04-0362R

RESOLUTION OF INTENT FOR THE CONCEPTUAL APPROVAL OF AN APARTMENT HOUSING PROJECT AND NATURAL AREA ON TAX FORFEITED LAND ALONG RICE LAKE ROAD NEAR BLACKMAN AVENUE AND PECAN AVENUE.

BY COUNCILOR GILBERT:

WHEREAS, there exists a strong demand for apartment housing in the community as evidenced by the 2003 state of housing study conducted by the St. Louis County planning department; and

WHEREAS, there also exists an extremely small amount of undeveloped land (only 95 acres citywide) zoned for apartment housing as pointed out in the "Analysis of Housing Sites" produced by the city planning department in October of 2002; and

WHEREAS, there exist approximately 60 acres of tax-forfeited land on the south side of Rice Lake Road, east of Blackman Avenue and west of Pecan Avenue; and

WHEREAS, Mark Lambert of Summit Management, LLC, is the owner of approximately 2.5 acres of land on the north edge of the above mentioned tax forfeited land and he is the owner and operator of the Campus Park Townhomes and Villas, a student apartment and townhome development on Rice Lake Road about 1/2 mile north of the subject tax forfeited land; and

WHEREAS, David Johnson of 602 Pecan Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota, has begun researching the possibility of entering the southern 1/2 of the 60 acre tax forfeited tract described above into the status of permanent green space through the Duluth natural areas program.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Duluth City Council hereby supports in concept the joint proposal for the development of apartment housing by Mark Lambert of Summit Management, LLC, on the northerly 30 acres of the subject tax forfeited land and the designation of a natural area on the southerly 30 acres of the subject tax forfeited tract, subject to approval of plans submitted through the normal permitting processes.


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This resolution expresses the council's support for the concept of apartment housing on the north 1/2 of a 60 acre tract of tax forfeited land and for a natural area on the south 1/2, the dividing line being the unbuilt Davis Street. In order for either project to be completed each must still follow the appointed public processes for rezoning, special use permits, tax forfeited land acquisition and Duluth natural areas program designation as well as building and environmental permits. These processes include city staff, planning commission, city council and county board public hearings and approval, which are by no means guaranteed by this resolution of intent.

Several recent studies have proven the need for additional rental apartment development in Duluth. The city planning department's October 2002 "Analysis of Housing Sites" pointed out that there are "95 acres or three percent of the possible residential development area [that] is available for apartment buildings or town homes. With the continued growth of all of our colleges, the demand for these types of units is growing but land zoned for these types of units is extremely limited." The county planning department's "State of Housing" report from 2003 says "there is a need for all types of market rate and subsidized rental housing units for all income levels based upon low vacancy rates and housing replacement."

Mark Lambert of Summit Management, LLC, has developed Campus Park Townhomes and Villas which is regarded by many to be well managed, including neighboring property owners. On the proposed 30 acre site, Mr. Lambert will not be seeking any public financial assistance for developing is project.

David Johnson has gathered some data about the forest and wetland areas on the south half of the 60 acre tax forfeited tract. He intends to seek designation of the south 1/2 of the 60-acre tract as a Duluth natural area.

A joint public meeting of neighborhood districts 4 and 10 was held on April 19, 2004, to discuss both concepts where approximately 100 people attended, resulting in a list of benefits and concerns of the joint proposal for apartments and natural area.

David Johnson and Mark Lambert met on-site on May 8, 2004, and set a mutually agreeable boundary between the proposed natural area and the proposed apartment development at the center of the platted Davis Street right-of-way.

Approval of this resolution of intent will give both parties a positive sign that will encourage each to invest resources into plans and studies of the area in which will result in each submitting detailed plans to be considered in the appropriate public approval process.