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									                                    City of Duluth
                                Planning Commission
                         Minutes of Tuesday, December 9, 2003
                               City Council Chambers

I.      Call to Order:

        President Wedin called the Planning Commission=s regular meeting to order at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday,
        December 9, 2003, in the third floor Council Chambers of Duluth City Hall.

II.     Roll Call:

        Members Present: Ron DeGrio, Ruth Ann Eaton, Gilbert Harries, John Hinzmann, Jeff
                         Jackson, Heather Rand, Virgil Swing, Carol Thomson, John Vigen (Vice-
                         President), Karl Wasson, Roger Wedin (President)
        Members Absent: Jeanne Koneczny, Joan Morrison (new member appointed 11/24/03)
        Staff Present:   Lora Eames (Information Technician), Alison Lutterman (Legal Counsel),
                         and Jim Mohn (Senior Planner)

III.    Public Hearings:

        FN 03085, A permit agreement request from the Superior Hiking Trail Association to build
        a hiking trail across Duluth. This 40-mile trail, to be built and managed by the SHTA,
        would be part of a potential trail system stretching between the Canadian and Wisconsin
        borders. (Informational session given 10/14/03.)

 Tim Howard                        Diane Desotelle, Consultant       Gail Coyer, Executive Director
 City Administrative Services      Duluth Trail Coordinator          Superior Hiking Trail Assoc.
Howard noted the information and draft permit agreement distributed prior to the meeting. Also, he
discussed the outstanding issues requiring the City and SHTA staff to reroute the trail a minimum of 200
feet from an historic cemetery and review certain trail sections crossing city lands.

Desotelle discussed the Association=s plans, the process used for public comment, and the proposed
modifications. In October, Desotelle and Coyer presented this proposal to the Commission. Now, they
wanted the Commissioners to receive public input and recommend that the City Council approve the permit
and proposed route.

Residents (5) who expressed their support for the trail:
 Richard Gitar         John Green                          Susan Dolph
 12 Bianco Drive       1754 Old North Shore Road           1307 North 57th Avenue West
 Stasia Ruskie          Lisa Messerer
 4506 Pitt Street       2009 West 8th Street
Residents stated that this well-maintained hiking trail system would:
        1.) Enhance Duluth=s natural beauty and reputation as a tourist attraction.
        2.) Allow Athrough@ hikers the chance to see many of Duluth=s key features and attractions.
        3.) Enhance the local economy by making Duluth an access point on the trail system.
        4.) Be maintained by volunteers at no cost to the City.
        5.) Be a nonconsumptive use of Duluth=s park lands.
        6.) Provide service opportunities for those wanting to contribute to the City.

Residents (3) who expressed concerns about the trail:
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 Bob Kunze                       Tom McDonald                 Ann Biron
 501 West Skyline Parkway        711 West 8th Street          718 North 6th Avenue West
Residents were concerned about the proposed route through a residential area, the safety of certain aspects
of the trail, and the privacy concerns of neighbors. Biron said the SHTA was working with residents to
resolve outstanding issues.

Coyer explained how the SHTA routed the trail through the public West 8 th Street easement to get through
the tower area and be a safe distance from the towers. Now, they hoped to meet with the neighbors and the
tower communication company to discuss an alternative route.

Discussion focused on how the disposal of tax-forfeited lands could affect trail development. Coyer was
not worried because SHTA had worked closely with City and County staff. For example, City staff
reviewed each parcel to determine the likelihood of sale and SHTA routed the trail accordingly.

No one else spoke to the issue. Wedin closed the public hearing and the Commissioners deliberated.

MOTION: Vigen moved to recommend that the City Council approve the FN 03085 permit agreement
        request and proposed route through Duluth.

Before proceeding any further, Wedin announced that the Sand Point Yacht Club had withdrawn its
application; therefore, the Planning Commission would not accept public comment on FN 03138.

          FN 03135, A rezoning petition from Robert Finnigen to reclassify from R-2, Two-Family
          Residential, to R-3, Apartment Residential, property located northwest of Mesaba Avenue between
          Second Avenue West and West Cascade Street. The purpose is to prepare land for residential
          development (four to eight condominium units).

Mohn summarized the staff report copied to this file and, on behalf of the staff, recommended approval of
the rezoning petition. Also, he noted that Finnigan would submit a vacation petition for part of West
Cascade Street and participate in a development agreement for the sale of City-owned land.

