City planning and zoning approve rezoning of Creechville property to R-1 residential

City planning and zoning approve rezoning of Creechville property to R-1 residential

The city planning and zoning commission met on Feb. 15 to consider rezoning property from RC recreation commercial to R-1 residential west of 5th Ave. W. in Creechville.

During the open forum, numerous individuals, including county commissioners, Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and Economic Development Authority (EDA) members, residents of Creechville, business owners, and many others attended or sent letters in support of the rezoning or shared their concerns. 

Public comments included the need for affordable housing in Cook County, workforce shortages due to lack of housing, and concerns for pedestrian safety, density, traffic, wetlands, and infrastructure. 

Over a month ago, on Jan. 11, the Grand Marais City Council sold the nearly 12-acre property, located in the inside curve of the Gunflint Trail, to the HRA for $1 for the purpose of a residential development project. 

The proposed residential development project is a 50-unit apartment building consisting of workforce and market-rate housing. The tentative name of the anticipated housing development is Sawtooth Flats. 

“Beyond that, there is no site plan. There is no specific building design,” Jason Hale, executive director of the HRA, said during the Feb. 15 meeting. 

While the intended use for the property is to construct a 50-unit apartment building, Hale said he would not know how suitable the site is until the snow melts and the HRA can assess for a wetland delineation.

“We don’t know where a house can go. We don’t know where a building can go, for that matter, until we get on the property and look,” Hale said. 

The planning and zoning commissioners appreciated the thoughts and concerns shared by the public. The commissioners reiterated that they were not voting on approving an apartment building but rather the rezoning of the property from RC recreation commercial to R-1 residential. 

“I’m confident that our HRA board, our HRA director will understand the concerns of the community and bring forth a plan that addresses all the things that we say,” said Stacey Hawkins, planning commissioner. 

Planning commissioner Ben Peters followed by saying, “I absolutely agree with the local community and the people that live in that area and seeing changes.” However, he added,  “We can’t turn away from 12 acres and the possibility of housing.”

The planning commission unanimously approved rezoning the property west of 5th Ave. W in Creechville from RC recreation commercial to R-1 residential.

The recommendation from the planning and zoning commission will head to the city council next for final approval.

A map of the rezoned property:

Watch the full city planning and zoning meeting here.