Park Point Businessman Sues Duluth over Hotel Plans

Posted at: 11/15/2013 10:42 PM | Updated at: 11/15/2013 10:43 PM

A Park Point businessman who has been trying to build a new hotel there, is now suing the City of Duluth. 

Joel Johnson owns Lakehead Boat Basin and some adjacent property on 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue. 

His plans to build a new hotel here have been a point of controversy with neighbors and the City for several years. But before that, he says the City changed the zoning of some his property, which has prevented him from developing there at all. The lawsuit filed this week seeks in excess of $3 million in damages.  

"When somebody takes and deprives the rights of your property, you have a right to compensation," said Johnson on Friday. "It's called inverse condemnation in this case, not eminent domain. That's what the City did. They took my rights to be able to build on my property away from me."

City Attorney Gunnar Johnson declined our request for an on-camera interview, but did say the city has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. 

Meanwhile, Johnson says his plans for the hotel are now on hold until the lawsuit is resolved.

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