Mohn addressed the neighbors= concerns and staff=s perspective:
          Neighbors= concerns                             Staff=s response
          The project would adversely affect the views    The development would open up the site and
          of the downtown area and Lake Superior.         enhance the views for residents
          The project would change the character of       The plan was consistent in terms of density,
          the neighborhood                                but did not incorporate the style of older
                                                          neighborhood homes
          The City should require improvements to         This street will be scheduled for a future
          Second Avenue West                              upgrade on the on the street improvement

Subsequent discussion focused on:
       1.) Bruce and Susan Mattson=s letter, dated December 4, 2003, in which Mattson opposed the
             proposed development because of the above concerns and said they would not to sign the
             pending vacation petition. However, Mohn said their signatures were not necessary as
             Finnigan owned 50% of the right-of-way.
       2.) The height limit as a fluctuating number based on front and rear yard setbacks.

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Residents opposed to the project:
 Susan Isernhagen             Deborah Anderson      Diana Hunter          Phyllis Snyder (speaking on
 209 W 6th Street             127 West 7th Street   127 West 7th Street   behalf of the Mattsons)
 Stanley Ericksen      Rita Molitor          Diane Erickson        Mark Warok
 204 West 7th Street   117 West 7th Street   204 West 7th Street   115 West 7th Street
Residents opposed the rezoning petition because:
       1.) The project would have a negative impact on neighborhood property values.
       2.) The development would likely create additional traffic and parking problems.
       3.) The R-3 rezoning would jump the natural zoning barrier of Mesaba Avenue.
       4.) The project would ultimately increase rental properties in the neighborhood.
       5.) The development would adversely impact neighborhood views and open space.
       6.) The project and land acquisition would compromise access and available parking.

Mohn maintained that the project would not compromise access and available parking.

In response to earlier comments, Finnigan claimed his rezoning request was not based on height, density,
nor on his future ability to build a five-story building. Rather, he asked for the R-3 change so he could offer
single story residential living. The R-2 townhome style would allow occupants to share only vertical, not
horizontal surfaces.

Discussion focused on all aspects of this petition, including the possibility of additional rental units as a
result of this project. At one point, the Commissioners considered tabling the rezoning petition pending
City Council action on the development agreement. However, Lutterman discouraged such delay since
failure to act by the action deadline would allow the R-3 zoning to become reality per state law.

No one else spoke to the issue. Wedin closed the public hearing and the Commissioners deliberated

MOTION:    Thomson moved to deny the FN 03135 rezoning petition for the following reasons:
    1.)    The lack of controls for and the potential use of excessive building heights;
    2.)    The case of spot zoning by jumping the natural Mesaba Avenue barrier;
    3.)    The current site has the potential for the construction of four dwelling units, which is an
           adequate use of the land.
     5 - opposed to motion to deny/ 6 - in favor of motion to deny

          FN 03136, A vacation petition from the Duluth Economic Development Authority and the City of
          Duluth to vacate the alley within the Oneota parcel owned by DEDA, between West Superior and
          West Michigan Streets and between 39th and vacated 38th Avenues West. The purpose is to
          facilitate the development of the Oneota III Industrial Park.

Mohn summarized the staff report copied to this file and on behalf of the staff, recommended unconditional
approval of the vacation as petitioned.

No one else spoke to the issue. Wedin closed the public hearing and the Commissioners deliberated.

MOTION: Vigen moved to approve the FN 03136 vacation petition, based on the staff=s

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          FN 03137, A special use permit request from Christine Schafer to operate a one-chair beauty salon
          in the basement of her home at 4508 Oakley Street in Lakeside.

Mohn summarized the staff report copied to this file. On behalf of the staff, he recommended approval
based on the plans submitted, inspections received, and for a period of ten years.

No one else spoke to the issue. Wedin closed the public hearing and the Commissioners deliberated

MOTION: Jackson moved to approve the FN 03137 special use permit based on the staff=s
        recommendation that the permit be limited to, established, and maintained in accordance with
        plans submitted by Christine Schafer, dated October 30, 2003, subject to the following
        conditions: 1.) That the necessary inspections are received; and 2.) The term of the permit
        run for ten years at which time renewal may be considered.

          FN 03138, A vacation petition from the Sand Point Yacht Club to vacate part of the open space
          easement fronting the shoreline west of St. Louis Avenue between East 19th and 20th Streets on
          Park Point. The Club, located at 1901 Minnesota Avenue, proposes to develop and operate a boat-
          lift facility on the landward portion of the easement. The remaining easement area would be at
          least as large as that originally dedicated.

Mohn said the applicant would withdraw this request and submit a request to amend their special use
permit. Surrounding property owners would be notified of the public hearing on January 13, 2004.

          FN 03141, A preliminary plat review from David Sackette for subdivision approval of
          ASackette Addition.@ The proposal calls for the creation of 13 residential lots and 2
          outlots on 6.86 acres located at the west end of Denim Drive.

Commissioner Hinzmann, in representing the applicant, excused himself from the Commission=s
deliberation on the matter.

