BY COUNCILOR GILBERT:
WHEREAS, when the city council approved the redevelopment plan for its Redevelopment Project No. 1, representatives of Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth orally committed to the council that it would seek approval of the council prior to exercising the right of eminent domain authorized pursuant to said plan.
RESOLVED, that the city council of the city of Duluth hereby approves of the use by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth, Minnesota, of the power of eminent domain to acquire the below-described property in St. Louis County, Minnesota, for its Hawk Ridge Estates project in conformance with its redevelopment plan for its Redevelopment Project No. 1: Lots 12 through 20, inclusive, and Lot 66, Auditor's Plat of LESTER PARK GARDEN TRACTS.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: The purpose of this resolution is to secure the Council's approval of the use of the power of eminent domain to acquire property necessary for its Hawk Ridge Estates project in upper Lester Park. Hawk Ridge is proposed as a residential development consisting of 103 single family lots and 9 others which can be developed for duplexes; not less than 40% of the lots will be eligible for "workforce" status or for low income uses.
On May 12, 2003, the City Council approved the Redevelopment Plan for Redevelopment Project No. 1 which Project covers the entire city and includes the project at issue here. The Plan includes the authority to use the power of eminent domain if it should prove necessary to acquire properties needed to implement it which includes property needed for this project. At that time, however, representatives of HRA made a commitment to the Council that if the exercise of that power should prove necessary or appropriate, the Council's approval would be sought. This resolution is proposed in fulfillment of that commitment.
The first set of properties, Lots 12 through 20, are involved because a narrow strip of land is needed to increase the width of 52 Avenue East to accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic and the new utilities. A public hearing was held to give affected property owners an opportunity to voice opposition to these acquisitions and notice was mailed to all of them but none of them appeared to oppose the project or the acquisitions. In addition, HRA representatives have been told by the affected property owners that they are supportive of the extension and expansion of the road.
The other property, Lot 66, located at 54th Avenue East and Lester Street, is integral to the development. HRA has assiduously attempted to negotiate this acquisition with the owner, including providing him with their appraisals and making at least two separate offers to purchase the property; but the owner has not responded to their offers. Therefore, HRA feels it necessary to begin the formal process while continuing to attempt to reach an amicable solution to the issues.