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Silver Bay Public Meeting City Council Meeting; August 7, 2023 Boathouse Bay Development Plan Goes Before A Public Hearing

Area residents packed the City Council Chambers on Monday to hear details on the Boathouse Bay Development project. Essentially, the hearing focused on the Public Financ­ing aspects of the project and David Drown, Economic De­velopment Director for Silver Bay, was on hand to explain the manner in which the project is being funded.

Boathouse Bay is a Planned Unit Development that, when completed, will occupy 26.8 acres of land on what is being called Bayview Park. The de­velopment will include 28 vil­las, 18 bungalows and space for 7 single family homes, and will combine vacation rental properties with some perma­nent residential lots. Homes in the development will cost be­tween 4 to 7 hundred thousand dollars and when all is said and done, the development will be worth $25 million. The land for the planned development was sold to John Anderson for $1. Anderson has promised to complete the project in five years. If for some reason this doesn’t happen, the ownership of the land reverts back to the city.

The project is being funded using Tax In­crement Financing (TIF), which is common­ly used by municipalities to pay for public improvements to infrastructure like streets, sidewalks and similar improvements. TIF funding is also used to encourage developers to build on undeveloped land. As it relates to Boathouse Bay, the TIF will last for 9 years during which time, property taxes from the development will be collected and will be used to cover the cost for public utilities that will go to the development. The projected cost of city owned sewer and water systems is $2.2 million. $500,000 of IRRRB funds will be used along with the TIF money to cover the city’s investment in the project. The Developer is responsible for all of the oth­er costs related to the development. Drown stated that while property taxes from the de­velopment will increase the tax base for the city, Silver Bay residents’ property taxes will not be affected. Drown went on to say that he is at a loss for how the manner in which the project is being financed could be a liability for the city.

Some in attendance at Monday night’s meeting expressed concern about vacation rentals when there is a clear need for afford­able housing in Silver Bay. Attendees were reminded that the downtown development plan will include provisions for affordable housing. Clearly, there was a lot of infor­mation for residents to digest at Monday’s meeting. That being said, the Council has held several public hearings pertaining to the Boathouse Bay project in an attempt to keep the public informed.

There are a few items that are yet to be resolved to make sure that the project will meet all of the city’s requirements. With that in mind, the Council has called for another special meeting before giving the final green light to the project. That meeting is scheduled for August 17th at 10:00 a.m. at City Hall.

In other business, the Council approved a resolution brought by Bolton & Menk for a feasibility study for the new road that is being proposed behind the shopping center that will connect Banks Boulevard to Outer Drive.

Finally, Marcus Small joined the Silver Bay Police Force and was sworn in at Monday night’s meeting.

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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