DULUTH — Neighbors of a planned hotel near Miller Hill Mall here have taken their case opposing the project to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, upset with a City Council decision related to an environmental review of the project.
A planned 100-room hotel near an impaired trout stream has neighbors and environmentalists worried about its potential harm to the body of water and other wetlands. The group asked the Duluth Planning Commission, the city's governing body for environmental review, to require an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the property, which would direct the hotel developer to look further into its project's potential environmental harms.
City administration asked the commission to deny the request, saying potential effects, such as warm-water runoff, would be controlled through provisions in the city zoning review and building permit process. Instead, the commission opted to require the review, and the developer appealed that decision to the City Council. In May, the council reversed the commission's decision to require the review.
Last week, neighbors appealed that to the state appeals court, alleging the City Council decision violated city code and state statutes and rules set forth by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board. They contend the Planning Commission is the designated governing body for such decisions.
Iowa-based Kinseth Hospitality Cos. plans a four-story extended-stay Marriott near a Kohl's department store and a rural Duluth Heights neighborhood. The company has said it will go forward with its plans even if required to do the review.