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Community Talks Rezoning Central High School

Posted at: 02/28/2013 10:39 PM
Updated at: 02/28/2013 10:47 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
manderson@wdio.com

The City of Duluth's Planning Division and the Duluth School District held a community meeting Thursday to discuss the rezoning of Central High School.

About 15 people attended the meeting to hear the rezoning explanation. Most of them were residents from the neighborhoods surrounding the property and expressed concerns about where a developer would concentrate their traffic.

The school is currently zoned as Residential Traditional, meaning it's use is for single-family homes. The city is proposing to rezone the property in four sections, including two Urban Residential sections, Parks, and Mixed-Use Business.

The rezoning is in compliance with the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

The district is trying to sell the school to one developer, but Property and Risk Manager Kerry Leider said the market isn't helping them right now. He hopes the rezoning will help maximize the diverse use of the land.

"Believe it or not, there have been no single families that have wanted to buy and turn it into their home, so in order for it to be developed it has to be rezoned for mixed use," said Leider.

There has been much debate over what sort of business or organization should take up the site of the school. Restaurants, technology campuses, and higher education have been among the proposed options. A casino, heavy manufacturing, and a competing K-12 school have all been ruled out.

The goal is to move toward a Mixed Use-Planned (MU-P) Zone District, which would act as a master plan for the entire property.

The rezoning will be considered March 12th by the Duluth Planning Commission.