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Two Harbors Committee of the Whole and City Council Meeting; May 8, 2023

City Council Explores Possible Solutions to the Shortage of Affordable Housing

Dante Tomassoni, of P&R Companies, gave a brief presentation to the Two Harbors Committee of the Whole prior to last Monday night’s City Council meeting. P&R Compa­nies is a consulting and development compa­ny, based in Duluth, that has been developing, building and managing multi-family, mixed use buildings in the Twin Ports area since 2010. Tomassoni was invited to speak to the council by City Administrator Patricia Nor­dean. As City officials look for viable ways to address the need for affordable housing in Two Harbors it is important for the Council to hear from companies that help municipali­ties develop such properties. That being said, Tomassoni’s presentation was introductory in nature only. No relationship or contracts have been struck between P&R Companies and the city of Two Harbors.

The Council also approved the recommen­dation of the Planning Commission to trans­fer certain parcels of land located in Segog Park to the Two Harbors Housing and Re­development Authority. The HRA is looking to use the parcels for an upcoming project to construct affordable housing units. The pro­posal stipulates that students from Two Har­bors High School will work alongside profes­sional contractors as a means of introducing students to careers in the construction trades.

Lengthy discussion was held regarding the lifting of the moratorium on the sale of hemp-based THC products. The issue of legalizing THC products is working its way through the State Legislature and is expected to pass. While there are differing opinions among city officials about this issue, the point was made that continuing to impose the moratorium will place an undue burden and a disruption in revenue on city businesses that would like to offer THC products to their customers. In light of the fact that THC products are pres­ently available in surrounding communities, it seems prudent to allow them to be sold in Two Harbors. City Attorney Timothy Costly, stated that there is no legal reason to leave the moratorium in place but when the legis­lative process on this issue is complete, the Council will need to go back and craft prop­er ordinances for the sale and consumption of THC products. The Planning Commission has recommended the removal of the mora­torium and the Council voted to lift it by a three to two vote with one council member abstaining.

The Planning and Zoning Department and the Trees and Trails Commission has recom­mended that the city offer replacement trees to all households that have been impacted by the street and sidewalk improvement projects between 2018 and 2022. The replacement fee will be $25 per tree.

The Planning Commission has also recom­mended that the Council consider the estab­lishment of a social district in the downtown area of Two Harbors. The establishment of social districts allows for the consumption of alcoholic beverages to be consumed with­in designated boundaries outside of specific businesses. The Council approved the recom­mendation.

Finally, Council member Uriah Hefter, who sits on the Library Board, informed the Council that the Two Harbors library staff are working to make the library more inclusive for patrons with sensory processing needs. The library is partnering with KultureCity, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing inclusivity needs for folks who struggle with sensory processing disorders. Library staff will receive training from Kul­tureCity and will be the first library in the State to be certified as having sensory inclu­sive modifications.

The next City Council meeting will be held on May 22nd at 6:00 PM.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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