Park Point Gets Rezoned, Businesses Unhappy

By KBJR News 1

March 14, 2011 Updated Mar 14, 2011 at 10:23 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Duluth city council voted tonight to rezone Park Point even though many business owners in the area fought the change.

The rezoning created a buffer zone between residents and a proposed hotel, and that rezoning only affects the first few blocks of Park Point past the lift-bridge.

The city council voted on two separate proposals changing the zoning that planners say are consistent with the city's comprehensive plan.

One proposal rezones the Lakehead Boat Basin on Minnesota Avenue from Industrial to Mixed-Use, allowing development of the property.

The other proposal rezones the neighborhood around that property, between 8th Street and 11th Street, to a Traditional Neighborhood.

Under zoning rules that change means no expansion for businesses there as well as limitations a proposed hotel's height.

City councilors had to take both the developer's and the residents' opinion into consideration, and some residents say they're happy.

"I think it would be out of character for the Park Point neighborhood and for that area of Duluth to have a 120-foot tall hotel," said City Councilor Jeff Anderson.

"We can actually have a hotel on the boat basin area and have a buffer the way the comprehensive plan calls for, and we all get a little bit of what we like out of this," said Park Point resident Kevin Kelleher.

It was a packed chamber at the meeting with many Park Point residents filling the room.

Many of whom have been fighting for or against rezoning for weeks.

The businesses in the rezoned traditional neighborhood can't expand, but they can stay in business, however, if there is fire, for example, and their building is destroyed, they may not be able to re-build their business in that area.

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