01-0751R

RESOLUTION DENYING A SPECIAL USE PERMIT TO MINNESOTA POWER TO UPGRADE AND RELOCATE A PORTION OF AN EXISTING POWER TRANSMISSION LINE LOCATED ALONG THE NORTH AND EAST SIDES OF THE GARY-NEW DULUTH NEIGHBORHOOD.

BY COUNCILOR STEWART:

        WHEREAS, Minnesota Power made an application for exemption of the "Arrowhead Project" and received an exemption from the requirements of the Power Plant Siting Act from the Minnesota environmental quality board at its meeting of March 15, 2001, which in Order Point 10 ordered that Minnesota Power shall obtain all necessary permits from federal and state and local units of government before proceeding with construction; and

        WHEREAS, the city of Duluth has enacted a power transmission line ordinance (50-35(r)); and

        WHEREAS, the public utilities commission has not issued a certificate of need and no need determination has been made by any other state of Minnesota utility regulatory agency; and

        WHEREAS, Minnesota Power has submitted to the city council a request for a special use permit to remove the existing Arrowhead-Gary 115 kV transmission line and replace it with a 345/115 kV double-circuit transmission line along the north and east sides of Gary-New Duluth; and said permit application was duly referred to the city planning commission for a study, report and public hearing and the city planning commission has subsequently reported its recommendation to the city council; and

        WHEREAS, the recommendation was made because of the city planning commission¹s findings that the state¹s hearing process and the findings and order of the EQB demonstrate that appropriate safeguards will exist to protect the comprehensive plan and to conserve and to protect property values in the neighborhood if conditions are observed; and

        WHEREAS, the recommendation did not address those standards of approval required under the power transmission line ordinance; and

        WHEREAS, because Minnesota Power¹s proposal is a change in facility through removal of one 115 kV transmission line and replacement with a 345 kV transmission line, a new general corridor special use permit is required; and

        WHEREAS, Minnesota Power¹s application was incomplete because its application did not include information required for a power transmission line permit addressing each applicable standard of Section 50-35(r)(4), including a demonstration of a need for the specific 345 kV facility instead of the specific 115 kV facility specified in the general corridor special use permit; and

        WHEREAS, Minnesota Power¹s application was incomplete because its submittal for a final design special use permit did not include a landscaping plan and subject site and adjacent area information on existing topography, land uses, soils, vegetation, water courses, wetlands, major drainage ways, flood plains, rock outcroppings and scenic views in a form which shall be determined by the city planning commission as required by 50-35(r)(3)(B); a statement addressing each applicable standard of Section 50-35(r)(4) in regard to the preferred route and alternative routes required by 50-35(r)(3)(C); and

        WHEREAS, the staff and planning commission's review and approval was incomplete because it used the standards for special use permits rather than those for power transmission lines and did not require that application requirements be met by the applicant nor were findings made regarding the standards for approval enumerated in 50-35(r)(4); and

        WHEREAS, the planning commission did not make findings addressing each applicable standard of Section 50-35-35(r)(4); and

        WHEREAS, the planning commission recommended approval the special use permit with staff recommendations on June 27, 2001; and

        WHEREAS, the application of Minnesota Power is inadequate under Duluth ordinance and insufficient information has been provided on the record to support either a positive or a negative need determination by the city; and

        WHEREAS, staff and planning commission review of the application was inadequate and insufficient information has been provided on the record to support either a positive or a negative need determination by the city; and

        WHEREAS, because state law has changed effective August 1, 2001, if Minnesota Power makes a new application the need determination must be made through the state's public utilities commission certificate of need review process.

        NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that a special use permit to Minnesota Power for the replacement of the existing Arrowhead-Gary 115 kilo volt transmission line with a 345/115 kV double-circuit transmission line is denied without prejudice. Minnesota Power may make a new and complete application to the city in compliance with application standards of the ordinance. A determination of need for the line would be made by the public utilities commission. The record in this matter shall consist of this resolution and statement of purpose, the planning commission file, written submissions to the council, council proceedings, presentations to committee of the whole and the MP application to the Minnesota environmental quality board, recommendation of the EQB ALJ and findings and conclusions and order of the EQB.



STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This resolution denying a special use permit was requested by Councilor Stewart.