Hermantown community members speak out against new apartment proposal

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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HERMANTOWN, MN. (KBJR) - A large apartment complex proposed for Hermantown has people who already call that area home concerned.

Dave Miller has lived in Hermantown for more than 30 years.

“You know. Hermantown is just one of those really special places,” Miller said. “And it didn’t take me long to figure that out.”

He said he enjoys being a part of a quiet and rural community.

So, when he heard about plans for a large apartment complex to be built down the road from his home, Miller had some concerns. Local property management company, P&R, has built one apartment building in Hermantown and six others in other parts of the Twin Ports.

Leaders there are hoping to build another apartment on land near Anderson Road and Hermantown Road.

“Phase one will be potentially 140 units,” said COO of Development at P&R, Dante Tomassoni. “If that goes well, if that fills up, we’ll look at potentially adding a phase two.”

In order to start construction on the project, P&R needed Hermantown City Council to vote to change the zoning in the area from residential to commercial. That would allow for the building to be up to 65 feet tall.

A few weeks ago, the city’s Zoning and Planning Commission voted against the change, but the decision ultimately came down to city council on Monday night.

Despite several community members sharing concerns, the ordinance to change the zoning passed almost unanimously, with one councilor abstaining.

“So this is going to vastly change the access,” said Miller. “It’s going to change the traffic on the roads. It’s just putting a huge load on a relatively small area and also a bunch of great neighbors.”

Tomassoni said he thinks the building will help address housing shortages in the area.

He mentioned the new Cirrus Innovation Center coming to the area and suggested the new apartment could help house the influx of employees.

While Tomassoni said P&R leaders are excited about the prospect, they hear the communities concerns too.

“We hear you. We respect it. We understand it completely,” Tomassoni said. “And what we want them to know is we plan to be your neighbor too.”