Mohn summarized the staff report copied to this file and, on behalf of staff, recommended conditional
approval of the preliminary plat. In addition, he noted several items of correspondence from neighbors.
Discussion focused on letters from Randy Mallow and Gary and Carolyn Lofald, who were concerned
about access to their properties:
        1.) Mallow asked for the extension of streets to connect to his property; however, Mohn advised
              him that the Commission decided in 1992 not to connect the streets through the Sackette
        2.) The Lofalds asked that Lot 3 be left undeveloped for future road access; however, Mohn said
              the Lofalds have 400 feet of frontage on Decker Road they could use for access.

                              John Hinzmann
 David Sackette               Jeremy Walgrave       Tim Downs, Attorney
 1832 Anderson Road           SEH Engineering       200 Alworth Building

While the plat had not changed substantially, Hinzmann emphasized that they had addressed the concerns
leading up to the previous rejection of the plat. Also, the new concern about fire flow capacity could easily
be resolved by changing from an eight-inch to a ten-or-twelve-inch waterline.

Hinzmann reported that the project engineer, not Sackette, met with the neighbors.

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Residents opposed to the project
 Betty Fleisner                      Brett Gruehler
 3515 Chambersburg Avenue            1814 Denim Street
 Bill Westholm
 1820 Denim Street
Residents opposed the preliminary plat request because:
       1.) The new proposal was not substantially changed.
       2.) Sackette did not comply with earlier instructions to meet with the neighbors.
       3.) The loss of wetlands would adversely impact neighboring wells and property.
       4.) The project did not adequately address stormwater runoff concerns.
       5.) The project would have a negative impact on adjacent property values.
       6.) The project=s shallow lots would not be consistent with the neighborhood.
       7.) The development will increase traffic and encroach on neighbors= privacy.
       8.) The proposed development would not blend with the surrounding neighborhood.

No one else spoke to the issue. Wedin closed the public hearing and the Commissioners deliberated

Hinzmann claimed that the flooding was not caused by Sackette. In reality, the flooding did not exist until
homes along Denim Street were built. The drainage course was interrupted and this contributed to the
flooding. Hinzmann maintained that the proposal would treat this problem

Hinzmann claimed that they have met with the neighborhood. Also, he maintained that the lots were, on
the average, larger than the rest of the lots along Denim Street.

Commissioners discussed the possible impact on a nearby private well, the lack of compatibility of the
proposed development with the surrounding area, and the configuration of lots with the existing
topography. DeGrio argued that the development should have another holding area for water and larger
and fewer lots to blend with the surrounding area.

Downs advised the Commissioners to base their decision on the evidence and to approve Sackette=s
preliminary plat request based on his compliance with established criteria.

Vigen asked the Commission to consider new information - the possibility that this project could affect a
private well on adjoining property. However, Lutterman found no regulation applicable to this issue and
emphasized that grounds for denial must be based on evidence in the record under platting regulations.

Subsequent discussion focused on whether the hardships and concerns of the adjacent property owners had
been considered.

MOTION: Vigen moved to table the FN 03141 request, pending additional information regarding the
            potential impact on the neighboring private well.
     5 - in favor of tabling/ 5 - opposed to tabling

MOTION: Wasson moved to approve the FN 03141 preliminary plat, based on the staff=s
        recommendation that the final plat be prepared according to the plan submitted by SEH,
        dated April 16, 2002, entitled Sackette Addition, and subject to the following conditions
        prior to submittal for final approval:
    1.) Variance and special use requests be submitted to the Planning Commission under Sec. 51-31
        of the Duluth City Code for wetland impacts and be approved by the local governing unit

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           technical evaluation panel (LGU-TEP) and:
     2.) Water system Afire flow@ capacity issues be resolved and approved by the City Engineer.
SECOND: Jackson
     6 - in favor/ 4 - opposed

The Commissioners considered both FNs 03143 and 03077 (old business) simultaneously, but acted on
each matter separately.

          FN 03143, A Water Resources Management Ordinance variance and special use permit
          request from Endion Shores, LLC, Duluth, for
          1.) Variances to allow a 62% impervious surface in a 30% zone (existing conditions are
               82%) and to allow all or portions of seven parking spaces within the 50-foot setback
               from the shoreline; and
          2.) A special use permit to for the excavation and grading of 2,000 cubic yards of
               materials within the General Development Shoreland Zone for property located on
               the lake side of Water Street between 20th and 22nd Avenues East.
          These requests would facilitate redevelopment for condominiums and offices.

          FN 03077, A vacation petition from the North Line Group Inc., to vacate 21 st Avenue East
          below Water Street to Lake Superior. As part of the vacation, the petitioners propose to
          make land available for the Lakewalk Easement across the property from 20 th to 21st
          Avenues East. (Approved July 23, 2003 and held)

Mohn summarized the staff report copied to this file and on behalf of staff, recommended the following:
      1.) Conditional approval of the WRMO variances and special use permit.
      2.) Submission of the resolution accepting the Lakewalk Easement and vacating 21 st Avenue
          East to the City Council for approval.

