WHEREAS, a sufficient petition was filed with the city clerk requesting the vacation of 200 feet of Minnesota Avenue extending south from the Government Park along the south pier of the Duluth Ship Canal, legally described as: 200 feet of Minnesota Avenue fronting lots 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237 and 239, Minnesota Avenue, Upper Duluth; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 100 of the City Charter and Article IV of Chapter 45 of the Duluth City Code, 1959 as amended, such petition was duly referred to the city planning commission, and such commission gave due notice of public hearing and did consider same in public hearing; and

WHEREAS, the city planning commission approved, by a vote of 6-2, the vacation petition at its meeting on August 23, 2000.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the city council of the city of Duluth approves the vacation of a portion of Minnesota Avenue described above, and as more particularly described on Public Document No. _______________.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the entire right-of-way being vacated be retained as public access, utility and pedestrian easement. The use of the easement being retained being restricted to roadway and pedestrian improvements of a hard surface not to exceed 20 feet in width, upland of the high water mark, and subject to design consultation with the property owner and appropriate city, state and federal permits.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the city clerk is hereby directed to record, with the register of deeds and/or the registrar of titles of St. Louis County, Minnesota, a certified copy of this resolution together with a plat showing the portion of Minnesota Avenue to be vacated and the easements being retained.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:   This resolution vacates 200' of Minnesota Avenue extending south from the Government Park along the South Pier of the Duluth Ship Canal.

The purpose of the vacation is to facilitate development of the adjacent property as a 30 unit overnight lodging facility.

By vacating Minnesota Avenue as a "street" and retaining "easements" the building setback changes from 25 feet from the property line (C-2 Commercial Zone) to 50 feet from the water line (General Development Shoreland Zone). This makes a difference of 11 feet (closer to the water) for a proposed building.

The staff offered and the commission recommended approval based in part on the following findings:

Can it be shown that there will be no future need for this right-of-way?

As a street, Yes. This right of way has been partially underwater since it was platted as part of "Upper Duluth" and has never been constructed. The remaining "improved" portion of Minnesota Avenue provides access to this project and 3 other properties fronting upon it "up" from 8th Street.

Other uses such as access to the South Pier for maintenance and repair of the Canal and the Lift Bridge have been identified as a future need. Also, public works has indicated a need for an easement for future utility purposes. In both cases, a minimum of 20 feet has been cited. Future pedestrian access from Minnesota Avenue to the south pier Government Park is also a reasonable expectation consistent with the rights of the city to construct a street and sidewalk, and in light of Lakewalk and Baywalk improvements on the Canal Park side of the Ship Canal.

Accommodating these easement needs is limited by the existing shoreline of St. Louis Bay and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers restrictions regarding waters of the State and Wetlands.

Retention of the full right of way as a multi use easement will preserve the public access, existing and future utility needs and result in an enlarged lot area for the redevelopment of the adjacent project. The easement could be further restricted by limiting roadway and pedestrian improvements to a hard surface not to exceed 20 feet in width upland of the high water mark, subject to design consultation with the property owner, connecting from Minnesota Avenue to Government Park.

The submitted project design would have to be modified to recognize the retained easement.

The city planning commission approved this vacation request, by a vote of 6-2, at its regular meeting on August 23, 2000.

In a related action, the planning commission also heard and considered a related water resources management ordinance variance request to allow for a 60% impervious surface and a 33' setback from the water line of St. Louis Bay. The ordinance allows for a maximum of 30% impervious surface (62% existing) and a building setback of 50' from the waterline. The commission acted to approve the 60% impervious surface variance on condition that the applicant submit for their approval a modified design and denied the 33' setback variance, again by a vote of 6-2.