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Duluth looks at zoning codes, land regulations

DULUTH — In an effort to continue to make improvements in and around the city, the Duluth city council is also taking a look at its zoning code and land development regulations. And they did so at Monday’s city council work session.

As the city tries to have a more consistent look to its codes and regulations, AMEC has stepped in to help in their efforts.

Paige Hatley of AMEC made a presentation to the council, giving an overview of the project scope and to present the initial findings on certain topics. Hatley said AMEC is trying to help the city update, and modernize zoning and development regulations, which was previously a piecemeal approach.

“It will take us about six months to complete the entire draft and then present it to council,” she said. “If it’s approved by council, then we’re looking at it being adopted in June.”

The purpose of project is to help eliminate duplications within the code ordinances and remove contradictions present.

“We want to give you something that is comprehensive, amendable, legally sound and is easy to use,” Hatley said. “We want to help fulfill the city of Duluth’s strategic vision.”

The council also placed on November’s City Council agenda a consideration to extend the lease to the New Dawn Theater. With downtown redevelopment occurring, the theater had been given a move-out date of Jan. 21, 2014.

The extension first asked for Dec. 31, 2014, but they would also accept July 15 to co-inside with the end of their performance season.

While there were multiple issues discussed, including what would happen to all fixtures when New Dawn moved out of the building, the council agreed that July 15 would be a reasonable date since there likely would be little or nothing done on that block before that date.

“We need activity there,” said councilman Kelly Kelkenberg. “It’s good for the city.”

Mayor Nancy Harris said she hoped the community realized that the city wasn’t evicting New Dawn from the premises as both entities consider themselves partners. With redevelopment going on in the downtown area, New Dawn is in a place where redevelopment is planned.

“We hope to be able to stay in Duluth,” said New Dawn Theater president Sherry Ingbritsen.

In addition to the extension of the lease, Ingbritsen also requested that the notice to vacate be moved from 30 to 60 days to allow ample time to move everything out; a request for a meeting 60 days out to discuss any matters that need to be discussed; and to request use of a storage area at old City Hall.