Historically, Duluth has had a reputation as a hard place to do development projects. This changed significantly with the approval of the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code. Recent improvements in Duluth’s building inspection department have also facilitated development projects. As a result of these improvements, spending on construction projects in Duluth has been at or near record levels for the past several years.
A developer who is planning a project in Duluth should arrange to meet with City staff early in the planning process. They will provide information about planning and land use rules and put the developer in contact with other city departments that may get involved with the project, such as utilities and engineering.
In the event city council action is necessary to complete the project such as a land sale, zoning variance or special use permit, the developer should contact the administration and city councilors early in the process to let them know about the project and elicit their feedback. This give and take early in the process will allow for a smooth development and help avoid last minute changes which can be expensive and frustrating for the developer.
Developers may also want to reach out to neighbors and other interested parties in the community to get their feedback on a project. Duluthians are very interested in the development of their community and their support can help move a project forward.