'Bigger picture' rezoning considered for area where Kwik Trip was rejected
The western Duluth property on which rezoning for a Kwik Trip was rejected earlier this year is up for Planning Commission action again -- but in a different setting.
The western Duluth property on which rezoning for a Kwik Trip was rejected earlier this year is up for Planning Commission action again - but in a different setting.
At its Sept. 12 meeting, the commission will consider an amendment to its zoning map for a section of Duluth that abuts Proctor, north of U.S. Highway 2 and east of Boundary Avenue.
If the commission approves the revised map, it would then go to the City Council for approval.
The rezoning would bring the parcels into compliance with a land use study for the Boundary Avenue area that was initiated last September and approved by the City Council later in the year, said Keith Hamre, the city's director of planning and construction services.
It includes a 12-acre site for which a Kwik Trip gas station and convenience store was proposed earlier this year. But it also includes Stokke's Proctor Market, Zenith Terrace manufactured housing development and Boundary Storage, Hamre said.
The rezoning request for the proposed Kwik Trip came in while the larger land use revision for that section was underway, he said.
But sometimes individual property owners aren't prepared to wait for that process to be completed, Hamre said. "So they can apply to rezone their individual parcel. ... It's the bigger picture that we looked at."
The City Council turned down rezoning for the proposed Kwik Trip site twice in June. Both times, a 5-3 majority favored the rezoning. But after the first vote was declared sufficient to pass the rezoning, the council learned six yes votes actually were required. Councilors Elissa Hanson and Barb Russ each voted in favor of the rezoning at one meeting but were away at the other, effectively denying the necessary sixth vote.
The Kwik Trip that had been proposed would be accommodated under the new map that will be considered on Sept. 12, Hamre said. But even if that rezoning were approved, a developer still would have to seek a special use permit to be able to go ahead with the project.
Since first rolling out stores in the region in 2014, Kwik Trip has expanded to 13 locations in the Twin Ports, most without any murmur of protest. But the proposed Boundary Avenue store drew both opposition and support. Shain Stokke, the operator of Stokke's Proctor Market, said he had updated his three stations after making sure no nearby locations were zoned to accommodate competition from a chain such as Kwik Trip. Allowing the store in would threaten his livelihood, Stokke said.
But Corey Stebner, manager of Zenith Terrace, said having a Kwik Trip nearby would benefit the 1,250 people who live in that development.