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Park Point hotel proposal OK'd by Duluth Planning Commission

Land around the Harbor Cove Marina at 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue on Park Point could be converted to a hotel. 2009 file / News Tribune1 / 2
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Plans to build a 116-room hotel on Park Point cleared a last hurdle with the Duluth Planning Commission on Tuesday despite objections from area residents.

The commission voted 8-1 in favor of a variance to allow the proposed 8-acre site of the Harbor Cove Marina Hotel to have 60 percent impervious

surfaces, an increase over the standard 30 percent of land that is impenetrable to water for commercial waterfront.

The site on the Duluth Harbor currently has 82 percent impervious surfaces.

"We are going to reduce drastically the amount of impervious surfaces and help the environment now, but we will be higher than the standard," said Wayne Dahlberg of BDP Architects.

With the commission's consent, Globe Enterprises, owner of the 100-boat Harbor Cove Marina at 1003 Minnesota Ave., will move forward with its tentative proposal to build a three-story, nautical-themed hotel and pool to operate in conjunction with the marina.

"This is just another step in the process of moving forward," said Terry Anderson, a co-owner of the marina. "Then we can run the financial numbers to see if this makes sense. It's a very delicate process to do this. I want to do it slowly and correctly because it's a sensitive area and people are concerned."

Six Park Point residents spoke out against the hotel during the hourlong debate at City Hall.

Jan Karon, who lives within a block of the proposed hotel, urged the commission to make Globe Enterprises and BDP Architects further reduce its percentage of impervious surfaces.

"Why couldn't this commission request that the developers consider options to bring the project much closer to 30 percent impervious surfaces?" Karon asked.

Commissioner John Vigen later said the proposed hotel project does an adequate job.

"Twenty-two percent is a fair jump down compared to what we've seen in the past," Vigen said. "It's difficult to expect a decrease from 80 to 30 percent in our industrial-base areas."

Other Park Point residents voiced concern about traffic, sewer water and public safety issues the hotel would bring to their neighborhood, but the planning commission was addressing only impervious surfaces.

Globe Enterprises met with neighborhood members in late August and plans to have future meetings.

"We want to be friends and neighbors with them," Anderson said. "We will listen to all of their concerns, but we can't always meet everyone's concerns. ... We are going to keep them informed through the process to address their concerns and other ones that could arise."