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The Duluth City Council briefly reconsidered a rezoning request Monday night that could have opened the way for a Kwik Trip to be built on Boundary Avenue at the doorstep of Proctor and Zenith Terrace. But it came to the same conclusion, denying the proposed change of zoning from low-density residential to mixed-use neighborhood. The same request had been denied two weeks ago, when the council voted 5-3 in favor of altering the zoning. Six council votes are required to approve the zoning change.
A 2-year-old dispute that arose from a case of mistaken identity appears to finally be moving toward a resolution. A proposed settlement agreement could end an ordeal that began May 8, 2015, when Ronald Gary Gustafson of Grand Rapids was arrested and spent five days in custody before authorities realized they had the wrong guy.
Referring to vacant buildings as "a threat to public safety," a resolution that's headed to the Duluth City Council proposes to jack up the cost of owning an abandoned property in the city. Owners of vacant buildings would be required to register their properties with the city on an annual basis. The city would charge $500 for the first year a building sits empty, with that annual fee progressively escalating by another $500 each subsequent year, so by year five the fee would total $2,500.
If not for the San Marco Apartments, Lisa Ronnquist, 60, said she'd probably have died homeless on the streets of Duluth by now. "This place saved my life," she said. Ronnquist was a chronic alcoholic when she came to the newly constructed San Marco 10 years ago as one of its first residents. "Before we had this place, when we needed a place to sleep, we'd sometimes get drunk on purpose so we could check into detox. I've been in detox so many times, I couldn't begin to count," she said.
Experience has shown that sometimes people will risk their own safety to care for a beloved pet even during a life-threatening emergency. "People will not evacuate unless they have a safe place for their pets. We learned that from Hurricane Katrina," said Tony Guerra, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross in Duluth. Nodding in agreement, Dewey Johnson, St. Louis County's emergency management coordinator, said: "Pets are part of your family."
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the 2012 flood that dumped 7.5 to 10 inches of rain on top of the Northland’s already-sodden landscape — enough to force waterways out of their banks and cause widespread damage. The recovery efforts continue even now, as crews work to stabilize local creeks, rebuild washed-out portions of Minnesota Highway 210 and gird the Thomson dam facility in anticipation of future floods.
A 5-3 vote of the Duluth City Council had been deemed sufficient to approve a zoning change for a proposed Kwik Trip station/store by Assistant City Attorney Bob Asleson Monday night. But come Tuesday, upon further legal review, councilors and the would-be developer, Brad Johnson, learned that in fact the zoning change had failed. "There was some confusion over the voting requirements," explained David Montgomery, chief administrative officer for the city of Duluth.
A divided Duluth City Council voted to approve a zoning change Monday night that could allow for the construction of a new Kwik Trip station/store across the street from Proctor, on Boundary Avenue South between Anchor Street and Park Place. Shain Stokke, who operates three gas station/convenience stores in the area, urged the council to reject the zoning change request. "I'm not afraid of competition. What I'm afraid of is saturation," he said.
A plan to lengthen Duluth's Western Waterfront Trail and shorten the scenic Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad will be unveiled Tuesday during a public meeting from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Morgan Park Community Recreation Center, 1242 88th Ave. W. "Our charge as a community is to decide the most publicly beneficial way to improve and use an extraordinarily valuable and extraordinarily limited resource — 7 miles of nearly continuous city-owned riverfront. That decision is as complicated as it is important," said Jim Filby Williams, Duluth's director of public administration.
Parasitic wasps could be deployed this summer to combat an infestation of emerald ash borers discovered in the northwest portion of Duluth's Hartley Park. Monday night, the Duluth City Council will consider a resolution authorizing the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to introduce parasitic wasps that could help hold the invasive beetles in check.