Podcast: Northfield City Councilor Noah Cashman

Noah Cashman: Official Portrait Noah Cashman in an Elect Cashman shirt Noah Cashman, with hat
Noah Cashman, at-large Northfield City Councilor, joined us at KYMN on Tuesday. I neglected to get a photo in the studio so I’ve dug up a few other photos. Click to enlarge. Discussion topics included:

  • Rental ordinance
  • Highway 19
  • Northwest Business Park
  • Business-friendly/unfriendly Northfield

We pre-recorded the show because of the 4th of July but next week we’re due to air LIVE at 5:30 PM on Wed.

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Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

Our show, Locally Grown, airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe with iTunes. We seek your comments and suggestions. Attach a comment to this blog post or use the Contact Us page to send us email. See the show archives for audio of other episodes.

2 thoughts on “Podcast: Northfield City Councilor Noah Cashman”

  1. The public hearing on the proposed changes to the rental ordinance is tomorrow night. This letter to the editor appeared in yesterday’s Northfield News:

    In anticipation of the upcoming July 9 public hearing on the city’s rental code, we are writing to support the proposed changes to the rental code to limit the density of commercial rental properties to 20 percent per block and reduce the number of unrelated adults per living unit from 5 to 3. We also support a 12-month moratorium on the issuance of rental permits in R-1 and R-2 districts, to prevent further commercial development in residential neighborhoods, a pattern that threatens the very fabric of our community.

    As members of the Board of Directors of the Northfield East Side Neighborhood Association, we represent over 150 residents of Northfield’s east side, (an area from First to Seventh Streets, and Washington to Prairie). At our annual meeting in February, our membership voted unanimously in a straw poll for the proposed changes in the rental code. Since then, more rental licenses have been granted in residential areas; since 2000, 20 family homes have been converted and licensed. Concentrated areas of rental houses have discouraged families from buying houses in some areas of our neighborhood. This is the very group intended for R-1 and R-2 zones.

    We are pleased that the majority of the council expressed support for density provisions by block at the recent public work session. Although the 20 percent limit per block will prevent already overdeveloped blocks from being further developed, this provision will not prevent the clustering of rentals that has discouraged families from buying on these blocks. The situation at the corner of Sixth and College streets would be allowed under the 20 percent limit as presently written. Requiring a set distance in feet between lots containing these commercial rental uses would overcome the clustering problem.

    The proposal to limit rental units to 3 unrelated adults has precedence in college communities throughout the country. If a limit of 3 unrelated persons per unit is passed with possible exceptions, we would like to see a formal variance procedure in which 1) neighbor input is requested and 2) an annual application for a conditional-use permit is required. As written in the last document made public, this provision appears to open the way to abuse. The current limit of 5 unrelated persons per unit pushes up the going rate per house such that some families can’t begin to afford renting a house in this neighborhood. Furthermore, at stake is the preservation and protection of a historic, traditionally family-oriented neighborhood, one of the top values expressed at recent Comp Plan meetings.

    We are not opposed to rentals as such. Many of us have families renting homes near us and are happy to have them there. The properties that need to be regulated, as Councilman Cashman has pointed out, are those where the use has been changed fundamentally from a family home to a commercial property serving large numbers of unrelated adult renters.

    Jim Noonan and Jerri Hurlbutt

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