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On Monday, the Duluth City Council will consider a proposal to provide $278,000 in aid to help build a new 80-unit apartment building in Duluth Heights. If approved, the package would offer the assistance via a city tax abatement, in hopes that St. Louis County would follow suit with another $250,000 tax abatement of its own for the proposed Capstone Apartment project. In total, Capstone LLC would then receive assistance worth $528,000 for a project expected to cost more than $14.6 million.
Renee Van Nett intends to join the race for 4th District Duluth City Councilor Howie Hanson's seat by the end of this week. Van Nett's campaign issued a release Wednesday stating that she intends to formally announce her candidacy Friday afternoon at a press conference in Lincoln Park. Hanson, a web developer and blogger, said last week he will not seek re-election, citing conflicts of interest involving clients that occasionally have arisen during his tenure on the council.
A proposal to turn a condominium at Beacon Pointe's Lighthouse building into a vacation rental property has now twice been tabled by the Duluth City Council. And although the city's planning commission voted 6-1 to recommend approval of a permit that would allow the unit's owner to rent out the property to guests on a short-term basis, residents of the waterfront condo development have continued to argue in vociferous opposition.
Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson will trade in his suit and tie for an anorak and a pair of heavy Trans-Alaska boots next week, as he journeys north to prepare for an unexpected entrance in the grueling 1,000-plus-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Duluth's 4th District City Council race heated up Tuesday afternoon, as Tom Furman announced he will seek the seat now occupied by Howie Hanson. Meanwhile, the incumbent councilor said he won't seek another term. "I will not run for re-election next fall, exclusively due to growing business conflicts of interest," said Hanson in a written statement. "I have mostly enjoyed my three-plus years on the council, and I have learned a lot. A lot."
Tackling a diverse agenda, the Duluth City Council moved forward on three significant fronts Monday night: Setting the stage for new residential and commercial development below Spirit Mountain. Authorizing extra police overtime to fight drug trafficking in partnership with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Approving funding to beef up the city's rental housing inspections. Kayak Bay Village By an 8-1 vote, councilors approved a proposed zoning change to open the way for a new development dubbed Kayak Bay Village.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson offers no excuses for the $7,582 her administration spent on travel and training during her first year in office. That budget item has continued to trend upward under Larson's watch but for good reason, she said. As a new mayor shepherding a large request for state bonding support, Larson said she has been spending a lot of time in St. Paul.
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard founded Sacred Stone, the first resistance camp formed to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. But this weekend she came to Duluth to participate in an intertribal summit, focused on holding pipeline companies to higher account in their dealings with Native Americans throughout North America. About 90 tribal representatives gathered Sunday at the Inn on Lake Superior to unify and strategize in their respective battles. But nowhere is the fight more heated than in Allard's backyard.
It turns out that the city of Duluth is the owner of a tiny triangle-shaped parcel of land located smack-dab in the middle of a Menards lumberyard. The home improvement center has been squatting on about 130 square feet of city land inside the footprint of its sprawling West Duluth retail operation for more than a decade now, unbeknownst to either company or city officials. But no longer. "Because Menards is refinancing, they redid the title work, and that's how they found this," explained Keith Hamre, Duluth's director of planning and construction services.
About 70 representatives of Native American tribes in Canada, the Great Lakes region and North Dakota plan to gather in Duluth this weekend to compare notes and strategize in their ongoing battle against oil pipelines both old and new. “Many of them have old lines that are 50 years old, and people are deeply concerned about the impact of those lines on their water,” said Winona LaDuke, executive director of the Native American environmental group Honor the Earth.