04. Criteria for Recommended Designation of Heritage Preservation Sites. Subdivision 1. The Commission shall make its recommendations reflecting the following criteria:

    1. Its character, interest, or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the City, the State or the United States;
    2. Its location as a site of a significant historic event;
    3. Its location within and contribution as an element of an historic district;
    4. Its identification with a person who significantly contributed to the culture and development of the City;
    5. Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style period, form, or treatment;
    6. Its identification as the work of an architect or master builder whose individual efforts have influenced the development of the City or have contributed to the development of a nationally or internationally-recognized style or movement;
    7. Its embodiment of elements of architectural design, detail, material, or craftsmanship that represent a significant architectural innovation; or
    8. Its location, scale, or other physical characteristics representing an established and familiar visual feature or a neighborhood, a district, the community, or the City.

    Here we concluded that the home was potentially historic because:

    • Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style period, form, or treatment;
    • Its location, scale, or other physical characteristics representing an established and familiar visual feature or a neighborhood, a district, the community, or the City.

    The second question we had to answer was:

    The state of repair, condition, and quality of construction of a structure recommended for designation as a Heritage Preservation Site must be such that maintaining its current use or establishing an adaptive reuse of the structure is economically feasible.

    This question I answered, “I don’t know.”  A number of failed attempts to reuse the home were explained and I personally know that the home is in tough shape.  We can string out the owner forever in the hopes of a solution.

    While we would have liked to have given preservation proponents more time to find a solution we did at least stop an attempt to immediately issue a demolition permit.  If this house is to be saved proponents will need to show a viable and funded plan by the April 21 meeting.

    There were some claims that heritage preservation amounted to a taking or violated property rights.  The US Supreme Court has already protected preservation ordinances.  While preservation ordinances place constraints on property owners it is no different than zoning requirements which have the same effect.

    Post Bulletin Article


    Tags: ,

  • 08Apr

    Uptown Completion
    Gateway district changes to 2nd street
    Historic home set to have demolition permit potentially issued on April 21, 2014
    Joe Weis project approved, still working to make the project better
    Rochester and I defeat Dan Holter, RCL at MN appeals court

    Tags: , , , , , ,

« Previous Entries