My Neighborhood Rezoning War is OVER!


One of my neighborhood warriors testifies at a planning commission meeting.

We’re having a party in Marie’s Meanderings Blog world tonight. I just returned from a Duluth Planning Commission meeting where the motion to rezone my residential neighborhood for development was denied.

If you’ve been following this issue on my blog and in the news, you know that this is GOOD NEWS for my neighbors and myself.  (See Part 1 and Part 2.)

It’s been a long five-month haul. I went into this latest planning commission meeting feeling downtrodden and doomed because the planning department had changed their original plans to include even more of my neighborhood in the rezoning. They went from impacting only eight or nine houses to over thirty homes!

I was like, WTH? And one of the new homes included in the rezoning was mine. Before, I was just a few houses away from the proposed rezoning area. Back then, I was protesting on behalf of my neighbors who were directly affected. Now, as if in payback for my squawking, my house was included, too.

So I did my due diligence and wrote another letter urging the commission to deny the rezoning plan. One of the arguments I used was that there is already a shortage of affordable single-family homes in our city. Why potentially remove so many of them? I also repeated my previous argument that the neighborhood is a strong, well-functioning community.

When I arrived at the commission chambers, I was heartened to see it full of my neighbors again. Several spoke well-reasoned and impassioned arguments against the plan. I was so proud of them!

Only one person spoke in favor of the plan, and he is a developer who owns property in the neighborhood.

After some strategic moves and hemming and hawing, which made me wonder if the commission really knew what it is doing, the vote was taken. All but one commission member was opposed to the rezoning plan, so it was denied. Everyone applauded, just like we were in a freakin’ movie. (One with a happy ending.)

The reasons the commissioners gave for the denial were that when the plan was developed that recommended rezoning of my neighborhood, it was in a time before many of the current apartment buildings and business existed. They heard us that “enough development is enough.” The commission didn’t feel the neighborhood could sustain more development without even more traffic problems and other issues occurring.

Another reason given was that my neighborhood is a socially strong, well-functioning place. Why fix what isn’t broken? They also were impressed by the numbers of us who turned out to protest the plans and they wanted us to feel like they were listening.

I am so proud of our planning commissioners! I raise a toast to everyone.

I’m glad this is over and sure hope it doesn’t rear its ugly head in another form.