In addition, Mohn addressed each of NPD7's concerns:
          NPD 7                               Staff=s response
          The lack of green space             Significant areas, in addition to the 38% open space in the
                                              project, will become public space.
          The potential impact on Lake        The stormwater management plan and MPCA permits will
          Superior                            reduce impacts on Lake Superior.
          Lack of access                      The staff believes there is now sufficient access
          Potential loss of parking for       Some off-street parking will be lost. Even so, the project
          Lakewalk users                      exceeds the off-street parking minimum required by Code.

Wayne Dahlberg, applicant
Endion Shores, LLC
Dahlberg discussed the beneficial aspects of his proposal: The 50 feet of green space in front of the
structure, the additional landscaping and cleanup of the site, underground parking, a solid drainage plan,
and a frontage road for natural snow removal.

Alison Clarke
Representing NPD 7
Clarke acknowledged Dahlberg=s efforts to accommodate the Endion Waterfront Plan in his proposal and
incorporate a style consistent with neighborhood architecture. She asked that additional parking be
provided for Lakewalk users.

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Discussion focused on the old corrugated metal building. Mohn said this grandfathered, nonconforming
structure, which predated the current zoning ordinance, would likely be converted into an ice cream or
coffee shop. The developer would have to resolve outstanding issues with the Building Official.

MOTION: DeGrio moved to approve the FN 03143 WRMO special use permit and variances, based on
         the staff=s recommendation and subject to the following conditions:
     1.) That the project be limited to and developed in accordance with the plans submitted by
         Blesener Dahlberg Prestidge Architects, entitled Endion Shores Development, dated
         November 17, 2003, and Endion Shores, Attachment AA@ Cut & Fill Calculations, BDP
         Architects, dated November 17, 2003.
     2.) That the necessary Minnesota Pollution Control Agency permits be secured prior to the
         issuance of any construction permits.
     3.) That the vacation of 21st Avenue East and the acceptance of the Lakewalk easement be
         approved by the City Council prior to the issuance of any construction permits.

MOTION: Vigen moved to approve the FN 03077 request, based on the staff=s recommendation, to
        submit a resolution to the City Council accepting the Lakewalk Easement and vacating 21 st
        Avenue East.

IV.       Consideration of Minutes:

The Commission unanimously approved the minutes for September 24, October 14, and October 22, 2003.

V.        Communications


VI.       Old Business

          Bylaw change

Article VII - Meetings; Sec. 7.3: All public hearings shall be held at 9 a.m. 5:00 p.m. on the second
Tuesday of the month or at 5 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month at a place set by the

VII.      Reports of Officers and Committees

          Rental housing discussion

Wedin discussed the ad hoc group=s efforts to advance the proposed changes, provide research and
documentation for discussion, and address the concerns of individuals and groups. In addition, he
discussed the Commission=s recent meeting with City Councilors. A public hearing was tentatively
scheduled for January 26, 2003, at 5:00 p.m.

          Brown Bag Lunch

Wedin announced the next Brown Bag Lunch: Friday, December 12, 2003, Mayor=s Reception Room
(12:00 noon). Topics for consideration: Rental housing, an awards program, for meritorious
development projects, and amendments to the sign ordinance.
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          DWMX-D Technical Design Advisory Committee

Wasson reported that the committee members met Tuesday, November 12, 2003, for a preapplication
discussion of the 10-screen cinema theater proposed for the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
 The next meeting would be Tuesday, December 16, 2003, at the DECC Board Room.

          Community Development Committee

Thomson reported that committee members presented their 2004 budget proposal to the City Council.
The Council accepted the proposal, pending a future public hearing and vote.

          Historical Preservation Commission

Eaton reported that the commission held its annual meeting that morning. She noted that the
commission had recently become more proactive in its stances.

          Living Stones Fellowship and Billman Construction projects

DeGrio provided an update on discussions held with Keith Hamre, Mark Winson, and other City staff
regarding the impact from these projects on stormwater runoff. He provided the results of a certified
survey done to show the City Administration that the land proposed for holding ponds was actually
private property.

          Environmental Advisory Commission

Vigen reported that the commission will become proactively involved with stormwater runoff issues.

VIII. New Business

Mohn agreed to provide future draft agendas to Commissioners three weeks in advance.

Wedin thanked outgoing members Ron DeGrio and Jeff Jackson for their years of service and good
work on the Planning Commission. Their terms expire December 31, 2003. However, both would
likely serve until replaced.

IX.       Other Business

X.        Adjournment

         __________________________________          _________________________________
         Keith Hamre                                 James Mohn
         Acting Secretary                            Senior Planner
         Approved on January 28, 2004

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