Duluth Council Rejects Environmental Assessment Worksheet for Kinseth Hotel Project

DULUTH, Minn. – The proposed Kinseth Hotel in Duluth will not be delayed for an environmental review that some local residents had petitioned the State of Minnesota for.

By a unanimous vote Monday evening, the Duluth City Council reversed a decision made by the Planning Commission back in April to order an environmental assessment worksheet for the hotel that will be built behind Kohl’s on Sundby Road.

This action was the latest concern brought up by neighbors to the project location.  It was back in October of 2022 when the commission approved the project.  Those voicing concerns about it had issues regarding matters such as traffic, lighting, and impact to nearby wildlife and waterways.

This initial decision was upheld by the full council in December of 2022, but a citizen petition to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board asked for the worksheet to be completed before permits for construction could be issued.

The majority of council members who spoke about this matter during Monday’s meeting said they understand the concerns, but they agree with city staff assessment that the worksheet isn’t necessary, given that the city’s current storm water standards for projects like this are higher than what the state requires.

“We’ve read the documents,” says council member Roz Randorf. “We’ve read the e-mails, all of the information, and there has been a lot has been reviewed.  And based on that, not on my opinion, not on what I believe, my decision to reverse the planning commission’s petition for an EAW is based on the following facts in front on me.”

With this action, construction on the hotel is expected to start around June 1.  Had the worksheet been approved, the project would have been delayed for at least 8 to 10 months, pushing back the start date to 2024.

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