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 Re-development 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.