Planning & Development

Environmental Reviews

What is Environmental Review?

The Environmental Review Program is required by Minnesota Statute 116D ( and Minnesota Rules 4410 ( When a proposed development project has the potential for significant environmental impacts, the Environmental Review process takes place prior to permitting so that decision-makers have usable information about environmental effects of the proposed project. 

More information about the State’s Environmental Review Program can be found at

What does Environmental Review look like?

Environmental Review documents are presented in three forms:

  • Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) - Provides a brief analysis and overview of the potential environmental impacts of a specific project and to help the RGU determine if an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is necessary. Of the three environmental review documents, EAWs are usually the shortest at 15-50 pages. The EAW consists of a list of 31 questions and is meant to set out the basic facts of the project’s environmental impacts. The EAW is not meant to approve or deny a project, but is a source of information to guide other approvals and permitting decisions.  More information about the EAW process can be found at
  • Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - A detailed analysis of the key environmental, social, and economic issues that are likely to result from the project. The initial steps of the EIS process, the scoping EAW and draft decision document, start with a questionnaire much like an EAW and identifies the concepts in an EIS. The EIS also examines if there are alternative project designs or locations that would result in fewer environmental impacts.  More information about the EIS process can be found at
  • Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) - The AUAR is a planning tool that local governments can use to understand how different development scenarios will affect the environment of their community. It is a way of performing an environmental analysis in advance, before major development occurs in an area. It also is a way to use the information from the analysis to guide local planning and zoning decisions.  More information about the AUAR process can be found at


Current Environmental Reviews:

Central High School Redevelopment Project AUAR

Status: On April 9, 2024 Planning Commission approved the responses to public comments made on the Draft Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) and the Final (AUAR) document for distribution on the EQB Monitor web page.  Comment responses will be distributed to commenters and the Final Adoption of the AUAR is scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting at 5:00 p.m., May 14, 2024, Duluth City Hall, Council Chambers.


PL 23-127 Staff Memo – Final AUAR Adoption (for 5-14-2024 Planning Commission meeting) (.pdf 5.2 MB)

PL 23-127 Staff Memo – Final AUAR Review (for 4-9-2024 Planning Commission meeting) (.pdf 0.26 MB)

Comments and Comment Responses on Draft AUAR 20240405 (.pdf 1.5 MB)

Final AUAR Narrative with Appendices 20240404 (.pdf 25.3 MB)

Draft AUAR with Appendices (.pdf 28 MB

Order for AUAR (.pdf 5.14 MB) – approved by Planning Commission January 9, 2024

Scoping EAW Document (.pdf 3.21 MB)

                        Appendix A – Maps and Figures (.pdf 5.9 MB)

                        Appendix B – FEMA FIRMette (.pdf 0.8 MB)

                        Appendix C – MDH Well Log Reports (.pdf 0.1 MB)

                        Appendix D – DNR NHIS-USFWS IPaC Species List (.pdf 10.9 MB)


Past Environmental Reviews:

(additional past documents can be found in the Planning Library)

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Brighton Beach

On October 10, 2018, waves and flooding associated with a severe winter storm resulted in significant damage and erosion, especially along the shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Effects of the storms on Kitchi Gammi Park, resulted in significant damage to the motor vehicle lane running through the park, deposited significant amounts of debris, and caused extensive erosion to both the shoreline and portions of the road, jeopardizing the safety of the road. President Trump issued disaster declaration DR-4414-MN for the State of Minnesota on February 1, 2019, which made disaster recovery assistance available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The City of Duluth, Minnesota applied for funding from FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Program to underwrite the proposed project to repair damages and mitigate against future damages by relocating the road.  FEMA’s PA grant program provides federal assistance to government organizations and certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations following a Presidential disaster declaration.  The project area includes approximately 3,250 linear feet of Kitchi Gammi Park including approximately 1,260 linear feet of existing Brighton Beach Road where Lake Superior has eroded the shoreline and damaged the road surface. Brighton Beach Road currently provides access to Kitchi Gammi Park.

Click here for a link to the EA.

Written comments regarding this environmental action should be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, February 13th, by mail to Duane Castaldi, Regional Environmental Officer, FEMA Region 5, 536 South Clark Street, 6th Floor, Chicago, IL 60605-1521; by email at FEMA-R5; or by phone at 312-408-5549.

Recent EAWs (Other Previous EAWs can be found in the Planning Library)


319-333 E Superior Street    The Record of Decision determined that an EIS is not required.

Essentia Health Vision Northland. Project information can also be found in the Medical District Page. The Record of Decision determined that an EIS is not required.

Pastoret Terrace


Spirit Lake Sediment Remediation Project EAW

Final Record of Decision (Signed by RGU)

EAW Document (29MB)

Attachment A – Design Drawings (103 MB)

Attachment B – Agency Coordination (35 MB)

Attachment C – Natural Heritage Review

Attachment D - References