Duluth has a new and growing Cottage Industry- Yurts for the Homeless Population.
On March 31, 2021, ran a news story promoting the construction of yurts on private property for the housing of homeless people. Here is a link to the cited article: https://kbjr6.com/2021/03/31/yurt-program-offers-new-solutions-to-housing-for-the-homeless/#.YJAY8izSXn4
In the above-referenced article the City of Duluth spokesperson states the following:
“The City of Duluth is actively working with AIM to address Yurts and have stated our support of them on private property. The City must also ensure basic safety for those wanting to live in them. We remain committed to working with AIM, the community, and City staff to best determine next steps.”Kate Van Daele, City Spokesperson
AIM ( American Indian Movement) and CHUM are the two non-profit organizations behind this new industry.
Siting and construction of the yurts bring into question whether the City of Duluth and the two (2) non-profits promoting this new industry are required to follow zoning and construction code requirements. This should be of great concern for the neighbors and the city as a whole.
Here are a few questions that come to mind:
1. Was a construction plan prepared by a registered architect presented to the City of Duluth?
2. If a plan was presented, was a plan review conducted to ensure compliance with the building codes?
3. Was a permit issued to construct the yurts?
4. If the yurts are being erected as a residence on property zoned as R-1, single-family residential; does this action violate the zoning ordinance?
5. These yurts are being heated with a wood-fired stove. What happens if the yurt burns, starts the host house on fire or a neighboring house is burned or damaged as a result of this fire who is liable to pay for the damages and losses?
6. If there is no building permit and zoning ordinances are knowingly violated will the host’s insurance policy cover the loss? Will the city be held liable for any damages incurred?
7. If the host doesn’t allow the yurt occupants to use their toilet facilities, will a portable biffy be brought into the yard? Who is bearing the cost if this is the situation and who is keeping up and paying for the maintenance?
8. With the city being hell-bent on combatting the climate change fallacy, what about the smoke from the wood stoves used for heat? Air pollution and deforestation?
Incidentally, the Distribution Director for CHUM is the husband of the City of Duluth Spokesperson and Mayor Emily Larson was a former Director at CHUM.
Another consequence of these being placed in our community is the impact on neighboring property values? I can guarantee the yurts will not be raising property values.