Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Twenty years ago, Sam Cave purchased the prop­erty of Lighthouse Point and Pork City Hill. He proceeded to push the city for rezoning that would favor high-density housing development on the Point. When the citizens of Two Harbors became aware of what was happening, over 100 residents organized to oppose the rezoning of the Point and the subsequent high-density housing.

These citizens and others attended multiple meetings of the Planning and Zoning commission and the Two Harbors city council. In time it be­came clear to the council that a significant portion of the town residents did not want the parkland of Lighthouse Point developed. In the end, Sam Cave was forced by the Sixth Judicial District court into mediation with the city. The result was the Mem­orandum of Understanding, a compromise, which strictly limited the extent of development that would be allowed.

Today, there is a new developer, who owns five acres of Lighthouse Point. He is proposing to build 13 duplexes in a high-density development. Those duplexes would be sandwiched in between the sewage treatment plant and the historic light­house, facing Agate Bay.

The reasons for opposing this development re­main the same as 20 years ago:

  1. Lighthouse Point is used by residents and vis­itors of all ages as parkland for hiking and recre­ation. The development proposal would destroy much of that.
  2. Lighthouse Point is a brownfield. As a result of railroad use years ago, there is arsenic as well as other toxins spread throughout the Point. If it is left undisturbed and covered, as it is currently, that is considered safe.
  3. The housing being proposed is not compatible with the historic nature of the Point and the light­house. View the new housing on London Road in Duluth, constructed by the builder, who is working with the current developer. Some of the housing would dwarf the iconic lighthouse.
  4. The blasting of rock to clear way for hous­ing could easily destabilize the foundation for the lighthouse and possibly for the waste treatment plant.
  5. Agate Bay is an industrial harbor that generates lots of noise and taconite dust nearly year-round. The dust will definitely land on the duplexes.
  6. The DNR landing at Agate Bay has lots of res­ident and tourist traffic all year: especially spring, summer and fall.
  7. Because the Point is surrounded on three sides by Lake Superior, it is frequently blasted by a cold wind. It has the same temperature zone as Hudson Bay in northern Canada. It is uniquely colder than even the shoreline of Lake Superior. There are at least two plant species that grow on the Point that are unique to that climate. It is also home to nu­merous animals and birds that prefer that habitat.

What happens when a potential homebuyer pur­chases one of the proposed houses and then realiz­es they are facing the above issues? A much better result would be for the developer to donate or sell the land to the city so that it could be established as a park preserve. That would be a winner all the way around.

Glenn Johnson, Two Harbors

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